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12 Reasons Not to Buy a Pet Turtle or Tortoise

Updated on August 11, 2015

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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    • profile image

      Christina 5 weeks ago

      How do you know if your turtle is male or female? How does their breeding cycle work?

    • profile image

      Halee 5 weeks ago

      I got a turtle about 5 weeks ago I've never owned a turtle before and it was a baby box turtle witch is a female and she is so nice and sweet and cute her diet is : worms, sometimes watermelon, lettuce, and a cherry tomatoe he is very happy about about a week before I got hime I got a new one and they where best friends and he's never been better until I gave away my turtle I just got and he was lonely trying to get out of his chafe and barely eating but yesterday I brought home a male box turtle and now he eats a lot he's happy and soon there should be eggs

    • profile image

      Tina 6 weeks ago

      my baby name is Rebecca and I tried to do everything I can for her to make sure she warm and award is always clean and she eat crickets she e Palace she got a lot of food so I don't see her like that all day but she do eat enough so am I doing a great job with Rebecca

    • profile image

      Ari 2 months ago

      Totally agree. If you are not ready to commit to a unilateral relationship (YOU giving pleasure to your pet), better buy a cat or a dog. Torts and turts are reptiles, mind you, so they don't show the sort of affection dogs or cats do. They are cute and fun to watch, however. I personally keep 6 of those; 1 tort, 5 turts. The tort is more amusing than the turts because they are more docile, gentle and can share the same habitat as ours.

      I recommend RES for beginners because they are tough and resilient. I had 3 of them, 1 died due to jaw infection, the other two are more than 10yo now and are healthy. TIP: If you want to get one, choose one with attitude, not appearance. Ones that are dominant (claiming the best basking spot in early morning,) fearless, are likelier to survive babyhood. Remember also that if you do want one, be ready to commit to keep them for years. My RESs survive on a diet of pellets, shrimp scraps, live fishes and veggies (occasionally), the eat almost anything. And they spend 99.9% of their lives in the water. I kept the RES in small 2 cubic feet aquarium (yea, I know, too small for a half-foot turt,) and they were fine with it. I changed the water once every 2 or 3 days because I have no filtration system (had them, they clog up every 2 days.) So I don't think they actually need as much space as mentioned in the article. I now have a small pond to keep them, though, and they acted just like when they were in their aquariums (following you around, thinking you're food.) Some caution, cute as they may be, RESs are aggressive and they WILL bite you in self defense or accidentally if you try to hand feed them, so hand-feeding is NOT recommended. As a matter of fact, petting them is not recommended. A friend of mine mischievously handled my RES, got bitten, and had severe infection. They also carry a lot of germs with them, so wash your hands often after handling them. Water from their aquarium helps road-kills decompose 2x faster (YES, we don't have anyone to take care of road-kills here, so they may lay there for quite a while...) which proves it is full of nasty, nasty germs.

      As for the tort, I keep it in my backyard. I built it a burrow using an overturned large bucket with 1/4 side cut open as entrance, and a small tub for it to hydrate and wallow. Both are tucked in the shady corners of the yard. I sometimes allow it to enter my house. I don't recommend torts for beginners, they do require much space as they love to explore, and they require more care than the RES. I also don't recommend mixing dogs with torts or turts, there are cases when the torts bite the dog in an exploratory manner, and the dog ended up chewing up the torts. Torts poop big and unlike dogs, they cannot be trained, so keeping them like you keep your dogs indoors is not recommended.

      I may not be the best pet-keeping person in the world, as some of my pets died prematurely and some died after a long life. I did the some basically same mistakes the writer of the article did, and I don't blame him. He tried, I tried, my equipment for keeping the pets are more rudimentary compared to his, lacking vets too (they are expensive, you know,) but we love our pets.

      My word of advice, consider something more general, like a dog, a cat, a rabbit, a mice, or a hamster, before deciding on a reptile as a pet...

    • profile image

      Ramakant 2 months ago

      I found a small two inch long turtle near my house, not knowing what to do, I brought it home, made a small pond for it, tried to feed it with pellets, but it does not like it, then found some earthworms, it happily eat earthworms. No idea what habitat it is from and how to keep it...I am from India

    • profile image

      Matthew 4 months ago

      I really don't think you should ever own any kind of pet again. Ever.

    • profile image

      Cindy Hunnicutt 4 months ago

      I am sorry, but my comment to you is going to be mean. You sound like and idiot. You openly admit to going against your vets advice and let your sick tortoise die. You didn't realize that turtles are quite expert diggers and were surprised it "got out" and escaped. I am certainly not an expert on reptiles, but a little basic knowledge and common sense would help you. You sound like you haphazardly went about having a turtle or tortoise and knew better than everyone else including your vet and they suffered for it. You definitely should not have a pet anything.

