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12 Reasons Not to Buy a Pet Turtle or Tortoise

Updated on August 11, 2015

Joined: 7 years agoFollowers: 584Articles: 127

Don't Buy a Pet Turtle or Tortoise If You're Not Ready

It's a little embarrassing to write this article, not only because everyone who knows me knows I am a turtle and tortoise nerd, but also because I have literally loved turtles and tortoises to death.

You see, even though I'd read several books on these extraordinary reptiles, I still couldn't care for them like they needed. Because of this, several have died under my (lack of) care.

Before you read the reasons you shouldn't get a tortoise or a turtle, I want to emphasize that I speak as someone who was convinced he had the means and environment to keep such a wonderful pet.

Some people I've met can keep these pets alive, but few can keep a turtle or tortoise and have them thrive. If you're thinking about getting one, for the sake of these beautiful creatures, please read this list first and sleep on your decision. If you truly think you have the requirements to purchase a pet turtle or tortoise then by all means move forward, but only then!

A Pop Quiz!

How Long Do You Think Turtles and Tortoises Can Live?

See results

Four Things You Didn't Know About Turtles and Tortoises

Many people purchase baby turtles or tortoises because of how cute they are, not knowing that these animals have more to them that meets the eye. Here are four things most people don't know about turtles and tortoises:

  1. They can carry salmonella. In fact, selling small turtles (shells less than four inches long) was banned in 1975 to prevent the spread of Salmonella. According to the CDC, this ban "likely remains the most effective public health action to prevent turtle-associated salmonellosis."
  2. They live for a long time. If maintained properly, some turtles can live for decades (even longer than humans) and grow to be a foot long. Some box turtles in the wild are over 200 years old. (How'd you do on the pop quiz!?)
  3. If released into the wild, pet turtles can be a danger to local populations of turtles and tortoises. Because of the pet-trade, red-eared-sliders are now considered one of the world's 100 most invasive species.
  4. They need room. Turtles and tortoises need about 10 gallons of tank space for every inch of shell. Red-eared sliders are the most common and least expensive pet turtle, and they grow to 7 - 9 inches long, meaning you'll need 70 - 90 gallons of tank space.

Nine Things You Need to Know Before You Buy a Pet Turtle

Like any pet, you need to do your research before getting a turtle or tortoise. Here are nine things you need to think about before purchasing one.

  1. The start-up cost of buying a turtle and its habitat (which can be $600 - $1,200), is actually the cheapest part of turtle ownership. Your turtle will require hundreds of dollars in upkeep each year.
  2. Turtles can live for a very long time, often over 25 years. Be prepared to care for a turtle for its entire lifetime.
  3. Turtles need fresh, clean water and bedding. You should expect to spend about half an hour each day caring for your turtle. You'll need to find someone to help care for your turtle while you're gone.
  4. Most turtles and tortoises hibernate for 10-20 weeks. You'll need to make sure it has an appropriate hibernating environment.
  5. Your turtle or tortoise will need fresh fruit, vegetables, mice, and insects to eat.
  6. Turtles do not really interact with or particularly like humans. Keep in mind that your pet will mostly interact with you only at feeding time.
  7. Though cute, turtles and tortoises do not make good pets for children, especially because they can transmit salmonella.
  8. If you do choose to purchase a turtle or tortoise, choose the species carefully. For example, it probably doesn't make sense to have a turtle from a tropical climate if you live somewhere that gets very cold.
  9. Never purchase a turtle that was wild-caught. Before getting one, ask the dealer for proof that the turtle was captive-bred and raised. This will ensure safe pet-trade practices as well as help make sure you have a healthy turtle.

Necessary Equipment for Your Turtle and Its Cost

 
 
 
UV-A and UV-B Light Source
Glass normally filters out the ultraviolet rays that your turtle needs to be healthy. If you want your turtle to live indoors, you need to replace that light artificially with UV-B tube fluorescents paired with UV-A producing basking bulbs. The ‘basking bulbs’ sold at pet stores for around $10-20 don't produce UV-B.
UV-B bulbs run $20 - $70; UV-A bulbs run $10 - $20
Tank and Tank Stand
10 gallons of tank for every inch of shell
Around $200
Filtration System and Pump
For a turtle (being the messy creatures they are), you need a filter rated for twice the tank size (regardless of where the water level is). Even with a good filter, you'll need to clean its tank and change the water frequently.
$70
Turtle Food
Face it, no one likes to eat the same thing every day. Pellets should only be one part their diet, which needs to include live food like worms, crickets, and snacks.
$45 / mo
Additional Supplies
(basking rock or surface, gravel, timers for lights, water heater, surge protectors)
$100 - $200
Total Set-Up Cost
One turtle and the supplies you need to house it will cost around $500.00 (on the cheap end) to $1,200.00 (with the best equipment).
$500 - $1,200

How to Care for Pet Turtles

The 12 Reasons Not to Buy a Pet Tortoise or Turtle

Even though it is, in theory, possible to provide your turtle with the environment it needs to thrive, most people don't have the time, money, or desire to put so much effort into their turtle pet. Here are the main reasons you shouldn't get a turtle or tortoise.

1. You Don't Have Enough Room

Like mentioned above, even the smallest turtles and tortoises require a lot of square footage to live happily. Many turtles also need both an aquatic and a terrestrial environment, a place where they can completely dry off.

A medium-sized tortoise such as a South American Yellow or a Red Foot requires serious square footage. It can be expensive to provide that in tank form, but don't think this means they can freely roam your house. Read the next reason to find out why!

2. You Can't Maintain the Correct Temperature Consistently

In a well-meaning attempt at giving my now-deceased Red Foot tortoise some more room to roam, I let him amble through my former Chicago apartment.

He disappeared! I couldn't believe it! It wasn't until several weeks later that I found his rigor mortised carcass. He had somehow found his way into the only non-heated room in the house.

Even without mishaps like this, it's difficult to maintain the correct temperature in a tank environment, and you'll need to purchase thermometers to make sure your pet is at the ideal heat level.

3. You Can't Give the Reptile a Secure Habitat

I once had a box turtle named Geronimo (not a good name for a turtle.) I thought I had a wonderful habitat set up for him in my yard with over 100 square feet of space surrounded by chicken wire. However, he either climbed out, or a cat jumped in and claimed him. Either way he disappeared within the span of a week.

If you try to give them the space they need in anything besides a tank environment, you'll find it hard to secure.

4. You Think You Know Everything Because You Read One Article or Book

I thought I knew everything I needed to know because I'd read one book about box turtles when I was a kid. I placed three healthy specimens in a barren enclosure on my porch. However, all three perished, overheating in this enclosure which didn't provide the required temperature gradient or shelter needed by all reptiles.

It was also too small, and lacked substrate. You will find a lot of conflicting information on turtles and tortoises published as if in great authority. If you are serious about being a good pet-owner, you'll need to read several sources to understand the high level of care that these animals require.

5. The Turtle and Tortoise Pet Trade Threatens Native Species

This reason could arguably be #1 on the list, but I wanted to get some of the extreme cautions out of the way first. Where I live (Wisconsin in the United States), there used to be a large population of box turtles.

Hundreds of thousands of these were sold to the pet trade and to educational/medical suppliers in the past four decades. The species is not protected, but I fear it's too late. I've been looking for them in the wild all my life and have never seen one. You can hear the same story all over the world: Asian, Indian, African (especially Madagascar species) are all on decline. In many parts of the world, it's against the law to own some species.

6. They Carry Disease

I once cuddled up with my Red Foot tortoise and fell asleep only to wake up with a putrid warm and wet turd planted inches from my nose. Tortoises can carry salmonella and herpes to name two of the more upsetting diseases out there.

Although the claims that all small turtles carry salmonella are dubious, anyone handling these creatures would do well to constantly wash their hands after handling. Oh yeah, and don't take naps with them. Or give them to kids that might lick them or their fingers after handling.

7. You Can't Give Your Turtle or Tortoise an Adequate Diet

Most turtles and tortoises are omnivores, though some are strict vegetarians and others are carnivores. Each species has not only a varied diet, but in many cases each has a very specific list of foods that are usually only available in their home range.

Whatever you do, don't think your pet can survive on pellets from a pet store. This is a death sentence. All turtles and tortoises need a lot of fresh food.

8. Your Dog Might Eat Your Turtle

My roommates once had an ornery pet Chow. I came home from work one day to find the dog tearing open my box turtle. It was a tragedy.

Also, about a month later, the dog mysteriously died. I've read that many box turtles carry built up levels of toxins in their bodies because they eat mushrooms and other things that are poisonous to most other animals.

9. You Can't Afford a Head-Started Hatchling

In another mixture of misguided attempt at animal husbandry I bought a half-year-old leopard tortoise because he was cheap, around $100. Unfortunately, his enclosure was too close to a window. It wasn't encased because I thought that tortoises didn't need to be in a tank-type enclosure. I was wrong.

At that tiny size, the creature needed humidity and temperature that was strictly monitored, and grossly absent in the enclosure I provided. I brought the hatchling to a veterinarian where he administered a vitamin that brought him around for a few days.

Instead of taking the vet's advice and putting him in an enclosed tank until he was larger, I brought him home to his former enclosure. The tortoise perished a few days later.

10. You Want an Exotic Pet for a Status Symbol

This is maybe the worst reason to buy a turtle or tortoise. It means your heart is not really in it, and you will not be taking all the steps necessary to care for this environmentally needy pet.

If you want people to know how interesting you are, read a book or buy a Rolex. Leave these vulnerable creatures out of it.

11. Once You Buy One, They Are Not Easy to Rehome

Turtles are the most abandoned pet in the United States (probably because of the reasons I've outlined above). However, releasing your pet into the wild is a bad idea. It's very dangerous for the turtle (who is unlikely to survive), and to the native population, which it can infect with diseases or damage through increased competition for resources. Zoos are also often reluctant to take them, because of the aforementioned reasons.

 Great Hatchling Sulcata Tortoise / / CC BY 2.0
Great Hatchling Sulcata Tortoise / / CC BY 2.0 | Source

If You Still Want a Pet Tortoise or Turtle, Get Informed

If you must buy a turtle or tortoise, read a lot about them. Ask trainers, vets, or zoo keepers how to successfully care for these delicate creatures. Just because they have a shell does not make them indestructible.

If I have exposed myself to ridicule here so be it. I deserve it. I should be ashamed of my gross mistakes in turtle and tortoise pet-care and I am. I hope that this article at least, will give some people food for thought about purchasing a turtle or tortoise.

I have vowed to never purchase another turtle or tortoise again, unless I own a property where I can provide it the absolute best environment.

Things to Consider If You Still Want to Buy a Turtle or Tortoise

  • Take into careful consideration all the many needs these animals require. They are wonderful and fascinating creatures. Read books, articles, and ask professionals their advice on turtle care.
  • If you must buy one, consider purchasing a red-eared slider as they are one of the easiest to take care of. It's also one of the few species that is actually doing too well in the wild as it invades the environments of species that lay eggs less frequently.
  • However, should you purchase a slider, be warned that because they are an aquatic species, they have a dynamic (read: odoriferous and gooey) bioload (poop) that needs to be filtered and cleaned frequently. (My thanks to a reader, Taylor, who wrote an eloquent rebuttal in the Comments Section on why Russian Tortoises are much easier to maintain as pets than Red Eared Sliders. Namely, they don't need a tank full of water to stay happy. Please read her comment below to find out more).
  • Box Turtles are absolutely not for beginners, nor are Red Foots, Spider Tortoises, or Pancake Tortoises. Choose your pet wisely, and don't be afraid to consult and listen to a veterinarian if you need help.

I encourage anyone with a knowledgeable opinion in the matter to leave more reasons below in the comments section.

Where turtles belong.
Where turtles belong.

A Heart-Warming Turtle Story From the Comments

Here's an excerpt from the comment section below (edited for clarity and length).

" . . . My son and I captured a nickel-sized hatchling painter this year, and held onto it for a day. My son begged and pleaded to keep it. Instead, we released it on the same lake where we found it (albeit a little closer to our house). A few months later we saw a small tortoise off the pier, near where we had released it. It had doubled in size and was covered in some algae, looking healthy and happy. We're so lucky to live near a turtle's natural home and to visit him like a neighbor!"

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    • Ben Zoltak 4 months ago

      tejas, sounds like you have some beautiful tortoises and quite a dilemma...if it's legal in your area you can sell them to someone better suited to take care of them. There may be an animal rescue in the area that might also take them, I've heard zoos almost never do, although those are so rare maybe it wouldn't hurt to ask? Veterinarians and naturalists more skilled than I say not to leave them in the wild for fear of introducing disease to the native reptile population.

      I hope that helps my friend.

      Ben

    • tejas 4 months ago

      I have two star turtles from more than 6 years...now they are alost 12 inch long. and the maintainance for him is almost not passible.

      suggest me what to do with them...should i leave them in wildlife or in zoo..

      please suggest me on my mail id. tejasthetw@gmail.com.

      Thanks

    • Ben Zoltak profile image
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      Ben Zoltak 4 months ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Nagato, Susanah and Jonnie, thanks for sharing your experiences with turtles. Sounds like you're on your way to keeping good care of more. Yes, more space is always better, they can survive in a minimum, but you run a higher risk of stressing them out and getting turtles and tortoises more sick.

      Best

      Ben

    • Nagato 4 months ago

      I've had to learn the hard way about how important water temperature is. I lost 3 turtles (2 red ear sliders and a soft shell) the soft-shell became sick and died, getting the 2 others sick and they later died. It was an idiotic mistake on my part because I already had snapper and red ear, and they're still alive and well. Snappers are pretty strong. I have 2 snappers, one red ear and a baby yellow belly that my mother and sister bought from Florida as a gift. I don't need anymore turtles. The snapping turtles are going to be a lot of work once they're fully grown but I don't think they'll get that big. One is a baby, probably about 4 inches and the other one is about 2-3 years old and is about 6-7 inches. All of my turtles are kept seperately. I'll eventually move the yellow belly with red ear in a bigger tank once it has grown. It's still a baby. They all eat well, I give them live fish, fruits and veggies.

    • Oogway 4 months ago

      I will buy one I have money space whatever you want

    • divesh panjwani 5 months ago

      sir your posts was so awesome and kmowledgeable thank you for sharing with us...

    • Susanna 7 months ago

      I grew up with a tortoise called Shelly. He must have been some kind of African tortoise. My parents rescued him from some dogs near our farm when I was a baby. We built him a huge compound in our backyard, fed him cabbage and watermelon and occasionally let him out to explore the rest of the garden. He hibernated by himself and even let us wake him up from time to time. Never got salmonella poisoning, never had any health issues. He got massive! Had to give him away after the divorce. I now deffinitely want to get a another one, thinking it was really easy the first time, but now I guess it had more to do with him being a sturdy breed and having all that space. Maybe the reason they die is because they get depressed? Guess I'll have to wait till I have a house with a backyard.

    • Jonnie h 7 months ago

      Wish I'd read this before taking my friends Turtle. I took it like 11 years ago. :-( red eared sliders. The one died in like a month. when she gave it to me he had soft shell so I separated them and he died. The other one is kicking it at like 7 inches in just shell.

