Meet Maximillion and Leopold.
What made you decide to buy Maximillion and Leopold?
Tortoises are my favourite animal, and I had been thinking about getting one for a while.
I did a lot of research before deciding to buy Max because it is such a big commitment to get a tortoise. They live a lot longer than most other pets!
When I went to pick a tortoise, I picked Max because he had such a distinctive and beautiful shell that really stood out.
As for Leo, he came a few months later.
From the moment he looked at me in the shop, that was it – home he came!
I wasn’t looking for a second tortoise, but he was just too adorable to leave behind! Fair to say my friends and family don’t let me visit that shop anymore.
Why did you choose those particular names?
Honestly, I have no idea!
I knew I didn’t want any tortoise pun names like Shelly, Sheldon and Tortellini.
Max just looked like a Maximillion but Leo took a good few days to name.
I wanted something long that could be shortened. But that was about all I knew.
After a few days though it became clear that Leo had a mischievous and adventurous personality, and the name Leo just seemed to suit him perfectly.
So he became Leopold.
Incidentally, I don’t even know if they are female or male (these species need to be 5+ years before you can really sex them accurately) so even though I’ve chosen boy names for them they could be girls!
Have you previously owned reptiles?
I actually had a tortoise growing up called Frank the Tank who sadly died shortly after I left home to go to university.
It took me a few years before I even considered getting another one because it was such a terrible and sad experience losing Frank.
But when I did decide to get another tortoise I had lots of experience in caring for them.
I’ve never had any other reptiles as they don’t really appeal to me the same way.
The thought of having to keep mice in the freezer for a snake or live insects in the house for a lizard is enough to put me off!
What is involved in caring for tortoises?
It depends on the species you have because different species have different needs and specific requirements.
For my boys, I have to think about things like lighting, temperature and substrate in their home. I also make sure they are stimulated and entertained enough with things to climb over and that they have plenty of space to stomp around in!
But the thing that takes up most of my time is their diet.
If you have a tort you will become an amateur gardener!
The boys eat weeds and flowers, so I’ve had to learn to identify safe weeds and flowers for them to eat which has been great fun.
I go on a ‘weed walk’ once a week to collect safe foods for them and I also grow safe flowers for them in my garden.
Some of their favourites are Dandelions, white and red dead Nettle, Pansies and Chickweed.
Lighting and housing is expensive for torts as well, but at least they can be fed for free!
It’s been really interesting learning more about local plants and being more observant to nature. I would also say that having a garden is essential for caring for tortoises because the boys are happiest when they are outside in the sunshine.
There’s a lot to learn if you choose to have a tortoise and I’ve really enjoyed the process so far! My next challenge will be brumation around Christmas time.
What is something special and distinctive about them?
This sounds crazy, but Leo thinks he’s a turtle not a tortoise!
He just loves water. He will lie down in his water dish, stomp through it making a mud bath and just generally enjoys spending time relaxing in water.
Leo is also a very talented climber, escape artist and all-round trouble-maker!
If you put anything new in front of them, Leo is generally the first to have a nosy.
Whereas Max on the other hand is a gentle giant. He is so chilled and just takes life in his stride. Absolutely nothing phases him.
More generally, tortoises are known to be very special animals who have loads of character.
If cared for correctly, they don’t just lay around all day hardly moving, but they’re actually very active and great fun!
Both Max and Leo are inquisitive and love exploring.
What do you think it means to be a pet owner?
Being a pet owner is such a huge part of my life and looking after the boys is my hobby.
It has meant that I’ve been able to learn more about my favourite animals and interact with them.
I think being a pet owner helps you to become a more caring person because the animals you look after really do depend on you.
I’ve also met some great people through having tortoises and there’s a really great, supportive community of tortoise owners out there across social media platforms.
We all love to share advice and our personal experiences with each other so we can learn.
I really can’t remember what I did with my spare time before having the boys! Maybe my grades were higher 😉
Do you have a favourite?
Although if you asked any of my friends and family they would tell you that Max is my favourite.