    • profile image

      JDeWitt 4 months ago

      So I found a turtle hatchling in my pool filter, & he was alive. I set up a nice little habitat for him, & he was doing quite well, eating well, etc. I had him for about two months, and he had grown quite a bit. I set up a bigger habitat, & unfortunately I got a little lax about checking places he could get stuck. Last night, he got stuck between a rock and the side of his tub, & he drowned. I have been incredibly upset about it all day, as it was my fault. I feel just terrible. He had been doing so well, swimming all around, climbing up on his log to bask, eating well... & I had always made sure there were no places he could get stuck, but I missed a spot. Actually it was an area where he could have gotten out when he was a bit smaller, but as he's grown lately, he didn't make it out. It was just horrible to find him. I love little critters, & I have actually seen a couple of these tiny little things squashed on the road. Our pond is full of turtles, which I feed, along with the fish. The bad thing about the pond is that any little creatures, such as baby ducks or baby turtles, get pretty quickly eaten by the big catfish, big turtles, and the herons, hawks, and owls that frequent it. So when I find something like a live baby turtle, I want to help it grow & thrive. Next time, I will be diligent about keeping the tub or aquarium safe. Sad day.

    • profile image

      Kish 5 months ago

      People should really actually READ the article.

      First, every reptile lover can tell you that you don't need nearly that much space. From Reptiles Magazine. "A 30-gallon tank is the absolute minimum size for smaller species measuring between 4 and 6 inches. For turtles between 6 and 8 inches, a 55-gallon tank is appropriate. And for turtles measuring more than 8 inches, tanks in the 75- to 125-gallon range are a better choice." According to this article, it would require 3-4x the tank size. That's grossly incorrect.

      The writer admits to leaving the turtle out with a dog around, then surprised when the dog, a hunting animal, killed it.

      The writer admits to IGNORING THE VETS ADVICE about a habitat, and then being surprised when it died.

      Constantly says pet-trade is dangerous, but the pet trade today has practically zero effect on the invasiveness of species. Back a few decades, they'd import the animals en masse, then release them when no one bought them. On top of that, nowadays, there are many places that will adopt turtles and other reptiles that you can no longer care for. You don't have to release them into the wild, on top of that, releasing an animal that was bred in captivity is a death sentence.

      The moral of this article isn't "don't get a pet turtle/tortoise" - It's "The person who wrote this article is terrible at taking care of pet turtles and tortoises and tries to scare people away with their horror stories."

    • profile image

      Karlea 5 months ago

      Who do you think cleans the pond water turtles live in ... Noone ... I only change my turtles water when its cloudy every few months been doing this with him since i got him for over 10 years ... I also have 3 other turtles i have adopted over the years ... Only turtles i had die on me were bc my original turtle picked on them ... 120 dollars worth of turtles gone 6 baby turtles gone turns out my original turtle needed to be with a girl who was bigger then him to be the boss lmao all he will eat is fish and pellets thats it ... Where 2 of the others will eat almost any veggies and pelletts thats it no fish

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      Sinrick 5 months ago

      My boyfriend and I have a 7-year old female red-eared slider turtle, she died last night. If I have read this article before we bought my red red-eared slider, his tragic death could have been avoided. We prayed and beg for her forgiveness for being such a lousy owner. In this few months my boyfriend only change the water once a week(with a underwater filter). The temperature here at the Philippines is so high 86.0 °F. Her male red-eared slider companion is still alive and about 6 years old by now. Is it still worth if we keep the male one or do we need to set him free? I am very depressed and scared that the male slider might die too. :'(

    • profile image

      Uzo 5 months ago

      Thank you so much for this article. I just stumbled across it and your article has saved a lot of stress and heartache. I wanted to get a turtle for my little girl but on reading this article and weighing up all the options, it's not the right pet for us. Thank you so much for saving us a lot of heart ache

    • profile image

      Anon 5 months ago

      Wtf... I've had my hermanns tortoise for over 10 years now and he was my very first pet. By the sounds of it your just a shitty owner... not sure how you could mess up so badly that it resulted in the deaths of so many innocent souls. Please refrain from buying anymore pets or even having children for that matter.

    • profile image

      Moaning for my pet turtle 7 months ago

      Me too...If I have read this article before I bought my red ear slider, his tragic death could have been advoided. He passed on today. Struggled with RI and fungal infection. He is very brave and I am very proud of him. I prayed and beg for his forgiveness for being such a lousy owner. In the first few months I only change the water once a week(with a underwater filter). The fish tank is too small and the busking light too near to him. I have learnt my mistake and I will definitely think twice about keeping one again.

      Btw after I fed him fresh prawn and fish(which was about two weeks after I brought him home), he totally reject turtle food. Wonder is that a common trend, or that he is just too picky...

    • profile image

      turtlepie101 8 months ago

      i am doing a report on why dogs are better than turtles this helped a lot thanks

    • profile image

      dede 8 months ago

      lauren,, I, absolutely agree,,

      a, tortoise,, is, a lifetime commitment. of love.. and care..and more long after....

      and very special indeed, and for those.. who may not be able

      to have annual checkups with a specialized vet, ..

      a tortoise, is not really a pet, it is an environmental challenge..

      and so very acute of any changes.. and still.. the pages of Veterinary médecine,, have so much to.. discover..Yet, the more people.. such as you.. guide us.. and spell your input..