    • Ben Zoltak profile image
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      Ben Zoltak 19 months ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Thanks Jo! The Russians are the northermost of all tortoise species from what I've read, and they also live as far south as Afganistan! Really glad to hear they're doing well!

      Ben

    • Jo 19 months ago

      Hey nice article! This is pretty late but I agree that too many tortoises have died becaude of careless mistakes. I myself spent a lot of time researching about russian tortoises before I owned two. They are still doing well and are quite active after 6 years.

    • Ben Zoltak profile image
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      Ben Zoltak 21 months ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Tabbikat! So kind and thoughtful, thank you, this comment that you wrote is why I continue to leave this article published:

      "I totally thought that you put a turtle in a tank and give it water and lettuce and that's it. I was so wrong! Thank you for enlightening me. My son will have to wait to make this decision when he is much older, and living in his own place. Lol I will be getting him something "non-living" for his birthday. Thank you for being upfront and honest. I do not want to get a pet that I can't care for! It's not fair to the pet. God bless!"

      Someday your son may be ready, and you too, maybe even before he gets his own place ;o) But if not, consider getting him a book about turtles/tortoises, or visiting a nature preserve or pond or zoo where there are tortoises. I know of a secret place in Madison, Wisconsin that's right in the city, hidden behind some willow trees in a very small creek, where many turtles congregate! It's great to observe them in their wild habitat. There are also several other places I know of where you can view giant aldabra and galapagos tortoises at zoos and attractions.

      Thanks again for your comment, warms my heart to know people are considerate to others who bare their soul's mistakes about caring for turtles.

      Ben

    • Tabbikat 21 months ago

      So, my son ask for a turtle for his birthday. He will be 6! He loves the TMNT. I read a few articles from pet stores about all the good of having a turtle as a pet. (They just want to make money so they are bias!) I also have a soon to be 4 year old. After reading your article I will not be getting a turtle for my son. He is WAY too young and frankly, I don't want the resposability either. We also have inside cats and a dog. I understand what one woman was saying about Samilela, that it's rare. I really don't care if it is rare, I don't want to take the chance with my kids so young! What good mom would? I totally thought that you put a turtle in a tank and give it water and lettuce and that's it. I was so wrong! Thank you for enlightening me. My son will have to wait to make this decision when he is much older, and living in his own place. Lol I will be getting him something "non-living" for his birthday. Thank you for being upfront and honest. I do not want to get a pet that I can't care for! It's not fair to the pet. God bless!

    • Ben Zoltak profile image
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      Ben Zoltak 21 months ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Thank you Squam, for your expert observation about herps/reptiles related to the value of this essay.

      Ben

    • Squam 21 months ago

      It's not that complicated. Most things you mentioned here are more than obvious for herpers/reptile owners. However for children, who think these animals are living rocks that only eat lettuce and move slow, everything here is worth reading by their parents.

    • Ben Zoltak profile image
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      Ben Zoltak 22 months ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Thanks Cassi, for sharing your experience with turtles, and the especially sensitive hatchlings.

      Ben

    • Cassi2525 22 months ago

      My kids found a baby turtle a few years ago at a public park. It was obviously newly hatched. Unfortunately, some older kids had viciously murdered his siblings and left smashed-turtle evidence all around. (They ran away as we approached) My kids were traumatized and freaked out at the thought of this survivor falling victim. I tried to scare him away, but he just sat there. I finally agreed (against my better judgement and probably in spite of the law) to take him home...warning my kids the whole way that it is really hard to keep wild baby aquatic turtles alive in captivity and telling them not to be surprised if he didn't make it. Well, here we are 3 years later with a healthy slider in a heated aquarium in our living room. I have to say, if it weren't for my knowledge of reptile care and some good friends who rehabilitate turtles, he wouldn't be alive. UVB lights are a huge necessity that many people overlook. Water quality and tank size are important. Turtles produce a lot of waste and require excellent filtration, and their tank needs to be cleaned regularly. Water temperature needs to be regulated and they need a designated basking area where they can get completely out of the water and dry themselves. Also, this little guy developed and abcess in his neck last year. There are no reptile vets in our area, and he got so swollen he couldn't eat. Under the direction of a woman who rehabilitates turtles (not local), I literally had to perform surgery on him myself. (Small incision in his neck with a sterile scalpel, remove all of the infection, clean with bentodine, treat water to prevent further infection...) He is very healthy and happy now, fortunately. (Aside from being undersize because we had a difficult time getting him to eat as a baby and during the time he was suffering with the abcess) So, as you can see, I agree with you. Turtles are not pets for the average person. They aren't an impulse buy. This one turtle has cost a few hundred bucks to house properly and feed. He's nearing his 3rd birthday and he has a 2 year old 'brother'. (A Map turtle...my kids thought he was lonely) They have an African clawed frog friend, a pleco, and 2 Cory cats too. They all get along well. Again, I'd say the only reason for our success with them and their good health is my experience with reptiles and the help of the people I know.

    • Ben Zoltak profile image
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      Ben Zoltak 22 months ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Thanks for sharing your experience and opinions on turtle care Manu.

    • Manu 22 months ago

      Turtle care might be difficult but it depends upon pure luck. In my experience, the more you worry, the more they are prone to death. Some of them are diseased, so they won't survive no matter what you do. My second attempt at keeping turtles as pets is successful. The Indian shopkeeper advised me to keep them in very less water with no land at all. A pair is more successful in captivity. I feed them ordinary turtle food pellets only. It's is been a year. Changing water 3 to 4 times a day helps.

    • Ben Zoltak profile image
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      Ben Zoltak 23 months ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      I have a lot of cowards that comment with hate mail on this essay, if they would have the courage enough to leave their name and place of business I'm sure I could answer them more appropriately.

      Warmly.

      Ben Zoltak

    •  23 months ago

      That was awesome

    • Ben Zoltak profile image
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      Ben Zoltak 2 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Hey ionatan, if you have any more specific questions, feel free to post them here and I'll see if I can answer them. Or if you find out any little-known info about sulcatttas please share with turtle owners here!

    • Ben Zoltak profile image
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      Ben Zoltak 2 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Well the good news is, ionatan, you clearly have access to the internet and from there a wealth of information. As I mentioned in my essay above, beware of relying only on one source, there is a lot of bad advice out there for all species of turtles and tortoise, but if you check at least three or four different sources, much like anything, you will find consistencies that are illuminating.

      That being said, although the sulcatta may have arrived as an unprepared surprise, congratulations on becoming a steward to one of the worlds most beautiful creatures. I am not an expert on sulcattas so please double check my advice against other sources.

      All chelonians need a temperature gradient made readily available to them. At least this means, a warm and a cool spot, at best this means a "spectrum" of different temperatures, being cold blooded tortoises they need to regulate their digestion and health by moving from a warmer to hotter to cooler areas. Easily done in Arizona! A little more difficult in Wisconsin where our winters last what? Five months or so? Haha. But it can be done. Your sulcatta would be best housed in it's own room, at a minimum of 5 x 5' feet, with more being better in this case. You can let the tortoise roam the house, but experts agree you are supposed to supervise them if they roam, then return them to their enclosure after some exercise. They also need UVA and UVB lighting, which can be purchased online or from a pet store. Usually one fluorescent and one heat lamp type. A thermometer in the enclosure will help you monitor it's environment. Ironically, indoor Wisconsin environments are probably close to it's dry, desert environment.

      Sulcattas, if I recall correctly are vegetarians, although I've owned vegetarians species that loved a little meat, it should be avoided in the main. Beware too much protein, beans and what not, they prefer fibery vegis, greens (avoid spinach, oxalic acid steals much needed calcium from them) I've heard regular alfalfa hay is a good staple and inexpensive. Otherwise, a diverse mix of vegis, including stubs from cauliflower/broccoli, lettuce (not too much iceberg), carrots, they all love dandelion greens that haven't been sprayed with pesticide of course. They will eat your lawn like a lawn mower haha.

      Some sources say they can go for a long time without water, but I believe in captivity it's safer to make water regularly available to them.

      There's so much more! But I have to go for a hike with my family now! I am a little jealous, sulcattas are sooooo coooool! Don't ever leave them alone with a dog fyi, they may lose a limb or two, or worse!

      Keep reading, buy a book or two! Kingsnake.com used to have some infor also, probably still do....

      Best!

      Ben Zoltak

    • ionatan 2 years ago

      So i stumbled across thid pafe in hopes of finding some information on how to care for a sculcata tortoise. I am in an interesting situation and from what I have researched so far, being in WI, its not the most suitable climate for these animals.

      Lets start by sharing how I got the tortoise. So my son recently had a birthday and for a gift his grandparents decided to get him a turtle. Without any discussion from us, his parents, to our surprise they showed up with a sculcata tortoise that at present must weigh around 20lbs and maybe 12-15" in lengt . Needless to say our first reaction was shock and thought maybe this was just a joke. We figured that maybe the tortoise was only visiting and would return home at the end of the day. As it became more apparent that it was indeed staying, we quickly started to research how to care for this new pet. After realizing this would be difficult, we thanked the grandparents for such a thoughtful gift, but requested it be returned. Their reply was that they would take it home and care for it until our son got older and would like it back. I love my in-laws, but I dont think they are any better suited to care for the tortoise than we are. Plus finding out that returning yhe tortoise may not be an option since the pet store they got it from is closing, we now need to figure out how to care for the pet.

      I guess I am looking for some insight on what the best accomodations I can provide to give the tortoise a long, healthy life being in this wonderful WI climate?

    • Ben Zoltak profile image
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      Ben Zoltak 2 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Well said Gillian, keep up the good husbandery! Glad you are an advocate who uses caution for others of unknown experience! Greeks look SO COOL! Totally nerdilicious torts!

      Cheers,

      Ben

    • gillian moore 2 years ago

      Sorry but i don't agree with the 10 "nos." I've had a greek tort for more than three years and i love it. However i must admit that not any person can deal with a tortoise: they do NOT have the capablity of a dog or a cat, let alone the brains. But if you like torts i believe you can learn to deal with them.

    • Ben Zoltak profile image
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      Ben Zoltak 2 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Talia, I've heard a lot about the mistreatment of parrots too, very intelligent animals, similar to owning a toddler or small child I would bet. Turtles and tortoises are at least somewhat more autonomous, although like any intelligent creature, they enjoy enrichment too.

      Best of luck,

      Ben

    • Ben Zoltak profile image
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      Ben Zoltak 2 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      I have had several similar scenarios too Kathy, and it's tragic. You feel that you're doing them a favor by getting them outside, only to enter them into a less-than-secure situation. It's as though in many circumstances, people would need a locked wrought iron enclosure or a moat!

      Thank you for sharing your experience!

      Ben

    • Talia 2 years ago

      I stumbled upon this article while researching whether or not *I* would be a good candidate for tortoise owner. This gave me a lot to think about although I am not entirely surprised. As the former owner of large, exotic birds I know all too well how blindly some people go into exotic pet ownership. Parrot rescues are absolutely overflowing with physically and emotionally stunted birds. It's rare to find someone that truly has the time, space and knowledge needed in order to keep an exotic pet healthy and happy.

    • kathy Doubleu 2 years ago

      I agree with you, I too have had my aquatic turtles for 3 years, they were doing pretty well until I decided this summer to put them outside in what I felt was a secure enviornment, within a month they both disappeared either they climbed out, someone stole them.I feel it's the second choice as I have lawn guys in my yard weekly and they just happened to disappear on the day they come. I am heart broken, not just for my loss but for the safety of those gentle creatures. They are like dogs, interacting with humans for food. But it's not worth their lives.

    • Ben Zoltak profile image
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      Ben Zoltak 2 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Yeah Indian Stars are very rare from what I gather Kaustubh. I've heard ( I have no references handy...) that breeders of the star are careful not to flood the market with hatchlings because it helps keep the price up. They are beautiful and I would imagine they need a fairly narrow heat gradient if you research where they are from, not to mention most likely a very specific diet.

      Ben

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      Ben Zoltak 2 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Living in a dry, desert environment at least gives you some good options, since many species do well there. Certainly the choices you need to make, in order to keep a tortoise healthy in arid conditions are vital!

      I wish you a lot of luck Heather, with solid research from more than one ( at least three ) sources you should be able to make some very informed decisions!

      Best,

      Ben

    • HeatherNM 2 years ago

      Ben,

      Thank you so much for giving me some good food for thought!! I intend on getting my son a pet by the time he turns 12 or so and he is 5 now... sounds strange to start thinking about it now but I especially love turtles and I want to have ample time to research carefully, make a wise decision as to what kind will fit best and prepare so that our family can provide everything necessary for it.... ive had an array of exotic pets (even horned lizards etc) but i know from experience now that the tragedy that follows an unprepared and uninformed pet friend is more than i want to experience again. I live in a very harsh, hot desert environment and i need to think carefully before I act impulsively and devastate my children as I was when my mom bought me fish tank frogs as a child that I repeatedly starved to death, sadly by feeding them the wrong food! Lol

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      Ben Zoltak 2 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Mk, glad you've had a great experience with Chelonians. A vet once told me a lot depends on the individual animal. Some won't eat well, some are prone to being sick.

      Blu, a lot of truth in what you say, alas some people are great stewards of reptiles and chelonians in particular, and so I'm grateful for them, as most species natural habitat are consistently being decimated by homo sapiens sapiens....

      Ana, truth!!! A whole lotta poo! Ironically it's a good thing in a way, says they're healthy! I have an answer for you too. That liquid is gold, if as you say, you have the power-strength for it. Pour it into a jug and let it sit for a month and you have strong, potentially organic liquid compost for house plants and gardens.!!!

      One last item... my son and I captured a nickel-sized hatchling painter this year, held onto it for a day. My son begged and pleaded his case for keeping. We instead released it on the same lake we found it (albeit a little closer to our house ;u) ) A few months later we saw a small tortoise off the pier we released it near, about double the size and covered in some algae looking healthy and happy. We're so lucky to live near a turtles natural home, and to just visit him like a neighbor!!!!

      Be we fellow turtle people!!!

      Ben

    • Ana R. 2 years ago

      Thank you for your complete honestly. If I would have read this article before my lovely mother in law bought my son a baby red slider turtle 3 years ago, without my permission by the way. I would have told her to take his butt back to the pet store that day. 3 years later the baby is not so cute and tiny anymore but seems to crap all day. We have accommodated his growing and his eating habits and i am not ashamed to say, i give up. I finally had to tell my mother in law to take the turtle home with her. I am a total animal lover but this is one animal i would never recommend unless you have the space, time and man power. (strength) because as soon as that tank is clean, this fool craps right away.

    • Blu 2 years ago

      Dont buy tortoises or tirtles trust me. They are the worst pets. Just dont do it. They r the ones who end up suffering not you.

    • Mk 2 years ago

      I have had my tortoise for six years now and I haven't had any problem's with feeding it a correct diet or keeping it at the correct temp so I don't agree with what your saying as long as you have experience I think you can have any pet within reason :)

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      Ben Zoltak 2 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Glad to hear it City Kitty. I had the best luck with Red Foot tortoises. Unfortunaetly I made a couple common, bone-headed mistakes. But they ate well and were active and health.

