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Best tortoise for my environment

Discussion in 'Tortoise FAQs - New and need help?' started by A3luton, Aug 25, 2015.

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  1. A3luton

    A3luton New Member

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    Hi I am new here and new to tortoises, I am planning on getting a turtle or Tort for my son who is turning 11. However I am secretly getting it for myself knowing he still has college ( years of torting to myself!) and young adult life where he may need me to Tort-sit... we currently have a dog and chickens so I am used to the whole Salmonella concern and don't even bat an eye... I live in MA so I am looking for a place to get supplies that aren't big chain pet stores. I would also LOVE advise as to the breed ( is that even what it is called for torts) I really don't want an aggressive adult or a huge tort. I would Say between 8- 20 inches as an old timer. I also plan on having another child within the next couple years so i am unsure if that plays into any ideas.... Thanks for all your expert advise..
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  2. wellington

    wellington Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member

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    Hello and Welcome:). The Russian, Greeks, and hermanni's are good beginner species. They stay smaller. Lots of the items needed can be bought at Home Depot type stores and is usually cheaper then pet stores. The bulbs and heating elements are usually only found at pet stores, but the fixtures can be purchased at the Home Depots or even hardware stores, along with the clay plant saucers for a water dish, substrate and rock and wood decorations.
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  3. Merrick

    Merrick Well-Known Member

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    Tortoises at this point in time have species not breeds I would recommend a testudo species something like a Hermann's or greek tortoise if you want something a little bigger a red foot might be okay but can't handle the cold as good if you want a turtle box turtles would be awesome look around the forum and see what you like
    Also welcome to the forum
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  4. MegDH

    MegDH New Member

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    Hello! I have been researching tortoises and am quite overwhelmed with all the information out there! I am looking to get a tortoise in December but am researching now to make sure I make the best decision so the tortoise is in the correct environment. I live a little north of Atlanta and can build a tortoise table for inside. I also have a good sized fenced in yard for outside time during the summer. I would definitely like the smallest tortoise possible that is best for a beginner. (I have had many aquatic turtles but this will be first tortoise) I would also like one that isn't super shy (though I know none of them should be handled) I have read that Hermann's and Russians are the best beginner tortoise but seem to read different information about which one is smaller and which one best for beginners. Any advice? I also want to purchase from a reputable breeder, how on earth do I decide on a breeder!!!! I believe there will be a reptile show in the Atlanta area next month so I will check that out. I know sometimes though it is hard to tell a good breeder from a breeder who would be called a 'puppy mill breeder' in the dog world!
    Thank you for any advice you experts can offer! I want to make sure my tortoise is in his correct environment to stay happy and healthy for the rest of his life!
  5. leigti

    leigti Well-Known Member

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    Russians, Herman's, and Greeks are all good beginner tortoises. And they don't get very big. But they still need a lot of room. It's recommended an indoor enclosure for a Russian be 4 x 8'.
    Box turtles are also nice. Many of them don't get too big. Any tortoise or Boxturtle you get will need a fair amount of room. Check out the species specific section and read up on different types of tortoises.
  6. wellington

    wellington Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member

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    Good info given. Check out all the species info and care sheets and then come back with any questions you didn't get answered or any confusion. It can get over whelming sometimes.
  7. MegDH

    MegDH New Member

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    I read somewhere (I feel like I have read so much that everything is blending together!!) that box turtles really aren't good for beginners. I just want to do the right thing and make sure I give my new friend a good life. What would you say is the biggest difference between Russians and Hermanns???
  8. johnsonnboswell

    johnsonnboswell Well-Known Member

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    I think hermann's are prettier. I have both RTs and hermann's. The male RT is quite small.

    Can you visit some tortoises and see which species makes your heart sing?

    Box turtles are my absolute favorites, but that might be because I used to find wild ones, and fell in love with them when I was a young child.
    queqid in Indiana likes this.
  9. ZEROPILOT

    ZEROPILOT Well-Known Member TFO Supporter Platinum Supporter

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    Welcome. I didn't see your location....
    If you plan on housing outside, and you should, your location might be helpful in determining what would be best suited for you.
    For example, in humid, hot Florida, a Redfoot is ideal....
  10. ZEROPILOT

    ZEROPILOT Well-Known Member TFO Supporter Platinum Supporter

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    Welcome.
    You've read not to try to house two together, right?
    Two Russians will be a handful......Several hands full.:)
  11. Rutibegga

    Rutibegga Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to the forum, and good luck on your research!