      We. will be able.. to read, learn, and comprehend, the fragile. and distinctive challenges they face, in their optimal fragile and respective conditions..

    • profile image

      lauren 8 months ago

      I'm in total agreement about thinking tortoises can thrive when taken out of their natural climates. Red Foots need humidity...very hard to maintian the high level of humidity for 3/4 of the PA year. Every Red Foot Guide/Book suggests the proper measurement of soils and sphagnum moss for substrate. I came to find out that living in the same soil, only breeds illness. When I was advised to take out the soil and replace it with newspaper, breathing became quiet almost immediately. Unless you are a millionaire, living in PA, pets aren't going to have the flowers and cactus that they eat in South America. Do people know there are differences between tropical and Southern Tortoises? People can keep just about anything alive, but it's foolhardy to take species out of their natural habitat and expect them to "bloom where they're planted". They're not dogs.

      Thank you.

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      anonymous 9 months ago

      today i just realized that i wanted a tortoise. i even started a presentation. but now that i read this, i'm not sure that i even want a pet tortoise anymore because i realized how much room it took up, and i have no idea how to care for one. the fact that it carries diseases completely destroyed what i wanted. thank you so much for knocking some reality into me ;)

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      Blinky 11 months ago

      My dream is to own a second turtle... but I am 12 and I have a separate room for the turtle, I am a girl who does research before I do my actions... I have you know I have loved them ever since I was 3 I was obsessed with these beautiful creatures, I am not sure how much more posts I can take...of people saying things like this... They make a great pet,I should know I had a turtle for 8 years then the neighbors brought there dog on a get together and then the dog ate my turtle...

    • profile image

      Rocky 11 months ago

      Thanks so much for your advice! Great article that will help me to make a decision.

    • profile image

      Darkghoul 12 months ago

      I hope I don't upset anyone with this post.. I saw a movie called cannibal holocaust where a poor turtle was mercilessly murdered. I was so upset by it, it made me want to buy a turtle of this type and care for one but after reading here how hard it is to care for one I better think twice. I see everyone mentioning all kinds of turtles but I never seen the type of turtle from this horrible movie mentioned. It was a yellow spotted river turtle and quite large which means it was probably 60 years or older. Why kill something that already lived so long. Made me want to really hunt down that actor and the director, even though the movie was made in 1980. I know it was real cause they killed six other animals in that movie, but the turtle got to me the most. I'm a horror movie buff but never saw that coming or I wouldn't have watched it in the first place. Anyway, I take it that this species of turtle is extremely hard to care for. Just looking for thoughts and feedback since I know everyone here likes or even own turtles and can give more info on the yellow spotted river turtle.. Thanks for reading my rant...

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      Ben Zoltak 14 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

    • profile image

      tejas 14 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
      Author

      Ben Zoltak 14 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

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      Nagato 14 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.

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      Oogway 15 months ago

      I will buy one I have money space whatever you want

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      divesh panjwani 15 months ago

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

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      Susanna 17 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.

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      Jonnie h 17 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.

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      Ben Zoltak 2 years 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

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      Jo 2 years 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.

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      Ben Zoltak 2 years 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

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      Tabbikat 2 years 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!

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      Ben Zoltak 2 years 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

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      Squam 2 years 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.

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

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

      Ben

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      Cassi2525 2 years 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.

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

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

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      Manu 2 years 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.

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      Ben Zoltak 2 years 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

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       2 years ago

      That was awesome

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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!

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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

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      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?

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      Ben Zoltak 3 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

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      gillian moore 3 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.

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      Ben Zoltak 3 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

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      Ben Zoltak 3 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

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      Talia 3 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.

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      kathy Doubleu 3 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.

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      Ben Zoltak 3 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 3 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

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      HeatherNM 3 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 3 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

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      Ana R. 3 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.

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      Blu 3 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.

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      Mk 3 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 3 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

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      City Kitty 3 years ago

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

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      Ben Zoltak 3 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

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      Kallifornia 3 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 3 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

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      Ramon 3 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 3 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

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      Sarah 3 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 4 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

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      NEBS 4 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 4 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

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      Suzanne 4 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 4 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

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      shay 4 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

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      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 5 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

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      Reggie 5 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.

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      fuzzy342 5 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?

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      vipin 5 years ago

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

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      adam 5 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 5 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

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      Spring Pace 5 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 5 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

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      tushar 5 years ago

      thanks for your help ben...smiles

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      tushar 5 years ago

      Get well soon spring pace...

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

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      Spring Pace 5 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 5 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 5 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

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      Spring Pace 5 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

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      DT 5 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 5 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

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      Bobbiemy 5 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

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      Alexooo 5 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!

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      tushar 5 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

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      Kjarvi31 5 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?

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      Spring Pace 5 years ago

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

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      tushar 5 years ago

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

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      John 5 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!

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      Spring Pace 5 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

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      Sunshine 5 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.

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      tushar 5 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...

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      tushar 5 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?