      Thanks for sharing your experience.

      Ben

    • City Kitty 2 years ago

      I don't think it's that hard to raise a tortoise.

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      Ben Zoltak 2 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Kalifornia, so sorry to hear of the loss of a Hermans. Personally I haven't met anyone who has cared for one (someone I knew had a similar Forsten's tortoise many years ago, that she inherited and was already well acclimated). Thank you for aknowledging the difficulties involved here, I have received many insults and even a few thinly veild threats from writing this article, mainly from disreputable reptile dealers. I know very little about Hermans, other than remembering they have a specialized diet. If you should happen to care to try again, might I recommend a red eared slider or a red-footed tortoise, both are very durable and less picky eaters. Although both have higher humidity requirements than the Hermans did I believe.

      Be well, and enjoy reptiles in the wild any chance you get. A few years ago I found my "secret" spot in Madison, Wisconsin where about a dozen turtles congregate in an old creek behind some disused industrial buildings.

      Ben

    • Kallifornia 2 years ago

      OMG I wish I found this before we got our Hermann Tortoise!! I thought I did plenty of research before...I did hours upon hours just trying to figure out which kind to get, which would best suited to our environment and what would be easiest to care for. We were told and read in several places that the Hermanns were beginner tortoises. To that I say, NOT HARDLY!!!! We had what we felt was an appropriate habitat going by recommendations on various sites, we thought we fed her enough of the right foods, we grew her her own garden, she had heat lamps/UV lamps PLUS we live in a warm, temperate climate where she can enjoy the outdoors and STILL 2 months in, she died. I can not even begin to explain the utter sadness in this house right now (she was my 10 yr olds bday present and we loved this little tortoise like it was family). Coolest pet ever for sure but seriously people...they require SO much specialized care it's not even funny. I'm an animal rescuer and have saved hundreds of animals from the brink of death and nursed them back to health and yet not even I could give that tortoise what it needed to survive!! I'm shocked and saddened and guilt ridden for not taking care of her the way she needed and my kids are basket cases! Word to the wise, get your Ph.D. in chelonian husbandry and THEN consider getting one. They are awesome creatures and deserve only the best care, if you're not 150% ready, please don't do it! I think people can successfully keep turtles/tortoises but I will go out on a limb and say that the people selling it to you will give you, at most, 1% of info you need to know to raise it properly. You need mad amounts of books, many online sources and at least join a turtle/tortoise forum so you have support ready at hand. If you're on the fence, don't do it or at least not until you're ready. We definitely won't be getting another.

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      Ben Zoltak 2 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Hey Ramon, thank you for your kindness about my experiences with turtles and tortoises, I wish you and any new creatures under your care well. Captive bred Leopard tortoises will be a good species to explore. As far as I can tell they have a stable captive population (avoid wild caughts, some breeders say they are CB when they are actually "Wild caught", a quick bing/google search should verify a breeders reputation for telling the truth). Leopards are beautiful, live long, have a similar diet as sulcattas, and are low humidity, and are about half the size. Although with hatchlings I believe they need more humidity (warm gradient) for some time.

      Best of luck!

      Ben Zoltak

    • Ramon 2 years ago

      Hi huge tortoise fan love them Ive owned 1 tort it was a baby suculta it died after a year due to weather(lived near the beach) Im thinking about getting another one or 2 so they can keep eachother company. But i dont know what kind after skipper died(name of dead tort) i found out if he lived he would have become HUGE and i coundnt do with that. I want something 6-10 inches, hardy, and not something that will be big on humidity. I totally agree with the articale i had no idea the mess i was getting in to when i was buying one now im older and have read alot more on these wonderful creatures. please recommend a type to me so i can research it and if down for it adopt one.

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      Ben Zoltak 2 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Well said Sarah! A calling, indeed! They do have beautiful eyes, both in Madison, Wisconsin and Chicago, Illinois I've hung out with zoo Red Foots, next to their misters!

      Thank you for the warm response.

      Ben

    • Sarah 2 years ago

      I have 2 Redfoots and I want to thank you for this hub page. I got them as very small hatchlings and they are almost 2 yrs old and thriving now. Redfoots are NOT easy unless you live in a rain forest. Hatchlings are very fragile. They have a narrow window in terms of their humidity and temperature needs. They need at least 85 to 90 degrees F and 80 to 90% humidity. It's not easy creating "hot rain" in an apartment. They require constant rotation in their diet so you must introduce different greens all the time. It's a labor of love, maybe even a calling. The payoff is huge when they turn those gentle eyes on you... but PLEASE research what you are attempting to undertake.

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      Ben Zoltak 3 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Nebs, I wonder are they sulcattas? Just curious, as I've heard they are very difficult to rehome because of their proliferation. I've seen the humping you mention! Not pretty, haha, but lonely creatures need lovin however they can find it I guess. I'd say, get the word out among trusted friends if you want to rehome them, you may find a way. If I had a little more money, I'd drive out their and get them myself. Did I mention I published an ebook: Your Life As A Painting ( ;o) )

      Hope things work out for your tortoises, at least they have California weather!

      Ben

    • NEBS 3 years ago

      My husband has two great big turtles and I'm absolutely sick of all of them (husband included). Now I read that even a zoo will not take the turtles. This makes me sad because I really would like my husband to get rid of them. We cannot afford to feed them anymore since they have become so large. They make a lot of noise too because, although they are both male, they hump each other. The neighbors are complaining about the noise which makes for a very uncomfortable situation. When we lived in WA, they were fine because they had a very large pen in which to roam around and a nice warm shed in which to sleep. Now that we are in CA, the turtle situation is awful. I agree with the author, think twice before getting turtles as pets.

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      Ben Zoltak 3 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Thanks Suzanne, I sure have made a lot of turtle sellers mad with this article! To be clear, I believe turtles and tortoises can be great pets actually, but they take a lot, and I mean A LOT more care than some would have you believe.

      Maybe in your area you can spot some wild turtles or some in zoos?

      Glad I could help be a part of your daughters research, sounds like a smart cookie, I hope she continues, there is so much to learn about chelonians!

      Ben Zoltak

    • Suzanne 3 years ago

      My daughter asked if she could get a tortoise. We are homeschoolers so I told her she needed to research, do a presentation and convince me why our family should own a tortoise. She read your article and changed her mind. Thank you

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      Ben Zoltak 3 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Thanks Shay for your kind words and keen observations. We do have snakes around here, mostly pretty small ones though. I've finally got a place where I could really make a great enclosure so I will take your suggestion to heart and reinforce it on the sides and secure a top if ever I build one and get another turtle. I love North American Woods, they have been my favorite for years. We watched an Asian Wood a few years ago, he was fun too. Ah, still thinking about it.

      Best,

      Ben

    • shay 3 years ago

      I grew up on a farm with dogs, cats, and other animals. I have had several pet turtles and they all did fine. In the house and outside in there enclosure. In the house it helps if they have there own room and if your not home you should never let them roam freely. As for the out side enclosure, you should put a top on it as well as chicken wire on bottom and coverd it with dirt. I take extra care and lined the sides and top of the pin with poulty fence. It has much smaller holes so snakes can't get in with your turtle. Just a few suggestions in case you get another turtle.

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      Ben Zoltak 4 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Yep, I did. Still can't bring myself to buy another pet turtle. But, I observe them in the wild all the time. Just moved to an area that has one of the rare North American soft shell turtles too, I am lucky and blessed.

      Thanks for letting me know about the East coast boxies Aaron, that warms my heart, you are incredibly lucky. I've never found a box turtle in the wild. I was lucky enough to spot several Florida Gopher tortoises though, about a decade a go.

      Be well,

      Ben

    • Aaron 4 years ago

      It sound to me like you just did some very stupid stuff while caring for your turtles, it happens i had a yellow belly slider who got sick and i thought it was going to die but it ended up live for several years before I had to find a new home for cause it out grow the 40gal tank i had. I thought you would like to know that box turtles are thriving on the east coast. I find them in the wild all the time.

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      Ben Zoltak 4 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Thanks for all the comments! Buy turtles! Buy tortoises! They're awesome, beautiful creatures, just find out what they need specifically. It's true Red Eared Sliders are tough, but they need good environments too, it's one thing to survive, it's another for your chelonian to thrive.

      If a tortoise wanders near your home, that is a good omen!!!

      Be well, tortoisefiles!!!

      Ben

    • Reggie 4 years ago

      I knew someone that had a red earred slider for nearly 10 years. Fed it sporatically, mostly just pellets. Didn't have a heat lamp; I would guess room temp was usually 60-75. Seldom changed the water. Turtles are a very hearty animal. I would suggest not getting one because they live forever.

    • fuzzy342 4 years ago

      I was given a RES turtle and we found out the first week that she had a respiratory infection, we took her to the vet and gave her the prescribed antibiotics. She did not get better, only worse, now she has pneumonia and rocks in her GI tract that we found after we took x-rays. Now she is on three different medicines. What are her chances of survival? Is it worth it to get the stones surgically removed if she can't pass them herself?

    • vipin 4 years ago

      can u explain tortoise came near to my home its good or bad to my family?

    • adam 4 years ago

      My wife really wants a tortoise. She has since college. After reading this, I'm torn. Help!

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      Ben Zoltak 4 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Stay strong Spring! Sending you good vibes and prayers lady friend, (((hugs))) back at you!

      TYTY: we love turtles and tortoises here, we're just trying to make sure people know what they're doing before they go out and buy one so that they are better taken care of is all.

      Best,

      Ben

    • Spring Pace 4 years ago

      Thank you Ben & Tushar. I like that "live long & prosper" Tushar, I embrace your hope for me Ben, it's gems like this that get me through my day and every day is different so I hear the same things said differently every day. Some days it's hard to care when I'm in a boatload of pain, but the next day is usually better and that's the day I appreciate life more and all the people in it. It's a hard realization knowing that pain can be so destructive to ones own mind ( I thought I ws stronger than to succumb). Now I understand it better and direct my focus away from the darkness. (((hugs))))

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      Ben Zoltak 4 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      I hear you Spring and I understand most of all I hope you get well!

      Ben

    • tushar 4 years ago

      thanks for your help ben...smiles

    • tushar 4 years ago

      Get well soon spring pace...

      my best wishes are with you....live long and prosper.

    • Spring Pace 4 years ago

      Thanks my friend, hard to know which treatment is the best, so I am comingling the chemo & radiation w/ eastern practices for health and stability while I go throuh the treatment program. I think any choice I make has it's risks, but no riskier than what I have already and less risky than if I did nothing at all. I have a great support base and am diligently NOT reading up on the subject because there are so many varying opinions and I'm already dizzy from what little I do know. My support groups have been holding me close and upright, and has been the most effective so far. Life is at best a crap shoot and I will accept whatever outcome it brings but not before I'm finished, I don't give up, nor do I give in, I choose my fights, I don't let those get chosen for me to the best of my ability. ((((hugs))))), Spring

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      Ben Zoltak 4 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Ah Spring, may the Great Spirit hold you tight in her arms. The coincidence of your post is poignant as my daughter lost her mother to cervical cancer a little over ten years ago. She had precancerous cells then tried to harvest the last of her eggs for her fiancé via hormones and surgical procedure which only exacerbated the problem. My daughter created one of the first facebook pages on the subject:

      http://www.facebook.com/groups/50328134982/

      Anyway, good vibes and spiritual blessings to you. Please do not be afraid to seek out alternative cancer treatment, from one turtle island resident to another, please look into Vitamin C treatment as a possibility. A %50 cure rate is possible through Gerson therapy, but it is highly controversial. Recall though that radiation and chemotherapy are both known to cause cancer.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7_yjjK4hNk

      Be careful where you tread here my friend, you have walked into a path where health and profit commingle detrimentally.

      All my love,

      Ben Zoltak

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      Ben Zoltak 4 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      DT Well put and thank you for the heads up on your reputable breeder. RES's are the mules of the turtle trade it seems, they are beautiful reptiles and delightfully well rounded turtles.

      Ben

    • Spring Pace 4 years ago

      Always glad to be of service Ben. My life has taken a huge unforeseen left turn this past month. I was diagnosed w/ Stage 3c cervical cancer due to the Human Pavllova virus I got probably over 20 years ago. I'm only mentioning this here because there is now a vaccine for young girls against HPV that will make cervical cancer one of the cancers that can be totally eradicated from the long list of cancers. Girls, cervical cancer is painful, if you feel ANYTHING out of the ordinary like an unexplained belly ache, please go see your GYN ASAP. Catching it early is key, mine has metastized so making mine more complicated and the treatment will be aggressive. Boyfriends, dads, husbands please be aware of your girls changes and when they say they don't feel good for too many days in a row (I'd say a week) make an appt for your loved one. All cancers affect everyone close to you, be proactive in the most kind and loving way you know how to. I know that you will have to approve this before it is posted Ben, I sure hope you do because if I can help a few women then it's time well spent reading this. ((((hugs)))) cuz I don't know how many more I have left in my lifetime and smiles because they are healing in themselves, Spring

    • DT 4 years ago

      If anyone wants a turtle I recommend a red eared slider from turtleshack.com these people know what they are doing. And Ben #11 should be theyer not too expencive to buy, but when your into them as much as I am they are a little pricey. Like for instance my turtle was $21 from my local pet shop and over a short period of time turned into hundreds so just be able to "shell" out extra money if need be to keep your little guy happy and healthy

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      Ben Zoltak 4 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Thanks again Spring Pace for your constant vigilance regarding our chelonian friends.

      Kjarvi31 ... I think many people feel the way you do! Good for you realizing this, time to do some real soul searching before adopting a turtle/tortoise. Some need more care than others...

      tushar ... from what I understand RES's are some of the most voracious (really hungry) turtles out there, so they will eat and eat and eat ... but this doesn't mean he should still be fed to the point where he gets overweight. Also, don't be afraid to look up fresh fruits and vegis for your friend.

      Alexooo ...I love your turtle names, just like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, love it. Also, if he's hissing, at least you know he's healthy!

      Bobbiemy !!! Well, as cute as your Russian is I still wouldn't sleep with him, not hygienic! In your tropical environment the Russian could possibly run into humidity related problems, but the Russian's range is very broad and I would guess that he will be fine. An interesting conundrum but not one you should worry over I believe.

      Ben

    • Bobbiemy 4 years ago

      I have a Russian Tortoise and have been allowing her to sleep with me as she enjoys the warmth- now after reading your article Im confused.... she has a habitat but likes to roam the house and I live in a very tropical area - the temp is the same all year round except it gets hotter in the summer- what should I do and I have had her for about 3 months now and just love her to death I take her out 20 minutes every other day and feed her once a day as well as give her a soak every other day...Help now Im freaking out --- her movements are regular and she has clear eyes and has been checked by my vet to have no medical aliments but now Im worried

      please respond

    • Alexooo 4 years ago

      great article by the way!:) I have 2 yellow bellied sliders - one boy, one girl.. the boy (Raphael) which i just recently purchased is only about a year and a half old and is very crabby! always hissing, so I feel he's been mistreated in the past. I'll do my best to make him happy though like my girl (Donatello) who's about 4 years old! she is BEAUTIFUL! I absolute adore her! I took her off a friend as she had a small tank with no filter and no basking area!! she was very timid and her shell looked infected, now she has a bigger tank with all the facilities a terrapin would ask for:) and I am pleased to say she is a happy turtle, most research I've came across says that terrapins don't like to be handled but Donatello LOVES attention, unlike Raphael which is a shame cause I'd live to see him 'come out his shell' ha! No pun intended :) but anyway thanks for the great article, really enjoyed!