    I haven't much to add on the Russian/Hermann's debate as I've been obsessed with redfoot torts since I was in my teens, but haunt the threads in the species-specific sections and you'll get plenty of information.
  12. MegDH

    MegDH New Member

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    Thank you everyone for the welcome! Yes, I will definitely just be housing one tortoise. The redfoots are SO beautiful, I love their faces.
    I think for my household a Russian or Hermann would be best, I just can't decide between the two. I am going to go to a reptile show near Atlanta next month to see if they have any there for me to check out. We are starting to build a large tortoise table, I can't wait!!!! My 7 year old son has been obsessed with turtles/tortoises pretty much since birth and he will be my little helper. The care will be primarily mine but he will help and I know he will really love it. He is responsible with animals and understands that this guy won't be a pet to handle but that we will give him the best life possible.
  13. leigti

    leigti Well-Known Member

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    I would recommend one adult as your first tortoise. Hatchlings can be very fragile. And it's not like your son will never be able to touch or hold the Storgis. He should be taught how to. And they do get used to being handled gently. Another good reason for an adult. There were always be debate as to the best toward us, everybody has their favorites for their own reasons. I love my Russian tortoise, but I admit that the Hermans are prettier. But that's OK for me. I recommend not to impulse buy, and the show may not be the best place to get one. But you can at least look at them and check them out.
  14. Will

    Will Well-Known Member

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    Hi - Welcome,

    You might go see what species they have outside at Zoo Atlanta and talk to a keeper there about when they bring them in and out, then you'd have a somewhat local idea with climate built into the answer, about time of year to have outside versus inside.

    As for species and care, I myself find the idea of characterizing an animal as a beginner animal not right. Like the snarky,"Oh, she was a beginner wife". It seems to me based on your looking before you leap that you will do okay to pick a species or animal that you like without the the idea that it is a beginner tortoise.

    Beginner is already over in that you are reading and talking about it here now.

    Outside with a good night house all year is as possible as indoor and outdoor. A 'table' might not really be less expensive than a night house and you have to spend on electricity either way.

    So if outside year round, then not a smallest is possible, and then a redfoot, leo, Manouria, radiated etc. become all of a sudden good choices as well as testudos which do stay smaller.

    If not for the darn permit issue, I think radiateds are a good starter tortoise. They are hardy, beautiful, personable, do well with a wide range of diets, and seem to be good outdoor year round tortoises with access to night houses.

    But then a small brown testudo is good too.
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  15. ascott

    ascott Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Be aware that the two species you reference, especially the Russian are species that brumate ...so if yiu are notwanting to deal with that event then perhaps research tortoise species that do not brumate and select with that Iin mind...you live in an area that can offer high humidity right? So you can consider that along with warm to hot temps...but your area also gets some cool to cold in winter right? So will also need a plan potentially for some indoor down time on housing...
  16. A3luton

    A3luton New Member

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    We live in MA and while it is warm enough i do plan on an outdoor enclosure, But for the Horrible cold Snowy months it will have to be inside ;(
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  17. Tidgy's Dad

    Tidgy's Dad Well-Known Member

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  18. Tidgy's Dad

    Tidgy's Dad Well-Known Member

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  19. MegDH

    MegDH New Member

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    Thanks everyone for all of the advice.
    Yes, my area gets very hot and humid in the summer but we do have pretty cold periods in the winter with freezes and even some snow. (I am a native New Orleanian and this North GA cold stuff is soooo not for me!)
    My plan was to have a large indoor table for him for the majority of the time but also an area outside for warm summer days and to be able to watch him graze and enjoy being outside.
    Thank you for the beginner mistakes section, that helps!
    I definitely won't be purchasing at the reptile show, I really just want to observe and try to figure out first which tortoise seems best for us and then step 2 research breeders. I want to make sure it is a breeder who truly cares about their animals and not just interested in the sale. I want someone who will question me because they want to know that their tortoise is going to a good home!!!

    Tidgy's Dad, I love your picture! Very cool!
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  20. oxfordmark

    oxfordmark New Member

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    Hey

    I have wanted a Tortiose since i was a child.

    I have had tropical fish in the past, but would really like to consider getting a tortoise.

    Just a few questions:

    1) What tortoise would you recommend getting, ideally one that doesn't get 2ft big?
    2 Can a large fish tank be used?
    3) Apart from the tortoise table (is this suitable? http://www.evolutionreptiles.co.uk/...rtoise-housing/vivexotic-viva-tortoise-table/), what other items do i need to buy (light, heat, substrate etc...)? Just so i can look at costs
    4) We have a cat, and the tortoise table i am looking at is open, with an enclosed area to the side, is this ok? or worth getting a lid (with holes)?
    5) Are tortoise's easier to look after than tropical fish?
    6) Can you let the tortoise roam around the living room and garden obviously supervised at all time?

    Thanks in advance.
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