Plymouth’s Tortoise Rescue Centre has given these cuties a home
It’s taken a while for it to come out of its shell but Plymouth’s Tortoise Rescue Centre is open and ready to provide sanctuary for any slowpokes in distress.
The centre is part of Bespoke Engaging Education Services (BEES), which offers therapeutic support for school children, and already has an astonishing 62 tortoises, from little snappers up to slow-roving giants, at its farm on the edge of Plymouth.
Some of them are so old – maybe even 100 years or more – that they have been passed down the generations until they can no longer be looked after.
And BEES chief executive and Tortoise Centre founder Nathan Potts is putting the call out now for anyone that has a anything testudinal that might be in trouble, especially as the winter is coming and hibernation might be needed.
“Here at the Tortoise Rescue Center we can offer a forever home for tortoises,” said Nathan.
“We’ve got 62 tortoises – quite a lot. They come from all over the place, the Isles of Scilly, the Isle of Man, Elburton, vets give them to us if they have no microchips.
“Tortoises can live to more than 100 years old, we’ve had a tortoise that was in a family for over 60 years – and it was an adult when they got it.
“They are very slow growing animals, but then we also have some that have just hatched.
“At this time of year tortoise owners are preparing tortoises for hibernation,” said Nathan. “Tortoises require specialist care. We weigh them and measure them, there’s a formula that tells us if they have enough body fat to survive hibernation, if they don’t we keep them awake because it’s not safe to put them into hibernation if they are undernourished.
“But some species don’t hibernate anyway.”
Among the tortoise species at the BEES farm are the Giant African Spurred Tortoise, Hermann’s Tortoise, Leopard, Russian, Spur-thighed and Red-footed tortoises.
“All tortoise species are listed on CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species),” said Nathan.
“The species are divided in to Annexes. Species listed in Annex B require no sales certificate/license to purchase or to sell. Species listed in Annex A require a sales certificate/license. Some tortoises also req