    • tushar 4 years ago

      i also wanted to know the correct diet for my red eared slider... i feed him twice a day with pellets which he finishes within no time ...still he keeps on asking for more..i dont want him to starve and i dont want him to overeat either because i've heard its harmful..he is one and a half years old

    • Kjarvi31 4 years ago

      Hey! I've had many turtles in the past when I was younger and just recently thought about getting another couple but then I was struck with a feeling of worry that when I get them I will not want to constantly be taking care of them even though I know it wouldn't take hours ( since I have not had them in a while ), just wondering if you or anyone else has ever felt like this before getting a new turtle?

    • Spring Pace 4 years ago

      your welcome Tushar, come spring time, he'll be sunning on deck and making you smile

    • tushar 4 years ago

      thank you so much spring pace...i appreciate your help..and you're right.. i barely see him swimning around...

    • John 4 years ago

      I would like to say that over 20 years ago I bought an Elongated Tortoise . I knew nothing at the time and never had a tortoise befor but, have had turtles. I did my research by going to the local zoo for info. The put me on the right track and stopped at the book store on the way home. Three day's later and several book's were in my posseion. I edcated myself and didn't cut corners to take care of the animal. I'm happy to say that 23 years latter the tortoise is thriving well and has grown. I don't cut conners and shop for a variety of food. I plant a very large garden every year to feed my several tortoise and turttle's that I share my house with. The Elongated shared an appartment with me for several years before I bought a house so that I could have more reptiles. So don/t tell me that a Tortoise can't thrive in captivity. Do your research before you purchase , if not leave the animals alone. Too many end up in shelter's every year of neglect from stupid people or cheap one's who think an animal that can outlive a human will thrive . SO DON'T BUY ONE!

    • Spring Pace 4 years ago

      hey tushar, your Indian flap shell is omniverous, so the pellets will suffice in being a back up during the lean times.If you have a healthy ecosystem in your pond full of live food your turtle should be fine. Usually they estivate (type of hibernation) until hard times pass, they will burrow into the mud to keep themselves safe from harm, so don't be surprised if yours isn't swimming around for long periods of time during the hard cold. I got all this from Wikipedia, but more research should be done by you for better specifics, smiles

    • Sunshine 4 years ago

      A lady at work offered her two red eared turtles because they weren't eating anymore... I figured they just needed attention so I gladly accepted them. However, just by doing a little research I understood why they were not eating and it made me sad. They weren't in the proper proper environment, they were barely able to move in their tank, the water was cold, she even said they had not eaten since september! I went to the pet store and bought most of what they would need and now they love swimming in their new tank! I even had to buy a cream for their shell because it was shedding. After spending $150 unexpectedly, I discovered turtles need a specific environment to grow and diest their food. Reason #... for not buying a turtle or turtoise: if it's to amuse your 6 year old kid.

    • tushar 4 years ago

      i also have a red eared slider whose very close to my heart and he just completed a year in my house...he is very healthy n he is soo soo adorable...

    • tushar 4 years ago

      and a few days back a friend gave me an indian flapshell turtle and he is living in a pond which is situated outside in my garden...the problem is that the water in which he lives is very cold these days n i'm worried..will he be comfortable out there?? n will he be okay with those turtle pellets??n is there anything else that i should know about him?

    • tushar 4 years ago

      nice one ben...i hope people pay attention to this article of yours and take some good care of these lovely ,cute and innocent creatures

    • Ben Zoltak profile image
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      Ben Zoltak 4 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Thanks Spring Pace I'll check it out when I get the chance.

      Cheers!

    • Spring Pace 4 years ago

      I have a Critter page on FB that I share MY comments ONLY on from your hubpage. I always do my best writing when I'm responding to others, thanks for giving me that opportunity Ben, you started something good here, smiles

    • Spring Pace 4 years ago

      I like!! Shazam! Smiles, Spring

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      Ben Zoltak 4 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Shazam! That's how Spring Pace does it, well said, and thanks again for your well thought out added input my friend.

      Ben

    • Spring Pace 4 years ago

      Hello Turtle Lover, there are no airborn diseases that a sulcata can give you or your family, the main culprit would be the sulcata poop because even small they do poop a lot and walk through it, it's the trait of a sulcata. Use the fish tank for FISH, not your sulcata, it's one of the worst environs you can put him in, gets way to hot w/ had air circulation, a big cause for concern for upper resp disease, misshapen shells and the body growing faster than the shell. You will need and open tort table like a book case, they need a lot of room. Take out the shelves, waterproof the inside, the best substrate to use in my experience is coconut fiber, it's hypoalergenic and lasts 6months to a year w/ daily cleaning. This is called the substrate and it needs to be kept pretty damp, check by grabbing a handful and squeezing, no water should drip out but it should hold together. This substrate will help tremendously in keeping the humidity levels a sulcata needs 24/7 all year long. Always keep fresh water available, don't put in any rocks or climbables as sulcata love to climb and young ones tip onto their backs easily, that is cause for concern because they struggle moving all over the table and usually end up under the heat lamp...potential disaster, overheating causes all sorts of problems. I have Galileo the sulcata. I got him in 2005, he was the size of the palm of my hand and weighed just under a pound, today he is 18" long, over 12" wide and weighs almost 70 lbs, so they grow fast and continuously. Your inside accommodations will only last at most 3 years, then you have to start thinking about an outside space for him. Daytime inside temps and humidity should be a constant 80-90 degrees w/ 80-90% humidity and night time temps should not go below 70 degrees, so you will need a UV bulb and heat lamp for the day, at night an infrared heat lamp or CHE (ceramic heat emmiter) will do the job. Make sure all heat lamps are well secured and 12-16" above the carapace of the tortoise and the tortoise table is long enough that the tort can move away from the heat if he needs to. On to the food, it would be in the best interest of the tortoise to start getting him on a fiber rich diet, pellets are full of fillers and of really no long sustaining nutritional value. My suggestion would be to use any kind of hay "dust" (never alfalfa though)and sprinkle it over the long greens like kale, dandelion, collard, turnip. Vegies have too much sugar that the kidneys cannot process completely. The only fruits a sulcata can have sparingly (that does not mean once a week, but once a month) is the tuna from the paddle cactus, a little pumpkin, a little watermelon and only when in season because that is when they would eat it in the wild. Sulcata mainly eat weeds and grasses and perfetly happy grazing it w/ only supplementing w/ the long greens 3 times a week, even the greens are rich w/ protein which is another hard to digest food for the tortoise (baby spring greens sold in bags are OK because of the variety in them). I mention long greens because the digestive system of a sulcata is very slow and the long greens help to keep his digetive system running smoothly. They will try to eat rocks and dirt, and a small amount of each helps the digestive system too, limit the amount of rocks for the obvious reason that the rocks can impact him causing problems. Just because sulcata will eat ANYTHING in it's path, doesn't mean it's good for him, no dog or cat food (a favorite for stealing out of the animals bowl). In the wild nature takes care of what a sulcata will eat each season, in captivity, the choices are 1000000000 fold and 99% of those choices are not good for a sulcata. Keep all mammals away from your sulcata, they are predators and the tort WILL be the prey animal. Sulcata will eat their own poop and the mammals, their poop is OK to eat, but not the mammals, these animals are usually treated w/ wormers or flea and tick meds that are lethal to sulcata, it'll take months for the symptoms to appear, like not wanting to eat, sleeping all the time, a general about face of what a healthy sulcata should be acting, by that time it's almost too late to heal and if one does manage to do so, it may take many months to get better and the tort is at risk of dying that whole time. Just because the shells are very hard, they do break and crack, so falling is dangerous from almost any height over 2 feet. I hope I covered the most important things you REALLY NEED TO KNOW. I get notices when there is activity on this site, if you have any more questions, or if I can be of further help, just holler. My main goal is for the health of the tort, not so much for the owner except to give the easiest and best advice that won't fail the tort as I possibley can. Smiles

    • Ben Zoltak profile image
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      Ben Zoltak 4 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Que pasa turtle lover in PR?! I am so sorry that I cannot not help you more in this arena. Any pet (or family member for that matter) could potentially be a vector for disease to other members of your family. I say this as all of our family has retained the flu this week. As for turtles carrying airborne diseases, I think you are in the clear. To be safe, making sure the turtles enclosure or tank is exceptionally maintained would be a benefit. Truthfully, while supervised it would be okay for your daughter to handle the turtle so long as she washed her hands afterwards. Many people have children and chelonian pets side by side successfully.

      Best wishes, I am jealous of your weather!

      Ben

    • Turtle Lover in Puerto Rico 5 years ago

      Hello. Wonderfully written article. I was looking to purchase a turtle for myself and my daughter(4yo) and I had heard they carried dieases so I started researching. I came across your article. Wow. Amazing. You gave me an insight into what to expect. I thank you for that. The turtle I am looking to purchase is a Sulcatta. My friend purchased on from a big chain Petstore and was told hers will grow big. They never once explained anything about heating lights or anything. Just told her to buy special woodchips, pellets, a 10 gallon enclosed tank and that was all. I am now shocked as I know nothing except they are so beautiful. I have all the materials I listed and more. I have no idea what the turtle will need. Does it need water in the tank, etc.!

      My main issue is with the turtle and my daughter. I have said since the beginning that she will NOT be allowed to handle the turtle. I am scared of it giving her any diseases. I know they are warning people about having them as pets. I know my daughter would live just to stare at the tank and for that I am happy because I would want her to appreciate and enjoy their beauty! Can the turtle have any bacteria/disease that can be distributed through the air? I apologize if I sound idiotic but please understand I am new to this. I want my daughter to be safe as well as the little turtle. That is my main concern. She will not handle it so I am happy about not chancing it and her not catching anything. But the quality in the air is what I fear. If she can catch anything that way.

      Again, thank you for an amazing article. Best wishes from me down here in Puerto Rico. I eagerly await your reply. :)

    • Ben Zoltak profile image
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      Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      candleglow, I would seriously consider getting a new home for the terrapins, or maybe buying a strong water filter. I suspect that the worms and flies are attracted to the terrapins fecal matter. Flies are definitely something you don't want to have around sick people as they are vectors for disease. They themselves might not carry anything, but they walk over rotten meat and feces then walk on people food and other things thereby transferring disease.

      A call to a vet may be a good answer here.

      Best of luck,

      Ben

    • candleglow 5 years ago

      I am concerned about my sister who has become ill, also her husband has become ill, and now their daughter is becoming ill.

      My sister's son left to live his own life and left two terrapins in a huge aquairum for his mum and dad to look after.

      We notice one day tiny little filies flying around in the aquarium, hovering above the water, and some where dead floating on the water.

      The aquarium was washed out and fresh water put in. some days later those flies where back, but also noticed tiny like worms on the bottom of the tank. These tiny worms would swim to the surface and back down to the bottom. Also noticed one tiny red spider like insect on the bottom of the tank.

      Stones which the terrapins rest on were removed and the tank washed out again.

      But these things are back in the tank?

      Is this the reason my family are sick?

      The terrapins don't seem unhealthy

      Any advise would be very welcome

    • Spring Pace 5 years ago

      Hi Gaby, is it a sulcata that you have? The kind that grows to over 200 lbs? If that is the kind you have, then you have to make ome major changes in its habitat right away. Salmonella is transferred through feces, with all reptiles, you must make sure to wash your hands after handling your tortoise every time. Very important to keep his habitat as clean as possible on a daily basis. Your tort also needs UV, a regular lamp will not provide that.Torts have the same sleep schedule as you and I do, so a heat lamp at night is necessary when you shut off the bright light. Merry Christmas

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      Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Gaby Rox, I have heard that the Salmonella scare with turtles is much exaggerated, but it is a topic I haven't researched enough to give you good advice on. I have heard a great many conflicting opinions on the subject though, so if you wanted to know the truth, I would look for multiple sources of information.

      Hope that helps, always good to wash your hands frequently anyway to be safe.

      Ben

    • Rachele 5 years ago

      I have a red eared slider it's about 10 to 14 years old it was my cousins and it was the size of a half dollar when she got it. I had it for about 7 years now. It got sick once but I took it to the vet and it's been healthy since. Lately it has gotten pretty big I would say about as big. I love having a turtle even though it hisses at me and tries to bite but they are fascinating

    • GabyRox 5 years ago

      I'm 11 and I have an African spurred tortise. (It looks exactly like the one in the picture) and he/she is doing just fine. It lives in a 5 gallon aquarium and we put a normal light over the aquarium to keep him warm in the winter. I have had him for about 4 months and he is great. He reacts to people touch and he is about 5 months old! How would you know how he got the

      Salmonella Or whatever?

    • Spring Pace 5 years ago

      Hey Ben, I've been known to go to shows and "enlighten" breeders as to how they should "showcase" their animals. Many will use habitats that are inappropriate to the specific animals because of ease of travel or because they are trying to sell supplies, which is OK as long as they don't give the buyer the wrong impression. Visual impact is a mighty and strong method to making a sale, but if the worng message is being sent and the buyer is unaware, not knowing what right questions to ask, the animal is doomed. I got my sulcata in an aquarium because that is how the original owner got him and passed that info onto me. What spurred me into changing was the fact that I didn't even know originally what species he was and the original owner had forgotten and wasn't told that the tortoise would eventually be up to 200 pounds. Imagine my surprise when I went on line looking through hundreds of pics to find someone who looked like my tortoise. My whole world changed! So any new potential owner out there, if there is one question to ask, ask if the habitat you see your tortoise or turtle in is the right one, get specifics, not all chelonia are raised in the same manner, they have specific needs that bottom line cannot be changed. Smiles

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      Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Thanks again Spring Pace for always being on the ball, and for offering your positive suggestions.

      Also to Wottsy, there are many reputable breeders (and a few who are only in it for the money) you can find a great small tortoise and keep it, again be sure it gets all of the care it requires, and make sure do solid research on your specific species.

      Best of luck,

      Ben

    • Wottsy 5 years ago

      This is so sad because I wanted a small tortoise as my own pet!

    • Spring Pace 5 years ago

      Hey Des, part of being a new parent is stress,slowly you'll get the hang of it and luckily if you aren't doing everything wrong your tortoise will survive until you feel your stride. If you really like him, the relationship between you two will be remarkable. Smiles

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      Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Des, you are so lucky! Did you know that Russian tortoises are the coldest latitude tortoise in the world? You have got yourself a real gem. Now, think of the chelonian first. If you returned him, it would only stress the TORTOISE out. It sounds like you've taken care, make sure your Russian has a good heat gradient from cool warm to warm, make sure you've researched their diet, make sure he's got some good substrate and enough room and don't be afraid to keep on reading for more. You obviously got the reptile because you were interested, why not make researching Russians part of the hobby? Learning is fun.

