Tortoise husbandry and BBC’s Esio Trot

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As we welcomed 2015 with open arms, so the traditional evening of new year TV entertainment commenced.

This year, along with the usual Eastenders shockers and the very sad end of Miranda, came a dramatisation of Roald Dahl’s ‘Esio Trot’.

While the storyline was wonderful and Dame Judy Dench and Dustin Hoffman made a mesmerising duo, the portrayal of tortoise husbandry was a little disappointing.

Tortoises are a life-long commitment

Tortoises are a life-long commitment

While we all know that this was a t drama and not a guide to animal care, it is concerning that the average pet owner may feel it is adequate to keep exotic pets without access to essential UV lighting, heat and dietary supplementation. It is disappointing that the BBC did not embrace its responsibility to portray responsible pet ownership.

The craze for red eared terrapins that followed the teenage mutant ninja turtles film the early 1990s is proof that many will happily obtain a new pet following a film or TV show without seeking the necessary husbandry advice.

There is already a worryingly large number of bearded dragons arriving on the doorstep of rescue groups across the country and many sadly are suffering from avoidable metabolic bone disease.

Anyone considering a new pet, but particularly an exotic species, must ensure they research its specific care and feeding requirements.  Should you feel able to provide the care it needs, adopting a pet from a rescue group is the most ethical and responsible option.

A very happy new year to you all and I wish health and happiness to you and your animal companions