Kevin in a Red Footed Tortoise originating from the grasslands of South America. Here came to live at the farm in 2009.
Kevin's Kingdom has a lot of regulators to control the temperature and humidity. Red footed tortoises requires a high humidity environment of up to 80% with a basking spot of around 30 degree Celsius. We transformed an old shed with a lot of planning, help from volunteers and insulation.
Reptiles and tortoise are unable to get vitamin D from their diet so they need to get it from a different source. We give them a UVB lamp to ensure that they can make vitamin D. Vitamin D is needed to absorb calcium to prevent diseases such as metabolic bone disease.
Kevin is an omnivore, which means he has a mixed diet of fruit, leafy green vegetables as well as a protein source, such as cooked chicken. His favourite snack is banana and he loves figs fresh from the tree in his garden.
When a tortoise shows aggression, they will stand up as high as they can, raising itself as high as it can (to make it look bigger) and have it's mouth open as a defensive mechanism. Kevin only does this to us if he's feeling poorly or if we have had to administer injections to him (that he doesn't like).
A tortoise's shell is made out of a protein called keratin, the same protein that makes up our hair and fingernails!
The top part of a tortoise's shell is called a carapace. Kevin is missing part of his shell. This is because he didn't receive the correct nutrition and supplements before he arrived at the farm. During lockdown Kevin was wandering around the barn and he knocked off part of his shell while he was having a scratch underneath a rabbit hutch. Unfortunately, this won't grow back, but it doesn't affect his health.