      Best of luck, I'm so jealous, someday I may get one of those awesome tortoises.

      Ben

    • Des 5 years ago

      I just bought a Russian tortoise. I really love him and he is a really cool animal. I've been wanting him for a really long time and finally got him all set up. Now I've been really stressed to take care of him. I want him to be happy and I'm afraid I'm stressing myself in the process. Should I return him? I feel like I don't want to give him back but all the stress is taking hold of me.

    • Ben Zoltak profile image
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      Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Great addition and support Spring Pace, thanks for your expertise. I've had several (and lost more than one) chelonian to infection.

      Ben

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      Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Thank you Amay for your kind compliment and for sharing your life experience with turtles and tortoises.

      Ben

    • Spring Pace 5 years ago

      Hi Sheetal, tortoises are solitary creatures, sometimes they do well together, most times in captivity they do not, if they are breeders, you will really need a lot, a lot, and I stress a lot of room for them during the process and still there may be some bloodshed, otherwise separation for the sake of the preservation of the torts is a must. Bites are nasty and cause serious infections. Usually infections take time to develop and in torts by that time an resp infection can develop and those are very hard to cure. It's better for the torts to be separated no matter what you might think, it's the nature of the reptile.

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      Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      SHEETAL SHETTY, you are very lucky to have a star tortoise, one of the most beautiful and more rare tortoises of the world, I wish that someday I might be able to get a pair myself. Positively they should be separated. The "box" you describe, I hope it's large. At a minimum I suspect you need at least 6 square feet per tortoise, plus a good UV light and heat light for them, plus good substrate. Do your research! There is a plethora of information here on the web about Star Tortoises, start reading!

      Best,

      Ben

    • Amay 5 years ago

      Whoa ! great insight...my parents never believed in owning a pet and always discouraged me. I'm glad I could find your hub discouraging me to buy pets...I would help them as I always had to protect from my evil neighbours but not buy them as pet...they need their air and their way to live long in life...not in captivity. Thanks Ben...you write well and It easily shows that you've read a good amount as well

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      Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      I agree Hike Guy, and truly there are so many turtles and tortoises now in captivity that they don't need to be taken out of the wild for breeding programs.

      Thank you for your comment.

      Ben

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      Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Rosa Praleya! What an eloquent name, your parents must be bright. Don't be afraid to buy a turtle or tortoise! By all means, just make sure you have all that your specific species needs. Don't just buy one and throw it in a ten gallon torture tank! (Well, a few tiny hatchlings could spend some months in there, easier to control the humidity and temperature) but soon they will need more space. Be sure to give them a good diet, I've heard great things about Mazuri reptile pellets but chelonians thrive on different fresh foods specific again to the species type, though the pellets may give a much needed consistency in vitamins. There's much to know, research, build a great enclosure then find a breeder who doesn't sell wild caught specimens if it is legal in your area.

      Best of luck,

      Ben

    • HikeGuy profile image

      Bryce 5 years ago from Northern California Coast

      Glad to see this here. Your personal experience and knowledge added a lot to this article. It's sad that the pet trade removes these amazing creatures from their habitats. I hope people read this and give a lot of thought before acquiring a turtle -- or any pet.

    • Ben Zoltak profile image
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      Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Thanks Dave, Cor and Spring Pace for your comments. Again, if there's "bad advice" on here, let me know specifically of that which you speak, or we can't learn how to be better stewards to Chelonians.

    • Rosa Praleya 5 years ago

      I wanted a pet turtle for my 14 birthday(4 years ago),i asked my mom again about a month ago,she said yes.Now,that I found this page,I know I have to tell my mom one thing,NO!

    • Dave 5 years ago

      those 10 reasons arent good enough to say to people not to buy them, thoses reasons are for people who didn't do the research. Bad advice good talking point tho

    • Dave 5 years ago

      ive owned leopard tortoise for ten years and havnt had a problem with them

    • cor 5 years ago

      wow that was great writing and I sure agree having a tortise is a lot of work

    • Spring Pace 5 years ago

      Telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth also applies to the laws of nature too. Smiles

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      Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Hallelujah Spring Pace and Pankaj! Here's to a lack of sanctimony in animal husbandry and an inherent love of nature and her forgiveness!

      Ben

    • Spring Pace 5 years ago

      Let the breeders complain, I think, no I know that even 1 more breeder who gives out a pertinent care sheet to a specific species a lot more lives would not just be lived but thrive. Turnover is not the answer to success people!

    • Ben Zoltak profile image
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      Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Thanks everyone for the great comments. I have again received some negative feedback from someone who makes money from breeding chelonians who said much of my advice was bad, but they failed to specify what they meant. Again, I am no turtle expert, and I don't apologize for making people who make money off of turtles angry. If anyone knows of husbandry mistakes that I offer anywhere on here please let me know and I will edit immediately.

      Warm regards for turtles and tortoise alike,

      Ben Zoltak

    • Lauren 5 years ago

      No! I mean thank you? Haha...my son 5 wants a turtle for Christmas. I explained we must fully research first. He loves animals. We have 9 fish, and a red bellied frog now. I am worried about the salmonella issue. No good. I have a perfect spot and a very large tank in mind for two turtles...painted turtles. I so don't want to not get this present for him but now I am wondering if it is a good thing. Hurry, talk me back into getting them for him :-). Thanks for the information...

    • Villy 5 years ago

      Funny, I don't really think most of these are reasons not to own one, just things to look out for. My mother somehow managed to keep a box turtle alive for many years feeding him nothing but lettuce, and his "enclosure" was a laundry basket. If that is what one sees as "proper care" then they shouldn't own a turtle or tortoise. But if you make the commitment, do your homework, and are vigilant, they really aren't hard pets to keep. My redfoot is a happy, healthy, feisty little bugger. He is my first tortoise, so it's been a little bit of trial and error, but they are a hardy species. People simply need to do their research BEFORE they get one as a pet, so they don't find themselves in over their heads. However, I would say the same about owning ANY animal, even a cat or dog if you've never had one before.

    • Kiny 5 years ago

      Thanks for this post. I was remembering my sweet childhood in Paraguay when my father brought three little turtles their workers found in the woods. Two Red-footed and one I don't know the kind. They were small, in fact one of them was so small that if you squeezed her you could feel the softness in the shell. I was 12 years old, my parents, my two brothers and I didn't know anything about taking care of turtles. We found out they loved to get near the sprinklers so each morning we took them outside to my super big garden and they enjoyed the walks. One of them disappeared in the winter :( we never knew what happened to Carusso :( the small one was eaten by a cat and Manuela the other Red-foot died 4 years later with something stuck in her throat. Right now I was considering getting one for my nephew but I wanted to do some research first and I agree with your post. Thank you, it made me remember that they belong to their habitat and it is really difficult to give them a happy life in our homes. Let's stick to adopting homeless dogs and cats and leave the other animals where they belong.

    • thomas 5 years ago

      hea ben i like the hub, i have recently been give 2 yellow belly and 1 red eared terrapin, they are 9 weeeks old and i was gave them because the owner didn't want them animore .

      they have a basking area and light in their tank, they also have a heater and water filter. i feed them dayly but im not 100% sure if im looking after them right could u please give me some advice?

    • Spring Pace 5 years ago

      I have a sulcata, some think he's a lonely guy because he's an only child. You would be surprised as to how he keeps himself occupied. Moving chairs, kicking balls, trying to get to the other side of the fence are just a few things he does on a daily basis. He loves to pick out choice grasses and peer through the window to see if maybe I'll be coming out soon to either give him a treat or spray him w/ the hose. You should see how he stretches his head out and trucks over to me when he hears the door open. My guy isn't lonely or sad, he has what he needs at all times and that's plenty for a reptile. When I see him doing tortoise things, I know he is healthy, for a reptile it's as simple as that. Smiles

    • Spring Pace 5 years ago

      Ranji from 2 weeks ago, your turtle is a mud or musk turtle species. I'd start looking closely at lots of pictures in that category so you can get better information feeding himand find out exactly what you are caring for. Rice crispies is NOT food for a turtle, the pellets are OK, but he does need live food, water to swim in, a beach to rest on and UV lighting to keep him healthy. Good luck to you, smiles

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      Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Thanks Spring Pace great advice for GJg!

      Thanks theturtlelovagal, funny how only turtle/tortoise people know about the playful side of a chelonian.

    • theturtlelovagal 5 years ago

      I currently own 2 tortoises. They are very healthy and vibrant creatures. Not to mention playful. I love tortoises and all but i do understand. You must really commit urself 2 this.

    • Spring Pace 5 years ago

      Not only reading more Sam, but joining a chat group specific to your animal, so much isn't said in books, being able to talk to someone with experience is priceless. i had a guy ask a question on line and I knew he was in trouble so I gave him my phone number. We were on the phone 45 min which is probably equivalent to 4 days worth of e-mails. He was able to clear up lots of his questions with my help, making him feel more confident in caring for the animal. Basics just aren't as obvious with reptiles as with warm blooded animals. Smiles

    • Spring 5 years ago

      GJg, is it a land or water turtle? helps to know what kind of turtle you have. The differences being that it is shedding or it could be dehydrated. Shedding is normal, dehydration is deadly, so tell us mor so we can be more specific in helping you

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      Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      GJg, is it debilitating the turtle? Is it hindering it in anyway or is the turtle behaving differently? I could be skin as reptiles shed skin which will eventually fall off. Or it could be a kind of fungus and they may sell something at a pet store or online to remedy that but be careful fungicides can be dangerous. If it is really harming your turtle I'd take him into the vet pronto.

      Hope that helps keep a close eye on him.

      Ben

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      Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Yeah Sam it's true, it is sad and I actually don't own any tortoise or turtles right now, I wish I did but I don't have adequate space for a good enclosure and proper care. Maybe someday in the future.

      Thanks for understanding

      Ben

    • sam 5 years ago

      i understand we all learn from experience but no offense that just seems a little to many to perish. You are prob a more cautious turtle/ tortoise owner now but i see you point about needing to read more information before you purchase one.

    • Ben Zoltak profile image
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      Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Thanks Amoitilia, 555bts, and Emmu for your comments. Yes Amoitilia, it does get exhausting sometimes! But it is good to be loved, whether an animal or a human! Thanks for the additional details and anecdotes everyone.

      Ben

    • Amoitilia 5 years ago

      Loved your educational and heartfelt article. Thank you for bearing your soul so we may be more aware! I'm an animal lover and have refused for our family to have a fish tank because when my husband had it before he said it's common that the fish die. That would be too painful for me. We've had dogs, now have 1 after losing our sweet boxer a year and a half ago ( over whom I still grieve at times). Now our 9 year old wants a tortoise also. Yours was the 1st article that really explained things clearly. I'm nervous about how our dog will react (maybe want to eat it), and whether we'll be able to do everything needed. I appreciate you helping the animals with your article! Your love of them shines through.

      Also, I think it's alright if you don't answer every post. I imagine it gets super exhausting!

      Peace.

    • 555bts 5 years ago

      I've kept turtles for years, box, RES, and now a Red Footed Tortoise. I had the 3 toed box turtles for 12 years before putting them up for adoption. I must have had the environment right for the Red eared sliders, because they grew at an alarming rate. I could not keep up with aquarium upgrades. The pair ended up with the lady from the pet store. (the RES were given to us by someone unable to care for them)

      Now I've got a Red Footed tortoise (aptly named "Red") I hope to have good luck with him as well. He spends the summer outside roaming my fenced in yard (are dogs love him as do our cats). This will be the first winter I have him, and I have built a table for him. It is not as big as it should be, however, we take him out and let him roam the first floor of the house often.

    • Emmu 5 years ago

      Dangit, obviously I meant "pet populations" not "pelt populations." what a horrifying thought!

    • Emmu 5 years ago

      I feel the need to weigh in in regards to the pelt population vs wild population of Russian tortoises. As Russians are becoming a more popular pet in the US, there are MANY mre captive breeders. Many of them are knowledgable reptile keepers who breed healthy animals, and these tortoises do not make a dent in the wild population! I highly encourage anyone looking to get a Russian tortoise to have a look at russiantortoise.org to get a fairly comprehensible guide to caring for a Russian, indoors or out.

      I recently purchased a hatchling Russian from tortoisesupply.com; a well-rooted reptile breeder in Arizona who is doing much to increase the availability of captive bred tortoises on the market. They do ship their animals with priority overnight shipping, but it seems they have had no complaints and I know when Pistachio arrived I gave him a quick soak and he was lively and eating lettuce within 10 minutes.

      Russians really can make a great starting tortoise: IF you've done your research and IF you're ready to put in the time, money and dedication it requires. They make rewarding and fascinating companions.

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      Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Thanks for your comment Shanmuganathan I think turtles are only good in the home if you have a substantial enclosure for them.

      Ben

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      Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Pintu is a great name i ranjithkumar! Hey man my guess is maybe the Indian flap-shell turtle, Asiatic softshell turtle or the Chinese softshell. These are only guesses, especially if the turtle is from Indo-China area. They are omnivores, and so will eat almost anything, fresh fruits and vegetables are good, along with some meat, they eat live fish from what I hear. If he has three claws on each foot he might be a flap-shell that is especially rare, be extra careful if it is CITES protected. Find out how rare it is, if it should be bred, how it should be kept...do some more research!

      Best of luck,

      Ben Zoltak

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      Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      That's an interesting take PADDYBOY! We don't have too many around here, mostly snappers and painters. If I had a better property for harboring turtles temporarily I'd go for it like you say. I like your experience and thanks for being kind about my mistakes. I'd be interested in the connections of a Snake spirit animal, I'll have to look to see if you have a hub on it.

      Ben

      Ben

    • Kelly 5 years ago

      Another thing to note: NOT a good starter pet for children. I honestly wish someone had discouraged my mom. I have always loved turtles, so my mom tried to give me one as a pet when i was FOUR. I don't remember any of this, but apparently I went through almost 10 before she decided to stop replacing them.

      #1 - Obsessed with Ninja Turtles, I had placed textbooks on it's back

      #2 - Bubble Bath

      #3 - Backyard in WINTER

      #4 - Lost in house

      #5 - Cleaned tank with chemicals...

      #6 - Forgot to Feed

      #7 - Fed too much

      #8 - Lost in house AGAIN

      #9 - Backyard in Spring (Canada, mostly warm...)

      #10 - Fed chocolate

      When my mom told me about the turtle fiasco was I was a child, too young to even remember, I was very disturbed. I now live on my own, with my boyfriend, and had been doing a LOT of research about getting a turtle when she told me this. While I know I wouldn't make these mistakes now, and have planned a larger sized aquarium for a red-eared slider, I still feel like I don't deserve another turtle after the cruel fate that had awaited the ones when I was only 4.

      So please don't buy them for kids too young to understand what they need, even if you think it would make them happy, wait til they're older, or take them to "visit" some, don't trust them to look after a complicated pet without any knowledge of it.

    • Shanmuganathan 5 years ago

      Is it good to have Turtile in home, many of them saying. This animal is not good to maintain in home like fishes. So share your suggestions.

      Thank you.

    • i ranjithkumar profile image

      i ranjithkumar 5 years ago from Anand, Gujarat

      Hi.

