Some time ago, when I got one of my tortoise hatchlings, it had a mild case of fungal infection. I was completely aware of it and brought him home as I saw this as a challenge to embrace, and I wanted to give the tortoise the hope of becoming a healthier tortoise.The moment I brought it home, I was very determined to treat it. After a little bit of perseverance and determination, everything paid off!

A few of our fellow enthusiasts from PTE (Philippine Tortoise Enthusiasts) also had their fair share of fungal infection cases, and we’ve decided to share the treatment process that we have found to be an effective treatment to help other tortoise keepers who face the same situation with their tortoises.

A fungal infection isn’t a reason to cull your tortoise; there’s an easy way to cure it!

Here’s a before and after photo comparison; in the “Before” photo, you can see the fungal infection, and in the “After” photo, you can see the treatment results.


1. Soak or bask the tortoise in a clean plastic tub with a shallow level of lukewarm water.

2. Rinse the tortoise with clean and fresh water from the faucet.

3. Use a (soft) brush to gently scrub its shell and plastron. It’s important to scrub the affected areas thoroughly as it helps to lessen the fungus build-up. Don’t brush it too hard as this may hurt or stress your tortoise out.

4. Completely dry the tortoise off with a piece of cloth, a clean towel, or tissue or paper towels.

5. Apply Betadine (Povidone-Iodine)on the fungus-affected areas. Just to be safe, be careful not to apply any of the solution on the other parts of the tortoise such as the cloaca/anus, eyes, nose, and mouth, since the solution is for external use only.

6. Let the solution dry up. I usually hold my tortoise in front of a fan for a few minutes to let it dry quicker.

7. Apply anti-fungal foot cream on the affected areas. (I prefer to use Lamisil over Canesten because Lamisil is more potent and effective in my experience. I have tried using both brands on separate occasions. Lamisil took about 5 to 10 days of daily treatment before the fungus was treated, while Canesten took about 14 days or more before the fungus was treated. I highly recommend Lamisil over Canesten.)

8. Let the anti-fungal foot cream dry.

9. Place the tortoise back in its enclosure. If the tortoise is housed with other tortoises, make sure to isolate it in a different enclosure

10. Do these steps daily and your tortoise will be happy, healthy and fungus-free sooner than you think!

NOTE: For safety reasons, I always do treatment after my tortoise has already eaten for that day. If the Betadine and cream are applied before the tortoise eats, there may be a chance that the cream might be smudged on the tortoise’s food and may therefore be ingested. So I personally feed my tortoise first, then after it’s done eating, that’s the time I do the treatment.We hope this will help other tortoise keepers in treating their tortoise(s) which have fungal infections!

Here’s a Sulcata tortoise belonging to Philippine Tortoise Enthusiasts (PTE) member CJ Honsayco; it also underwent the treatment outlined here for a fungal infection.

What causes fungal infection and build-up?

• An unsanitary environmentand enclosure–always make sure to keep your tortoise’s enclosure sanitized and clean.
• The substrate is too damp; it should be humid and moist only.

This story appeared in Animal Scene’s April 2017 issue.