Tortoises & Terrapins
Since 1984 there has been a EU ban on importing Mediterranean tortoises to the UK. There was a real fear that mass imports could lead to extinction. Unfortunately many tortoises are still brought in to the country illegally. Studies show that many tortoises will perish within the first four years of life in captivity. When kept correctly they can live up to 100 years.
Tortoises do not make suitable pets for most people, requiring specialist and experienced care. A clear understanding of diet, health, husbandry and hibernation is vital. Unfortunately the UK does not have a tortoise friendly climate with too many wet miserable days, which make their life chances even poorer. Look at the Tortoise Trust website for interesting and invaluable information on tortoise care.
We now have a number of terrapins at Raystede, who are permanent residents in a purpose built pool. Terrapins are not easy to keep, can be very messy and can carry salmonella.
Terrapins come from the warm rivers and ponds of South-Eastern USA and do not enjoy our mostly cold climate. They can live for up to 30 years in the wild, but much less in captivity.
It is now illegal to import terrapins and tortoises into the UK.