      I have brought home a turtle (i think he is not tortoise) about a week ago. I named him pintu. I don’t know which type he belongs to. I have been feeding him puffed rice and fish food pellets as I didn’t get turtle food here now. I have ordered for turtle food and will be getting it soon. I have read your article so late or else I would have changed my idea of keeping turtle as my pet. I noticed your article only when I was trying to find out the right food to feed my turtle. There is a story behind selecting a turtle as my pet, in my childhood I had dogs, fishes etc as my pet which didn’t live long and it made me cry for long when they die. When I was in college one Bhutanese guy told me that turtle live for more than hundred years. But after reading your article I’m scared. Please help me making him live longer, I need him live at least as long as I live because I cannot tolerate any more loss. Please help me by telling about his type, character, habitat and food. I don’t know which type he belongs to/ please help me,

      His pictures are in the below address.. I have no knowledge about the hub pages. I came to see about the turtle info only. So please see them and give me your valuable suggestion.

      http://purelyloneliness.blogspot.com/

      Thank you so much,

      Ranjith kumar inbasekaran

    • PADDYBOY60 profile image

      PADDYBOY60 5 years ago from Centreville Michigan

      My spirit animal is the snake. But I love all nature. Turtles are my favorite reptile. I catch them, study and feed them for a few days, then release them back in the exact spot where I caught them. I do not catch the ones that are protected. I just observe them in the wild. People that know me are always bringing me injured turtles to care for. Some of them I can save, but sadly, some I can't. I enjoyed reading your hub, because you were honest about your mistakes, and trying to keep others from doing the same. I can see that you love turtles as much as I do. Try this next summer. Instead of trying to keep one for a pet, go out and catch one. Keep it for a couple of days. Learn what they eat, feed them observe them, then release it where you caught it, and catch another one. Before long you will realize that you have started a great hobby, and you will be surprised how much you will learn. That way you will still enjoy having turtles. Make sure that you check your state laws on which turtles are protected, because you can get in a lot of trouble if you have one in your possession.

    • Ben Zoltak profile image
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      Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Jason my man sounds like you need to take that leopard to the vet. I had a baby leopard, took it to the vet because "he looked like he was sleeping like he was dead" they gave him a vitamin shot and he did real well for another few weeks, but I had him in an enclosure that wasn't warm enough, it was too close to a window, and when they are hatchlings especially (I don't know if yours is) you have to make sure they have the correct humidity. The poor creature died about a month later. When they are very small they need to be kept in a tank. Take him to the vet bud before it's too late, call ahead and make sure you find one that is knowledgeable about reptiles. I lived in Milwaukee at the time I went and if memory serves it cost me 40 or $50.

      Take care, you can find lots of information on the web about lethargic tortoises and leopard tortoises too.

      Ben

    • Jason 5 years ago

      I have a leapard tortise . I don't think he is helthy. When I looked at him he was sleaping like he was dead. I want to know if he is healthy.

    • Ben Zoltak profile image
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      Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      I love stories such as yours Imas. I have to know what kind of species he is? I am shocked you use baby oil on him! I've heard any sort of oil is bad for a tortoise turtle because they "breathe" out of the their skin and shell. On the other hand it sounds as though your family has been doing well with him all these years so far be it for me to meddle with what works for you.

      That is a key element of owning a tortoise, realizing they may live longer than you! Sounds like you are excited to possibly be his new steward, or would he be yours?!

      Thanks again for the wonderful anecdote.

      Ben

    • Imas 5 years ago

      I don't pretend to know a lot about reptiles in general, but I think we may have been very lucky with our tortoise after reading this.

      He's a minimum of 35 years old - we found him 35 years ago, already fully grown, and as there are no wild tortoises in our country, we decided he was an escapee pet (they were popular at the time). He has always lived outside in the garden, with the local cats and ravens and hawks. During the winter, he hibernates, so we stick him in a box of straw in the shed, then give him a quick bath and baby-oil when he wakes up again.

      He's escaped from us a few times, but always ends up back in the back garden when someone brings him home. He;s only been checked by the vets once, and that was 35 years ago when my grandmother decided she wanted to know what gender he was.

      I am the first person in the family to look up anything about his requirements, and I'm nineteen. Nothing I discovered has been implemented, because he just wasn't interested. Just pottered back off to his usual box in the corner to sleep.

      We're fully expectant every spring that he won't be with us any more when we get him out of the shed, but he's always been alright so far, and usually ravenous!

      Gotta love him, which is handy, because there is every chance he could outlive his current owners and end up in my possession!

    • Spring Pace 5 years ago

      Thanks for the welcome Ben, I use vinegar to clean my humidifier filter, it's a great organic cleaner, no lasting residue just gotta get past the initial smell, but that doesn't last long at all thankfully, LOL

    • Ben Zoltak profile image
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      Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Amen to preserving the filter! For that matter, using vinegar would probably be the best way to (organically speaking) not put toxins in the torts or turts (to use your words ;o) environment.

      Thanks for the follow up Spring Pace you're always welcome here on my hubpages articles.

      Best,

      Ben

    • Spring Pace 5 years ago

      Have to clarify, I messed up, the bjoyner comment you just responded to is actually from me Ben, I got confused when I was responding to bjoyners comment. Doesn't matter though, cleaning the tank partially is good practice and much safer for the animal than trying to get the balances right with a full clean, it also preserves the life of the filter. Smiles

    • Ben Zoltak profile image
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      Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Sage advice bjoyner thanks for the follow up! I agree! In nature most bodies of water get circulated more quickly than a small bowl in someones apartment!

      Cheers!

      Ben

    • Spring Pace 5 years ago

      Experienced keepers make it look easy, availability makes it hard to resist getting a cutie pie as small as a quarter. It's no wonder there are so many torts and turts in jeopardy. My main goal is to reach as many people as possible who admire our shelled friends thinking it's a breeze because they are so sturdy looking and can withstand so much. Truth be told, they can but there is no good reason for it because they do suffer the consequences as the years pile up and like with any animal the longer they are sick, the longer it takes to get them back to health and our shelled warriors insides are no different than ours. Their hearts, lungs and other organs are just as fragile as ours and should be protected from the uninformed and enthusiatic newbies. Smiles

    • Ben Zoltak profile image
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      Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Springpace! Thank you for the many comments, advice, and props on your Facebook page. I really do appreciate you lending your personal experience. I like when you said,

      "Raising a smaller species is only marginally easier, most are escape artists and tenacious about it."

      I have encountered several escape artists, and heard many stories of people who have lost the care, or ability to tend to a very large tortoise such as the sulcatta.

      Thanks again, sounds like California is a good place for tortoises!

      Ben

    • bjoyner81 5 years ago

      I'd suggest you partially change the water 2x a week to help keep the water cleaner, maintain the balance and give the filter a fighting chance. Smiles

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      Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      bjoyner81 , sounds like Shelby has found a wonderful owner. From what you've described I think you will do well with your RES. They are one of the toughest turtles around. As a point, I would incline you to change the water frequently, weather you filter it (hopefully at least a basic carbon filter) or not. It will be good for both you and your new reptilian friend.

      Mazel tov

      Ben

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      Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Melissa, I've been giving your predicament a lot of thought. To weigh in my opinion (and it might be a good idea to ask a local DNR person too) but I would say, if you have only had the boxie for a few days, I think it would still be alright to release him. The wilder area the better. My uncle lives in a very residential part of Maryland and he says he sees one every few years which amazes me in that I don't know how they avoid the lawnmowers though I'm glad they do. You might consider googling your area to see if there is a nature reserve nearby.

      Best of luck, and thanks for thinking of the tortoises' welfare.

      Ben

    • Ben Zoltak profile image
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      Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Siu Wai Stroshane , sounds like your Russian has been on quite an adventure! Good on your for finding a good home for the little tank. As I mentioned above in another response, Russian tortoise are quickly losing ground in their home range, much like the box turtle here in the U.S., so the more help they can receive to stay alive the better.

      Warm regards,

      Ben

    • Spring Pace profile image

      Spring Pace 5 years ago

      I was amazed the first time I saw a 12" RES, I had no idea they got so large. Until that point, I'd only apparently seen juveniles or sub adults thinking they were full grown! I'm currently raising a sulcata, I met him when he was the size of a silver dollar, he came to live with me a couple years later the size of the palm of my hand and still I didn't realize how much bigger he would get, it just didn't register at the time. Now I appreciate that fact and stress always to anyone who visits and says "I want one" that my guy is only about 1/2 the size he is eventually going to be and if you don't have the space now for a 150-200 lb tort now and extra monies for fencing, vet bills and feed plus the fact that they can be very destructive just by walking around or doing tortoise things like digging and rearranging the yard plants, this is not the pet to have no matter how cool he looks. Raising a smaller species is only marginally easier, most are escape artists and tenacious about it. All reptiles need lots of sunshine and water and even if they don't eat every day out in the wild because of weather conditions and food source doesn't mean they don't want to eat. They have learned to adapt to their environs to survive another season, it's quite remarkable. I believe once we've taken on the responsibilities of caring and raising for a reptile, it's our duty to be the best care takers we can possibly be by going beyond what the books say. Even in hibernation, tortoises and turtles need to be supervised, temperatures checked and adjusted and above all making sure our friends are healthy enough to do so in the first place. Many do not survive hibernation in captivity. Even though Galileo, my sulcata is not a hibernator, he does slow down considerably during the winter months here in Southern California. My main job during that period is making sure he has plenty of warmth,UV and humidity during his inactivity. Signs should be posted over the cages of all reptiles. "These animals will live almost 100 years in captivity. Be prepared to put it in your will!"

    • Spring Pace profile image

      Spring Pace 5 years ago

      Yeah Ben he grew fast, I actually had to move because of him, our first yard got too small with no chance for expansion. Now he has about 900 sq. ft to roam around in and he uses every inch of it. Smiles

    • Spring Pace profile image

      Spring Pace 5 years ago

      Gotta keep those hands washed in between working with different species and I also learned recently that if you have chickens to care for, look after them AFTER taking care of the big torts outside, you don't want to track chicken poop into the tort pens because of the salmonella.

    • Ben Zoltak profile image
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      Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      I hear you loud and clear Taylor though there is one issue that you left unaddressed in regards to recommending a species, that being their wild population. The Horsfields or Russian tortoise is "vulnerable" in it's rating as it has felt major habitat loss, whereas the red eared slider has actually gained habitat by invading all over the world. I hear you loud and clear about the "ten gallon torture tank" and your point about the "bioload" that needs to be regulated is some great advice. If you can show me another species that is easy to take care of, and whose wild population isn't in danger of being exterminated I would get rid of the RES reference, but as it stands I want to point people to a population that isn't in danger of extinction. I will gladly add your suggestion though ( I have many people suggesting edits to this article on a regular basis, along with a fair amount of insults about my mistakes) your critique though, was from the heart and deserves to be honored.

      Warm regards,

      Ben

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      Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Thank you Leann! I suspected as much, but I guess I wanted to mention that they carry a reptile version of herpes (some of them as you say) to point out that they are capable of carrying such diseases. Glad though, once again to hear that TURTLES/TORTOISES DO NOT CARRY A VERSION OF HERPES THAT IS TRANSMITTABLE TO HUMANS!

      Thanks for setting the record straight miss.

      Ben

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      Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Spring Pace, a 60 pounder! ...and probably still growing I imagine! Sounds like a fun handful to be sure. Your story is the reason I have decided to wait until I own property before buying another large tortoise, they need some serious space. At a Chicago pet store I used to go to they originally had their sulcattas in a tiny enclosure that they eventually widened to over 100 square feet or so...

      Cheers

      Ben

    • Spring Pace profile image

      Spring Pace 5 years ago

      Thanks Ben, I've been sharing your post on my FB page, there's been a good response and I'm hoping that lots of peole thinking about getting a shelled warrior reads it first. Smiles

    • Ben Zoltak profile image
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      Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Wow Olivia you are one lucky girl a turtle, fishes, a dog and was it a parrot? WOW! Sounds like a little ark. Make sure you have your parents take good care of them with you and have fun!

      Ben

    • Spring Pace profile image

      Spring Pace 5 years ago

      Hi Ben, it looks so darn easy when you see someone who has a chelonian to raise and has had it a long time. I went by Galileo's previous owner, boy was it wrong! I reposted your article on my FB page 4 weeks ago and it's still getting comments. It's a good article from the POV of what every owner whether experienced or not should be reminded of on a regular basis and I'll keep refreshing it in hopes that it reaches even more people around the world. Galileo is a great guy. Lots of positive reinforcement still happens between us. I do know that if I ever decide that if another shelled species ever comes my way, I'd have to start learning all over again. Smiles

    • Ben Zoltak profile image
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      Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Springpace thank you for your endearing testimony. I love the name Galileo for your tortoise. Sulcatta owners definitely face their own set of challenges handling those big brutes! Keep up the good work, it sounds like he has a wonderful home.

      Best,

      Ben

    • bjoyner81 5 years ago

      Thnx for this post. Wish i had read this before purchasing my turtle on a beach trip. i just rcently bought a red ear slider and taking the advice from the novalty shop you buy a half gal tank ,a few pellets, and a palm tree and your set. Wrong!!!!! I have been for the past week researching what a turtle needs Habitate,diet,temp,and lighting and have found my self hundreds of dollars in this animal. I have recently bought an adiquate sized aquarium (10 Gal per inch of tutle),UVB light,krill,shrimp,crickets,pellets,fresh veg,heat light ,water heater,plants,and more. I read and look at documents and videos on youtube and have entered a whole world of info about these creatures. I am doing everything possible to give this little girl the best of everything but there is always that possibility knowing now what i didn't then that it may not be enough. I am enjoying watching her (Shelby) Bask in her uv light and swim around her tank. They are awesome. Thnx for writing this article for it came up on my searches for turtles.

    • Melissa 5 years ago

      My son came home with a box turtle from Pliladelphia. I dont know if i should let it free.. I live on the Rehoboth Bay and near alot of trees and woods...

    • Siu Wai Stroshane 5 years ago

      Great article!, entertaining and educational! I've lost three sliders and inherited a beautiful Russian tort who spent nine years confined like a political prisoner in a small terrarium. No wonder he spent all day banging his head against the wall! Fortunately I found some wonderful owners who could provide a spacious yard, fresh air and the right diet. As you pointed out, tortoises and turtles are NOT toys, they are living breathing creatures who need proper care and husbandry.

    • Taylor 5 years ago

      Nice article. It makes a few great points. I have to agree whole heartedly on the space thing--even with something like a Russian tortoise, among the smallest, easiest care tortoises in captivity, you need something along the lines of 6x2 ft for the tortoise to thrive (with bigger always, always being better!).

