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Discussion in 'Tortoise FAQs - New and need help?' started by Heather H, Feb 13, 2015.

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  1. Heather H

    Heather H Well-Known Member

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    Hi and welcome to the forum. this is a wonderful place with many wonderful people. when I started here I had many wrong things, I had listened to the wrong people and bought too many wrong things. When you first start here you will be asked a lot of questions and for pictures of your new family member. this is so you can be helped. there are many care sheets and they are great. You will be asked about the enclosure, substrate, lights, temperatures, humidity, and many other things. You will also be asked where you live. trust me this is important to know so that that you can be helped. There are lists of safe plants. there is a section that says species specific. Here is where you will find things about the type of turtle/tortoise you have and how to care for them. If you have questions ask no matter how silly you think it is.

    Common things that you should not buy:
    water dishes from the pet stores: these are flip hazards, a terra cotta plant saucer works great and is a lot cheaper.
    coil lights: these have been known to cause eye problems.

    Some basics to consider:

    by: Chris Tabaka, DVM, Memphis Zoo

    The following are my personal observations and are based on experiences with both herp collections at work and also at home.

    The following are the rules I live by in my collection

      • First and foremost, captive bred is ALWAYS better than wild caught. While wild caught animals may be cheaper in the short run, there is a reason for their lower price. These animals are incredibly stressed from being captured, held in their native country, shipped hundreds to thousands of miles generally in cramped and crowded conditions, held again for distribution, then shipped once more to various points of the globe. All of this leads to a weakened immune system which leads to complications such as astounding parasitic loads, septicemia, and a lot of times death. This doesn't even take into account the ecological devastation which is being supported by such buying habits. Most species of tortoise are now being captive hatched and raised and are well worth the price for a healthy, long lived animal.
      • Quarantine. I personally quarantine my tortoises for at least 3 months before putting them in with the rest of my collection. I know of others that quarantine for a year. Most tortoises are capable of living a hundred or more years - the time for quarantine is miniscule compared to this time frame.
      • Research. Research. Research. I cannot emphasize this enough. Going out and impulse buying that cute baby spurred tortoise (G. sulcata) from the pet store then discovering that they can go over 50 pounds in less than a decade can be a sobering experience.
      • Reptile veterinarian. Find one in your area before buying any herp. This is a good place to look. The ARAV is an association of veterinarians with an interest/ expertise in reptile and amphibian medicine. Having a good reptile vet who has seen your animal before is priceless when something goes wrong.
      • Do NOT ever - under any circumstances - mix species. Russian roulette is not a good game to play and mixing species is a loaded gun. I have heard horror story after horror story of entire collections being literally decimated due to this problem. Why take a chance? Build the extra pen or enclosure and find a mate of the same species - it will save you heartache in the long run.
      • Replicate Mother Nature. Tortoises have been evolving for thousands and thousands of years to live under very specific conditions. While some have developed to survive in the deserts of Africa, others are almost semiaquatic in Asia. While some are known to be partial omnivores, most are strict herbivores. Research the species you are going to buy before your purchase so that when it enters your home/outside pen, the transition is seamless and the overall stress minimized.
      • Natural UV. There is simply nothing on the market that can beat what nature provides. This is especially true when it comes to UV. While some may consider it anthropomorphic, I can honestly say that my tortoises "smile" when they are put into their outdoor pens for the spring/summer. Build that outdoor pen in your backyard or put their enclosure outside when you leave for work in the morning and bring it in in the evening. Your pet will be all the healthier for it.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 4, 2015
  2. Tidgy's Dad

    Tidgy's Dad Well-Known Member

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    (These ads do not appear for registered members.)
    Momof4 said you had 180 views. Now it's nearly 460. Congratulations, people are looking at it, though it should probably be noted that 410 of those were me and about 30 Tidgy who likes the look of your tortoise.
    One of those horrid smiley face things that I don"t know how to use, but mean I'm only jokerising and wouldn't use if I did know 'cos I think they're ghastly. Seriously, it's a great idea and I'm sure been of use to many.
    Sorry, I'll shut up now.
  3. Heather H

