Can you keep a tortoise inside for its entire life?

I was thinking about keeping a red foot or cherry head tortoise and I want to know can you keep them indoors for their entire life I was thinking about making a big wooden enclosure for him. I was thinking about building a long enclosed enclosure because I know they need a lot of space and with sliding doors. can they live indoors for their whole life and live up to 50+ years.


They need heat, uv, as long as that’s all correct then I don’t see why not.

When I was looking into them the woman wouldn’t sell unless living indoors only funny though…


As long as all their physical needs are met, yes. If you maintain proper temp and provide whatever UV lighting they need there you should be fine.


ya because the only thing I’m worried about is him getting fat my plan with feeding him will be. feed him every other day 3 times a week Mondays Wednesdays and Saturdays.


Tortoises get fed every day,
Lots of greens mostly, and grass, weeds etc.

It won’t get fat. Make sure has a big enclosure to walk around in.

Our 2 eat every day and are perfectly healthy, 3 times a week isn’t enough.


oh, you feed them every day so they are not like typical reptiles.

do you think I should make a feeding schedule for him?

You can feed them every day as long as they are eating smaller portions.

Some redfoot breeders will do “fruit days” and “veg days”. Monday/fruit, Tuesdays/veg, Wednesday/fruit… etc (please see Eries correction below)

They are also ok skipping days… You can do Monday/fruit, Wednesday/veg, Friday/fruit, Sunday/veg…

They will eat as much as you give them.

If your gonna feed daily. Put some food in and take the bowl away after 15-20 mins.

If you feed every other day then make it 30 mins before you remove the food.

Also, dont use plastic food bowls. Use hard ceramic or a peice of slate or flat rock… its good to file their face :sweat_smile:


Tortoises need gigantic enclosures. So if you’re able to provide that inside then great. But, most people can’t fit or don’t want to buy 8+ foot enclosures just to keep one inside.
Usually it’s best to avoid fruits and only feed them as an extremely rare treat. Ths sugar is hard for the tortoises to digest.


No need, They’re grazers, so small amount every day and they’ll pick at it. :grin:

We put food in and they pick throughout the day!

We have a Herman’s (Rescue he was) and a Sulcata also :blush:

1 Like

Tortoises are goofy sometimes. I have a Hermann’s that did great for the first 2 years of his life. Had a huge indoor enclosure, uv, heat by the books everything was perfect. Out of no where just stopped eating started losing weight and was real weak. I was recommended to move him outside just to see if it would kinda spark something. Sure enough he picked right up and has been great ever since.

Bottom line I think indoors can work but have a backup plan just in case


can you keep a tortoise indoors for its entire life? yes.
should you? honestly, for best QOL, no.

My grandparents owned a sulcata years ago, and she had an entire room to herself in addition to foraging in a fenced-off area around their yard as weather allowed. Tessie essentially free-roamed the entire house minus the 2nd level and basement, but since the ground floor was all pretty flat she could choose to stay in her “bedroom” or come hang out with everyone and got tons of time outdoors. She lived well into her 50s but passed away from egg binding when she had a clutch of slugs.

If you plan on getting a tortoise, please, please do your research! Even the smaller species can be a big commitment and not everyone wants a pet that can very well outlive them. Hopefully you figure out what makes sense for you!


Is 8x4x3 good?

ya, I was planning on using a slate.

Bigger is always better but an 8x4 would be the minimum. Height really doesn’t matter. You might also have to cover the bottom part of the front glass since I’ve heard tortoises can have a hard time with understanding it.

1 Like

I’ll also add mine aren’t inside! I personally would feel bad even if I could give them everything needed…

My Herman’s and Sulcata (about a year now so a baby) live outside in an enclosure we built. Making bigger this year I think too!
We also take them out front to roam and munch on the grass etc :relaxed:

The UV will need replacing at least yearly if kept indoors.
They grow to a good size and eat loads! You’ll be surprised how much food they need per day to be healthy. Even one red food adds to electricity costs and food costs can be big. It’s something to think about in todays raising energy costs. How much room will you have available? It will take some time for a baby to grow and a 4x2 area will be fine for a good while but certainly not large enough for a sub to adult.
My red foot won’t touch any hay and although I offer grass it’s not often eaten unless I do put her outside during the summer. She gets a lot of mixed greens daily and then supplemented with various weeds, some fruits and protein. You really need to read up a lot on the type you plan on getting so that you cover everything. At the moment it sound like you have some idea but don’t fully understand all care. Redfoots will also need good humidity compared to some other species.

1 Like

The height is wasted- it’s just going to cost more to heat. Uv needs to be within 1ft of the tortoise for best use of the uv. Every foot after that reduces by up to 50%

1 Like