      I think the one thing I'll have to respectfully disagree on is your comment toward the end of the article, stating "If you must buy one, don't be afraid to buy a red eared slider as they are one of the easiest to take care of..." Though RES are tough little snots and great turtles, they are by far not the easiest to take care of. I've found my Russian tortoises to be infinitely easier than my one 4" juvenile Red Ear Slider, and he's not even full grown! The thing about aquatic turtles that make them consistently tougher than any land-dwelling turtle or tortoise I've kept and/or cared for is the fact that you're not just taking care of a reptile, who still has all the complications of "Are the temperatures right? Is the space big enough? Am I feeding the right foods?" but also all the complications of keeping a large fish tank with a very heavy bioload--"Is the filtration strong enough? Are the ammonia/nitrates/nitrites all at safe levels? Is that algae bloom getting under control?" Making them, at least in my honest opinion, three times as difficult as the average land-dwelling chelonian. The adult size of a Red Eared Slider is by no means helpful--6-8" for a male, up to 1 full foot for a female. And if you set up a proper environment, that means you're not only maintaining a reptile, but a 75-120 gallon (or LARGER) aquarium, as well! Few people are genuinely prepared for this--to be honest, even fewer people are capable of this responsibility than are capable of caring for a relatively simple small- to mid-sized tortoise.

      Your article is well-written, well-intentioned, and makes many wonderful points. I do make one humble request, though: That you change the above quoted sentence, and remove your recommendation of arguably the toughest to care for "common" turtle or tortoise on the market. Red ear sliders have it tough enough already, with people keeping them in 10 gallon tanks their whole lives, or only feeding them once a week, or never giving them light, or dumping them on the side of the road when they find out they'd been lied to when told "They won't get bigger than 2 or 3 inches!", only to be attacked by a dog (like one brought into the store I work at earlier this week) or run over by a car--or all of the above combined into one awful series of events.

      If you must make a species recommendation, it would behoove you to steer more toward something like a Russian tortoise. Though they still aren't the most simple pet to take care of and still have significant space requirements for their relatively small (4-8" average adult) size, they are still arguably the single hardiest turtle or tortoise species on the market, and, IMO, among the easiest Chelonians to take care of.

    • Leann 5 years ago

      Turtles have a unique form of herpes virus that is not transmittable to humans. Not all turtles are infected with it.

      Human herpes viruses are not transmittable to turtles.

    • Spring Pace profile image

      Spring Pace 5 years ago

      I absolutely agree with you Ben, I struggled with getting things right with my sulcata. it was tough in the beginning having to crash course AFTER he came to me. Luckily I was able to pull it off, the 1 pounder I received in 05 is now a whopping 60+ pounds and thriving. Smiles

    • Spring Pace profile image

      Spring Pace 5 years ago

      Good article Ben, I got my sulcata by accident, I met him when he was a silver dollar and he finally came to live with me when palm sized and deathly ill, his clutchmate has died recently. I went into full crash course mode, joined chats, figured out what species he was and researched like crazy while he was in the hospital for 9 days trying to stay alive. He came home, actually looking worse than better, but the URD was under control, stress was still life threatening though. It took me months to get him to eat a little more every day, he took warm baths daily, our yard was pitiful but we did the best we could, I grew grasses in little containers, watched the petunias being pulled up 2 seconds after I planted them and he got stronger and stronger, he gained a whole pound our first year together. I got better at the yard work, and Galileo really started to look like he was finally thriving in captivity, 2nd year he gained 2 pounds, 3rd year he gained almost 5 pounds and the last 3 years, we got a much bigger yard and his weight gain has been closer to 15 pounds per year. He's been a great part in my life, but it wouldn't have happened if I took the easier road, by not giving this maginficent beast the respect he deserves. Thanks again for your straight forward approach, dinosaurs like Galileo wish there were more breeders and store owners who thought more about the animal than profit. Smiles

    • Ben Zoltak profile image
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      Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Melissa, transmit I'm not sure, but carry, yes. I don't know if it's the same type or not (as in feline HIV versus human) and non-transmittable or if there exchanged say through fluid. Either way I'm careful when handling for that or other unknown disease.

      If you find more let me know and I'll make and edit!

      Cheers

      Ben

    • Ben Zoltak profile image
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      Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Thanks Alladream, they are independent in their own way, I see that, thanks for your insight.

      Cheers man,

      Ben

    • Melissa A Smith profile image

      Melissa A Smith 5 years ago from New York

      Interesting...can turtles really transmit the herpes virus?

    • Alladream74 profile image

      Victor Mavedzenge 5 years ago from Oakland, California

      Interesting points Ben.I have always wondered how people take care of such a pet given that it is very independent.

    • Ben Zoltak profile image
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      Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      I love it Not Buying It. I am close to buying my first house and maybe, after many years without, of getting another turtle and / or tortoise.

      Thanks for the advocacy of sulcattas, they're tough little buggers! I heard of one surviving over winter in the midwest here once!

      Ben

    • Not Buying It 5 years ago

      I have a Sulcata, he's 5 years old, very healthy, very happy, and he's the most low maintenance pet I've ever head!

      Waaaay more low maintenance than a dog or cat!

    • Ben Zoltak profile image
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      Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Thanks Chloe. It's been a trying time fielding the different responses to this article! I get scolded and scalded! Glad to hear I opened your eyes to the challenges. People interested in selling you turtles and/or supplies and the will tell you it's very easy to care for chelonians but there is a lot more to it if you want the creature to be happy and healthy.

      Glad we share the same spirit animal. Turtles and tortoises are keystone species in many environments and they need good stewards both as pets and as wild animals.

      Best,

      Ben

    • Chloe 5 years ago

      I just wanted to say that I'm grateful to have found this article and thank you for writing. I have always been drawn to turtles. One could say they are my spirit animal. I would love to own one and am seriously considering getting one....at some point. You really opened my eyes to some important things to consider here. As much as I would love to care for a turtle friend of my own, I also would be devastated to fail/hurt/kill one. I will be doing a lot more research and if/when I feel I can support/raise a turtle successfully...I'll do some MORE research and then begin to seriously consider it.

    • Ben Zoltak profile image
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      Ben Zoltak 6 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Fatima, I don't want to hinder you from purchasing a turtle or tortoise. I just want you to prepare for it well, they are more difficult to care for then some would have you believe! If you do, I hope you find yours to be the Great Spirit animal that I believe them to be.

      Best of luck,

      Ben

    • Tay 6 years ago

      Personally all that is aload of cods wally.

      One who would ever let a tortoise or exotic animal run free the house i dont know. thats bad from the start. As regards dogs and cats - that is down to the dog and cat itself. I had 2 tortoises, sadly rehomed due to moving property...my cats were fine...they just walked away or jumped high where the tortoises couldn't reach. The dogs were great to, they just had a sniff and buggered into the yard or another room. Not ALL animals are dangerous with tortoises or other exotic animals.

      a pet is not a pet...they are animals, friends, companions. Tortoises included. However, never hug or cuddle them! one turning them up straight could scare them...and then you've got the problem of they do carry diseases and pathogens only fine to be mixed with their own species...not others. its always best to wash handds have handling them. Tortoises shouldn't really be cuddled anyway.

    • Fatima Taseer profile image

      Fatima Taseer 6 years ago

      You really changed my mind. i was thinking to keep one turtle as a pet as i always wanted to keep a pet turtle since my childhood but never had a chance to buy one. now i am thinking to forget this idea of keeping a pet turtle.

    • Ben Zoltak profile image
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      Ben Zoltak 6 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Well Wednesday Taylor, my wife and I just read your letter and I must say, you have quite a way with words. In four years when you're 18 you'll have to come back and write for hubpages!

      As for your turtle, I suspect you might be in the UK? If so, just be sure that the new member of the family will be warm outside! If it gets colder than his species can handle, remember he will probably need to be brought indoors. If you are to hibernate him he will need a very specific type of environment and protection from predators. If it doesn't get too cold in your neck of the woods, but some, don't forget they do sell heater pads that will work to some degree, but not to an extreme. If it snows, they need to be inside.

      I also see animals as friends. As long as you don't carry your pet turtle into the grocery store and ask his opinion on food items while you are there, I think you are in the clear! Animals can sense just the way we do. They feel pain, they feel kindness and they are aware.

      Good for you for being a friend to animals, they need us!

      Ben

    • Wednesday Taylor 6 years ago

      Okay, well, I once had a turtle two or three years ago. I loved him! He did well, however, after a few months, my mother brought an item from the pet store to put in his tank, and the item hadn't been cleaned properly or something, and my turtle (Napoleon) sadly died. I was devestated for a while...

      But! I'm soon going to be getting a turtle again, which I'm very excited about! But firstly, I'm digging a pond outside, and we're making the little guy an enclosure out there. But since it has been a while since I've had a turtle, I'm brushing up on my knowledge about turtles. I love all animals, and I'm absolutely prepared to get another turtle. I know that my mum has successfully raised at least two turtles (The inncident with Napoleon, I really don't know...).

      But, yeah, I didn't realize until I started looking on the internet that so many people thought turtles were easy to care for. I always get prepared for a new pet, like when I was getting my first dog; I ran around getting everything I had read that he needed before I got him! And it's been two years, and my dog, Rex, is a great friend!

      I've never seen animals as pets (Even though I still call them that), but they're more friends. Even when I walk past a horse in a paddock, I wave to it like a human... Is that weird, haha? I've always befriended more animals than humans! Four years ago, when I was ten, I had a fair few animal friends. I still occasionally see them around and say hello :)

      But, anyway, thanks for the info. It was cool. I'm gonna make sure I'm extra careful about looking after my pet turtle!

    • Ben Zoltak profile image
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      Ben Zoltak 6 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Thank you so much Kathy, you're compliment comes at a good time for me, as I have received some acerbic criticism for making these mistakes recently. I guess my point was that I thought I had learned enough for the different situations, partly because of incomplete information from single sources.

      Thanks for the added information about the fiberglass shell repair!

      Ben

    • Kathy 6 years ago

      Ann,

      A lot of vets will use fiberglass to patch the shells. Make sure you have a knowledgeable reptile vet do it, though. I've seen mine repair shells, beaks, and other ailments (none were my turtles, we do reptile rescue)

      Good luck with your little guy.

      Ben,

      That was a well written article. We receive so many turtles (mostly box and sliders) that haven't been cared for properly, or just aren't wanted anymore when they become too much work. I wish people would think before they impulse buy a high maintenance animal, or any animal for that matter.

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      Ben Zoltak 6 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Hi Ann, sorry to hear about the injured box turtle. It sounds like you are already getting veterinary advice, if not I would pursue some. Clearly yours needs some expert medical advice.

      I appreciate your open and truthful account.

      I have seen footage of tortoise shell repair using a type of netting, although I'm not sure what it was made of, possibly plastic or cotton. Also,Vitamin D injections in the correct increment can aid their immune systems.

      I appreciate that you care enough about turtles to admit you don't know everything about them and that you are seeking out advice at multiple venues. No one among us is perfect, although some fools believe they are.

      So get some veterinary council, hit the library, maybe check The Chelonian Trust and Kingsnake.Com they have some information on various species.

      I wish you the best of luck with your box and I hope he comes through.

      Ben

    • Ann  6 years ago

      Hi,

      I run an animal rescue in Mo. I stopped one the hiway yesterday after a truck hit a box turtle. It crushedd its back shell and I really thought it was dead. I went ahead and picked it up and noticed a few minutes later after seeing the blood began to slow down...it was alive. I put it in a little warm water and with hemastats rearranged the shell. I had nothing else to use to hold it, so I used small pieces of duct tape. It seemed to be paralised, however, it can move its back legges. (not walking yet), just dragging, but when I touch the feet it draws them in. Last night, I debreved it with warm water, & it seems to be slowly moving, still catering to its legs in the rear. He can move quite well however with the front. I read that antibiotics are not always the answer, but I have injectibal cephalexan. I just wondered what you feel I should do. I have a little land and a small pond, but wouldn't of course release him, unless he improves. My hope is the shell heals, there is one open place(missing shell) the size of a quarter. He is the size of a womans hand. If you can, just give me some advice. I agree with your article fully, that we help them, then release them...unless we can provide the best. I only adopt out dogs when the perfect setting comes up. They are better off dead than abused or neglected. Thanks ahead for any help!

    • Listerino 6 years ago

      Interesting article thanks for sharing. I'm a first time turtle owner who ended up with a baby box turtle found in our backyard. The day I found him I spent all day reading everything I could and took a lot of notes. Yes, raising them is very complicated and not for someone who is in it half-heartedly, but I think they make a great pet if you're willing to put in the effort required to care for them.

      I come from an area where they seem to be around a lot and have seen quite a few in the wild. I saved one from being run over a few days ago by stopping my car and moving him off the road.

      I think the important thing is if you don't think you can care for your pet adequately then don't get it - or if it was from the wild put it back. I would put my little guy back in the wild in a heartbeat if it looked like he wasn't a happy healthy turtle.

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      Ben Zoltak 6 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      eltee4: thanks for sharing your tribulations with your Russian! What a special breed the Russians are! The species that lives in the coldest, highest altitudes in the world, amazing! To hear you recognize his "personality" is not surprising, they are great spirit keepers!

      Ben

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      Ben Zoltak 6 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      mbj: good point! turtles indeed are wild animals and in many ways do not make good pets. However, in many parts of the world, their habitat is completely gone, so where are they to go? Protection for turtles and tortoises is scarce and not enforced in many places. Since so much of their habitat is destroyed, I hope that those who do take on a chelonian, can at the very least, become good stewards.

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      Ben Zoltak 6 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Nisha: thanks for sharing the story of your RES. I appreciate you commiserating and illustrating that lots of people have fallen into the trap of thinking that caring for turtles and tortoises is easy. Good for you for going the extra mile and getting the antibiotics your pet needed! Also, I appreciate the compliments and that you found my article looking (researching) for care of turtles, excellent!

      Ben

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      Ben Zoltak 6 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      RNMSN: thanks kindly for the comment I've been thinking about your encouragement and it I wanted to say thanks, for noticing and giving me some redemption! Here's to a great enclosure in the future!

      Ben

    • eltee4 6 years ago

      Thanks for sharing this! It's very true, that turtles are not for everyone and are by no means "easy" to take care of! I've had my Russian Tortoise for eight years now, and I'm still learning more and more about her each day. Definitely has a personality, and potty-trained. I think my tortoise and I have been more attuned to each other over the years, and I now know when she wants certain things - she asks for it, and in return, she courteously poops in one designated area. To be honest, I'm surprised she's trusted me this long. Thankfully, I'm more able to provide better care for her than when I first got her. Thanks again!

    • mbj 6 years ago

      I love animals and that is why I am not a strong advocate of pets. Turtles are used as pets because they are small and not overly aggressive but they are not domestic by any stretch of the imagination. Turtles are wild animals and should be kept in a natural turtle habitat.

      This same idea should be applied to many small, non-aggressive animals that people mistakenly think are domestic.

    • Nisha  6 years ago

      That was a very interesting article, I really relate to what you're saying. I have a RES which was given to me as a gift. I had treated it very badly for a few weeks due to the false knowledge I was given about it. I had him in a small tank with barely any water and nothing to bask on! Soon I read a lot about turtles and was horrified at what I had put the poor guy through. I soon revamped everything but my poor guy still managed to get pneumonia, swollen eyes and he refused to eat too... After 3 months of antibiotics, supplements, heat, vet visits and constant care i finally brought him around and now he's better than ever. I just wish that I would have started on the right foot with him so I could have saved him a lot of pain. I definitely know now to research everything possible before getting a pet. In fact,I found this article when researching how to keep my future tortoise. :)

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      Barbara Bethard 6 years ago from Tucson, Az

      this took great courage to write and to remark on the comments! you prove yourself a turtle lover and one day you will have your spirit animal with you I just know it! very well written, informative hub!! way to go!! barbara b

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      Ben Zoltak 6 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Thanks for reading Turtleperson!!!!