    Heather H Well-Known Member

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    Thanks
    Tidgy's Dad and Cheryl Hills like this.
  4. Tortoiselanding

    Tortoiselanding New Member

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    Thank You, I just signed up - this helped me too!! Although I didn't look for "how to start" help, but trying to find members with tortoises in my area - Greenville, South Carolina. Is there a way to do that??
    Angel Carrion likes this.
  5. Tidgy's Dad

    Tidgy's Dad Well-Known Member

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    I would suggest firstly putting your address on your profile, then creating a thread in the introductions forum and asking for people in your area.
    Hello and a very warm welcome to Tortoise Forum.
  6. Tortoiselanding

    Tortoiselanding New Member

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    Thanks ... at this point I‘m still trying to figure out how to get my address into my profile. And Yes - I am usually computer savvy.
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  7. Tidgy's Dad

    Tidgy's Dad Well-Known Member

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    It's showing up on there now.
  8. Tortoiselanding

    Tortoiselanding New Member

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    Yes got it in - also saw yours: Fes?? Marocco? I've been there back in 1988, beautiful place -- but didn't come across anyone that would consider tortoises pets... did that change meanwhile?
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  9. Tidgy's Dad

    Tidgy's Dad Well-Known Member

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    I'm British, but love Morocco which i consider my home now.
    Lots of people have tortoises, but mainly as children's toys, i'm afraid.
    i'm changing the attitude a little in one or two areas, a few torts around here now have pretty good lives.
  10. Tortoiselanding

    Tortoiselanding New Member

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    Should this be a private conversation? Not sure how to do that. Do you keep the local tortoises (T.Graeca) where you live? Have to admit, growing up, we kept tortoises as children toys, too. That's how got my first one. Still have her - for 39 years now. I noticed a slow change in attitude in Greece where we went frequently during the 80's. We had greek friends we stayed with and tortoises were seen as a nuisance at best and as pests at the worst. But I think now there are more people that are seeing the big picture.
  11. lilT

    lilT New Member

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    Thanks! I'm a newbie and I definitely read this...so thank you! I'll try to find the "start here" threads before posting questions.
    Tidgy's Dad and Cheryl Hills like this.
  12. rbcurdt

    rbcurdt New Member

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    I read it!
  13. tinynerd

    tinynerd New Member

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    This was very helpful actually, I'm new and just got my tortoise on Saturday and joined to make sure I can learn more about how to keep him healthy and happy! Thanks for this post.
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  14. Gillian Moore

    Gillian Moore Well-Known Member

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    A very warm welcome to the forum Bridget!
  15. charlie1234

    charlie1234 New Member

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    hello
    im a new member looking for a tortoise that doesnt hibernate,that is quite small and one that is very active.it has to be able to live in a smallish enviroment and when it has grown up fully its not massive.any help will be appreciated.
    thanks
  16. leigti

    leigti Well-Known Member

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    How small of an environment are you talking about? Even small tortoises need a lot of room.
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  17. charlie1234

    charlie1234 New Member

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    how much room does a small tortoise need?
  18. Lyn W

    Lyn W Well-Known Member

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    A 4x8 foot enclosure is often quoted as the minimum.
    Torts are wandering animals and need to be able to move about - even the smallest!
    Can you tell us a bit more about yourself?
    e.g. Do you have your own place? Which part of the world are you in?

    (You should go to Introductions section and start a new thread for more people to see your question.)
  19. DevilDog5mom7

    DevilDog5mom7 Member

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    I read it the original post! Any info is great info.
  20. Gillian Moore

    Gillian Moore Well-Known Member

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    Hi. Pets are not at all "welcome" in the Middle East.:( When I got my beloved tort - OLI :<3:- people were literally shocked to see him, when I took him out for a "walk" in the sun.:rolleyes: Children would surround him stunned! :mad:
    GingerLove and Cheryl Hills like this.
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