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The first record of a pet tortoise is from 1625 when the archbishop William Laud had a pet giant tortoise that lived in the back garden of Lambeth Palace. Our knowledge about the needs of tortoises has improved greatly since those times. We now know that the cold British climate is not ideal for a tortoise to live a long and happy life. But there is still a lot to learn. One thing that we know for certain is that only healthy tortoises should be hibernated and we do now know a lot more about the better methods of hibernation and how to control it rather than leaving them to cope with the winter weather alone. During the hibernation period a tortoise will shut down all unnecessary processes. This includes the production of the cells needed to fight of infection and keep a tortoise healthy. Hence it is important to ensure that your tortoise is healthy and parasite free before he goes down for his winter sleep. During September and October pre-hibernation checks will be available at Whitworth Vets and Wangford vets, including a full discussion of husbandry and hibernation and a faecal check for worms, for only £50. Call now to book your appointment

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