Owners and pets reunite as hundreds of tortoises wake up from winter hibernation nap in Sully

  • ITV Wales' Hamish Auskerry spoke to a pet owner who came to collect her seven tortoises with her son

A tortoise sanctuary in south Wales is preparing for an army of 400 tortoises to wake up from their annual hibernation and return to their homes.

Many pet owners came to the the International Tortoise Association in Sully, Vale of Glamorgan, to collect their pets.

They said they've missed their tortoises and are glad to reunite with them.

Mariclare Carey-Jones is the owner of seven tortoises, she came to pick up her pets after their winter nap.

She said: "They've just got older in personality so it's really exciting to pick them up at this time of the year as we've been without them. Since morning we've been getting ready [to collect the tortioses].

Many pet owners say they've missed their pet and are glad to reunite with their tortoises who have woken up. Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

"So, I've been sorting it out making sure that the tortoise shed at home is all ready for them to be nice and warm and making sure their heat lamp is working. Just can't wait to get them back home again."

Over the last three months there have been more than 500 tortoises kept in the sanctuary in temperature controlled conditions, there are still more than 200 tortoises to collect before the weekend.

  • Celia Claypole, Treasurer from the International Tortoise Association said "they are a family heirloom" and she "loves her tortoises"

She said: "It's a family pet, it's a family heirloom. They've been in the family for a long time. Some [tortoises] come here 70-80-90 years old. Tortoises live 100 years plus, so these will be passed through the family and they do mean a lot to them."

In the wild, many tortoises avoid cold and freezing temperatures by using underground cover sites. During hibernation, tortoises decrease their food intake which helps them to save energy.

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