      Ben

    • Turtleperson 6 years ago

      Thank you!

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      Ben Zoltak 6 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Thanks gogetter! It's a difficult thing to be honest with yourself regarding pets! For example, I love dogs, but over the years I've realized I'm not very good at caring for them properly. Thank you for the comment!

    • gogetter profile image

      gogetter 6 years ago from Australia

      Great insights into owning turtles - I agree they are not for everyone.

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      Ben Zoltak 6 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Debbie I wish you the best. The smallest enclosures I've seen for full grown sulcattas are about 3 x 6 feet. Be sure to keep the hatchling in a small enclosure for awhile while it's young, especially in the winter when drafts are bad. Don't forget sulcattas don't like too much wet food (too much fruit is bad, too much spinach is bad, lots of grass, clover, mulberry leaves, etc) there is a wealth of information on sulcattas on the web! I wish you and your daughter the best of luck, and get that little guy outside in the summer when you can!!! Let me know how it goes!

      Ben

    • Debbie 6 years ago

      Hi. It was a very interesting reading. I just bought a sulcata tortoise two days ago. I got it for my daughter. She saw it at our local pet store and fell in love with it. She begged us for over two weeks and finally my husband and I decided to get it for her birthday. It is just now that I'm searching the web about care, food, handling, etc, that I am realizing ALL the work that we will need to do in order to keep our new pet safe.

      We live in Oregon, so the winters are long... We have a big back yard, a good habitat in the summer, but in the winter 'our friend' will be inside. It's only a tiny baby now, it fits in my palm. I really don't know how quickly it will grow to put us in a predicament. I need to do more research. After reading all this, my daugther said that when our tortoise gets really big we would have to move, maybe to Costa Rica, (where I'm from, by the way).

      Let's see how we do in about 10 years!!!

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      Ben Zoltak 6 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Thanks lilnohu! It's great that there are well informed keepers like yourself out there! Glad I could surprise you! I can't wait to have turtles or tortoises again, it may be awhile though!! What kind of tortoise do you have?

    • lilnohu 6 years ago

      This is a great article ben! I have to admit, the reason I read this article in the first place was because I thought I would have 10 better reasons to buy one of these lovable animals (I am the proud owner of a tortise) but you proved me wrong! I think turtles and tortises everywhere are better off now that this article has been written.

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      Ben Zoltak 6 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Thanks lovelypaper, me too. I can't wait for the day when I have the resources to buy a turtle or tortoise again. Meanwhile, I just look at pictures and read articles!

    • lovelypaper profile image

      Renee S 6 years ago from Virginia

      Great information. I love turtles among many other creatures.

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      Ben Zoltak 6 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Thanks Jen, it sounds like the one you had probably needed more sun or better artificial light, I did that to one of the ones I owned too! Thanks for the validation lady!

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      Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware

      Well I have read this in the reverse order that it was written, but now have more understanding and awareness. Again I thank you for sharing your knowledge. I always wondered why my pet turtle died and its shell became all smushy as I called it, back then when I was a kid. We didn't know what we were doing, obviously.

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      Ben Zoltak 6 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Whitney, thanks again for your infinite wisdom.

      Army Infantry Mom, I wish the world had hearts as big as yours. Mostly people in the pet trade are just trying to make a buck, mostly people like you and those you worked with are hard to find. Thank goodness some people are going the extra mile to care for our animals.

      Stars: I have heard of many people who lived out similar situations but refuse to talk about it for fear of retribuition. I appreciate you honesty and hope for the best for the future of chelonians!!!!!!!!!

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      stars439 6 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      Very helpful hub. When I was a kid I had a Slider turtle for a pet that came from a department store. He lived a few years. He probably could have lived much longer elsewhere I suppose. He liked fresh live fish. I would hold them for him by their tails and he would eat them. They should not have sold those little creatures back then. My big cat Boo is back on my desk being sweet again. Cats are a successful venture in our home. Thanks for sharing knowledge.

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      Army Infantry Mom 7 years ago

      This is a really great hub !!! I worked in a pet store for a couple of years and people who came in looking to buy a turtle was amazed that they needed a heating light, basking light, live crickets and ect to maintain them properly. Infact we would refuse some people from purchasing these great little creatures because they refuse to buy the stuff that was needed claiming we were only out to make a bigger sale, which was not true. We gave great care to these creatures and we wer'nt going to issue them a death warrant by releasing them to people who wanted to disregaurd properly caring for them.

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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      Ben, thought I'd let you know my boyfriend was talking to a coworker about my reptiles, and she threw in that she has two box turtles. She has no other reptile experience and have had them alive and healthy for over 6 years.

      By the way, I'm pretty excited to start a chelonian website soon. I've got the domain, but I have 4 other websites my designer is working on before he gets to that one. It'll have loads of info on turtles, tortoises, and terrapins.

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      Ben Zoltak 7 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Thanks Cagsil, turtles are definitely not for everyone! I appreciate the compliment though...thanks for stopping by!

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      Cagsil 7 years ago from USA or America

      Well, I guess I don't have much to add. But, I thought it was nicely written. I don't care much for turtles, let alone want one as a pet. LOL But, I did enjoy your hub. :)

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      Ben Zoltak 7 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      We only have two common turtles left in my area too Prasetio30!!! The Painter and the Snapping turtle, all the box turtles in Wisconsin have nearly disappeared! I'm into just "seeing" them too! Thanks for reading Prasetio!

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 7 years ago from malang-indonesia

      thanks for the information about this animal .I never had turtle. And rather see turtle. Because turtle is not a common pet animal in my area.

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      Ben Zoltak 7 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Thanks for reading Abi!!!

      You have made an interesting choice in the Russian/Afghan Tortoise. Did you know they are the coldest/highest elevation hibernating tortoise species! From what I have read they are a very vigorous species and do well if you can house them outside in a well protected enclosure. They also don't tolerate high humidity.

      There is a lot to read and prepare for before you buy, check out the World Chelonian Trust website for care, they are a great place to do more research!

      http://www.chelonia.org/care.htm

      I wish you and your future pet well, Russians are fascinating little tanks!!!

    • Abi467 7 years ago

      Do you have any concerns with getting a Russian Tortoise as a beginner pet? I am really passionate about one day owning and taking care of a tortoise, but I want to start out slow

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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      Hmm... I was just saying that your experience alone isn't the best to go off of. I'm going off of several others that have raised them and have all agreed they're pretty simple to care for.

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      HELLA 7 years ago from Boston

      Interesting hub man. I love turtles and always help them cross the road when they are trolling along. I can't imagine owning a pet tortoise though.....you need SO MUCH space for an animal like that and it can never be trained like a dog or horse. Maybe you can train a tortoise, I'm not sure. I do love have a fascination with turtles myself though.

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      Ben Zoltak 7 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      habee, I owned a small snapper when I was a kid, they are tough mothers! They'll eat damn near anything too!

      Mike, I agree with you, it's something about their methodical movements. I've always considered turtles to be my spirit animal. There's something appealing in their meditative quality too.

      Thank you for the generous compliments on my article!

    • Mike Lickteig profile image

      Mike Lickteig 7 years ago from Lawrence KS USA

      Ben, you raise an interesting point. I've never been much into pets, but virtually any living creature needs a fair amount of knowledgeable attention. When we can't give it, well--the results aren't too good.

      When I was a kid, we could find turtles crawling through the back yard, and a friend had a turtle he brought to school (he might have called it Phil--it's hard to remember that far back...). I never tried to keep one as a pet, but their slow and methodical movements was somehow comforting to me--unlike the manic yapping of a small dog.

      Habee, I went fishing in a small pond once and caught a snapping turtle--those babies mean business! I thankfully managed to free him without too much struggle.

      Thanks, Ben. This was a fun read, as always.

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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Oh, Ben, just get yourself an alligator snapping turtle. There's one in an aquarium near here that must be 4-5 feet long. He looks tough enough to take your arm off and would probably be pretty hard to kill as long as he was kept warm and well fed! lol

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      Ben Zoltak 7 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      I understand what you're getting at Whitney, what I am trying to say is, despite what many books say, my actual experience with box turtles proves that they are more than a beginners turtle/tortoise.

      Here is a link that says why:

      http://www.chelonia.org/Articles/Terrapenecare.htm

    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      It's funny you say it's rare, yet in your hub you say it's a problem that people should consider to not getting a tortoise/turtle.

      All turtles/tortoises require a lot of room, that alone is not going to determine whether the animal is a good beginner or not unless the amount of required room is excessive, such as a sulcatta or leopard tortoise. When housed properly, box turtles are great beginner pets. You do not have to hibernate while in captivity. You would be the first to say box turtles are finicky eaters; I've always heard great things about them as beginner pets.

      Red foots are considered a medium sized tortoise, but in terms of temperament and captive care they are STILL considered beginner tortoises.

      One aspect about a species, does not necessarily determine whether it's a good beginner or not, unless the one aspect is a major concern. Sulcattas are great tortoises to have as pets, but they're not for beginners as they require LARGE amounts of space.

      In a way, it's like ball pythons. They're considered beginner snakes because of their temperatment and eas of captive care, but in terms of their finicky feeding habits, they're one of the worst. That one aspect of care does not change that it's still a beginner snake. I warn about the feeding habits to beginners as something to keep in mind, but they're still great beginner snakes.

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      Ben Zoltak 7 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Niteriter, thanks for sharing your personal tribute to our shelled friends, maybe now he protects you from the demons and dragons in the spirit world.

      Whitney, thank you for the added affirmation. I agree with you about the Salmonella misconception, my research all said it's rare too.

      As for Box turtles, I stand by my original claim that even though they are marketed as beginners turtles, in fact they are not. The reasons for this are two fold, one is that they are actually tortoises not turtles and as such require more room. Also they are mostly a hibernation species and I have seen with my own eyes how poorly they will do if not properly hibernated. On top of that my research has shown they are fickle eaters.

      I agree with you about Red Foots, they are easier to care for, although most beginners probably have never seen a full grown in person, where they can reach a foot and a half long, that might be a lot of reptile for a beginner to handle.

      Thanks so much for your advice Whitney!

    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      As for number 5, you'll find in many states, it's illegal to have native species as pets anyway.

      Salmonella is rare to actually contract from reptiles. You'll find in comparison to the number of reptiles kept as pets, the salmonella cases from pet reptiles is pretty minute. Check out my hub on salmonella from reptiles.

      Tortoises and turtles are actually quite simple to keep as pets. Just have to do the research for THAT particular species. Space, diet, and husbandry are big issues that most people don't know how to maintain for the particular species. Kind of like how you like to get tons of turtles/tortoises with assumption of knowing how to care for them. You should always know how to care for the reptile/pet before getting one. Never assume.

      Another reason not to release into the wild is because not all species will thrive in your local. They'll simply be doomed from their release minute.

      By the way red foots are one of the best beginner tortoises, as are box turtles from my understanding (haven't done much research on box turtles).

      Oh and yes the picture at the top is a Sulcatta.

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      Niteriter 7 years ago from Canada

      I had a pet turtle when I was five years old. I awoke one cold winter morning to find him (gender assumed) dead on the window sill.

      I don't know why he'd parked himself on that icy sill. I told myself at the time that he'd been there to keep an eye on the dragons and demons that always lurked outside my window after dark.

      I cried a lot that morning. I have yet to find a turtle who could take his place.

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      Ben Zoltak 7 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Ha, I'm envious! But I get your point sweetiepie!

      I had a Biology teacher who used to keep to large snapping turtles, nobody was allowed to clean their enclosure there would've been lost fingers!

      Turtles are so much more work than they at first appear.

    • SweetiePie profile image

      SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA

      Our teacher used to have an exotic turtle, and made the students clean the cage. I usually got out of this duty, but one time I protested to having to clean it. She remarked it was a class pet and we were all responsible for taking care of it, but honestly I just did not feel that way. If the teacher wanted to have a pet turtle at home that is one thing, or even clean its cage herself, but to make kids do it? Seriously, I just do not think teachers would get away with this today, which shows how times have changed.

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      Ben Zoltak 7 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      polkadotthoughts, you are right. I would first cry too. The turtle tortoise is a vast spirit animal, but humor has a place too. Mosty I fear for the future of this species, I want them off of menus (the rare kind, which is most) and I wish there was more preservation of their habitat.

      Ben

    • polkadottythoughts 7 years ago

      Hey,

      I thought that this was interesting, and I enjoyed reading it, though personaly I think I would rather cry when I run over a turtle than laugh, but that's just me.

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      Ben Zoltak 7 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Hello hello: Glad to oblige, thanks for stopping over!

      Tammy: Sometimes we have to laugh just to keep from cryin' right?!

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      Tammy Lochmann 7 years ago

      Oops... you made me laugh out loud. I guess I really do appreciate dark humor.

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      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      That was interesting and I learned a lot from it. Thank you.

    • Ben Zoltak profile image
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      Ben Zoltak 7 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Not at all Tammy link away! I am glad you find humor in it, I need that.

      If you have a sometimes dark sense of humor as I do you might find this funny also. Once my daughter and I traveled two hours to get to a nearby nature preserve to look for turtles. On the way there I drove my car up a hill and at the top? A turtle, I couldn't steer away in time and it got obliterated underneath my giant Mercury. Oh well.

      Thanks for stopping by and for following my words!

    • Tammy Lochmann profile image

      Tammy Lochmann 7 years ago

      Please forgive me as I got a chuckle in a few parts of this but only because I can relate. I enjoyed reading this and I had no idea it was so difficult to raise turtles. We all embark on schemes with good intentions sometimes and make a mess. Makes us human.

      Do you mind if I link this to a hub I am writing?

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      Ben Zoltak 7 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      suziecat, thanks for sharing and for the compliment. I try to help them across the street too, I just always try to make sure and figure which way they are going first!

      bearclaw, thank you also for the kind words. I really appreciate the encouragement! The only metaphor I can think of for this story, is that as bright as I might appear at times, I still have had a long history of being a bone head! Haha, but it feels good to not take myself too seriously all the time.

      Thanks for reading!

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      bearclawmedia 7 years ago from Mining Planet Earth

      This is one of those metaphor stories isn't it? You are a good writer and this story was tops. Thanks for sharing. Bearclaw

    • suziecat7 profile image

      suziecat7 7 years ago from Asheville, NC

      We had a pet turtle when I was a kid. It seems it lived for about 5 years and was accidently killed though I don't remember the details. Nice Hub. I like turtles and always stop to give them a helping hand across the street.

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      Ben Zoltak 7 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      I feel they are my spirit animal, so you can see my pain in writing this Nicomp. Most turtles and tortoises live a very long time. Thanks for stopping by!

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 7 years ago from Ohio, USA

      Fascinating. Thanks for writing. I had turtles from the pet store when I was a child. I don't recall a very long life span.

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