Why BATK was started

In Britain the overwhelming majority of animals used as pets are mammals. A similar majority of farm animals are also mammals. The husbandry, biology and veterinary care of mammals is reasonably well understood by farmers, pet owners and vets.


Tortoises are reptiles and their needs are different. The critical difference is that mammals keep their bodies at the correct temperature by burning food internally to provide the heat to control their body temperature. Tortoises need to bask in the sun in order to raise their bodies to the correct temperatures. They need both shade and sun in order to be able to do this. The tortoise does this consciously in the same way as we are conscious of the need to eat and drink.


Tortoises can put up with many potentially lethal conditions for long periods. At first sight this seems an advantage, but unfortunately this too often results in the owner not knowing that something is wrong. There are tortoises that are suffering from many potentially lethal problems and the owners say "oh, it's all right, he's been like that for years". Unfortunately, putting right the effects of bad husbandry can also take years, but only if corrected in time.


BATK is a charitable organisation set up to provide information to tortoise owners so that general husbandry of tortoises can be improved.


We are carrying on with research in order to improve our knowledge, and we are in touch with others doing research in different parts of the world. We issue newsletters, attend charity day events to publicize BATK and help tortoise owners and we also hold information days. We can offer personal husbandry advice and recommend specialist vets in case of problems.


A Specialist Tortoise Vet will offer correct treatment that is essential for any tortoise problems and in the case of a medical problem they need to be looked at urgently.


Since BATK started, there has been a marked improvement in the general health of our members' pets, and a lowering of the appalling death rate. There is still much to do and learn. Firstly extending BATK membership enabling tortoises to benefit from improved care and husbandry; secondly researching as much as possible and getting the information out to the public; and thirdly widening our research to help owners of tropical tortoises, as numbers of these species are increasing in the United Kingdom.


All our research is ongoing. Please come back for updates that we make on information.


All donations are spent on our objectives.


We are all volunteers but we love what we do and care deeply about the Tortoises.


Join our Association now if you want to find out more about your tortoise and its husbandry.


We are always here to help if you need it.

Please email lindaj.batk@btinternet for any advice/help.





The Tortoise is one of the world's oldest survivors. It has lived on earth since the dawn of the age of reptiles 200 million years ago.


Unhappily their numbers are now dwindling due both to the pet trade and to the destruction of its natural habitat.


Britain used to import hundreds of thousands annually but in spite of a life-span that should be over 100 years


Around 95% died within the first five years of being imported into the country in the 70s and 80s.


This import is again taking place and these tortoises are available everywhere, but some are not in good condition or they may be carrying the herpes virus. We would advise that you purchase off a reputable breeder or rehome from one of the tortoise organizations like

BATK, Tortoise Trust, Tortoise Protection Group or Norfolk Tortoise Club.


Both Testudo Graeca and Hermanni are now classified as endangered and are covered by the CITES agreement.


A Hermanni or Graeca species must be accompanied by an A10 with the name and address of the breeder.

We suggest that you do not get a tortoise that has an A10 with slovenian origin.



Notice to all Members

New Data Protection Regulations:- All present members have received a letter from the Committee of BATK stating how your details are stored and used whilst you are a member. Please fill in and return the form in the SAE provided for you. Without this information we cannot send out the yearly newsletter to you. It doesn't matter if we receive later that the 25th May 2018 but please ensure that you do return it. Thank you.

Fosterer Memberships:- We will be contacting you to ensure that you are aware that you will be contacted regarding your details as you signed an agreement when fostering a tortoise from us that you will remain a member.

We are committed to protecting your privacy and maintaining the security of your personal information that you have given us. Your information will be used by BATK whilst your membership is valid unless you write stating you do not wish to receive information. Your personal information will not be passed onto a third party and will be destroyed when your membership is no longer valid.

If you have any queries then please contact us.

Events for 2020


To all Members and Non-Members of BATK

Due to the Corona Virus we are sorry to say that all events that we usually attend and meet you at are cancelled. 

Please check back later when we are allowed to continue our work.

We are still available by email to give advice and help.

See you all on the other side of this virus.

Stay Safe, Stay Home and be Safe


If you have a local event and would like us to attend then please contact us for the future.