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Children and tortoises?

Discussion in 'Debatable Topics' started by yillt, Jan 23, 2017.

  1. GingerLove

    GingerLove Well-Known Member

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    I would say most kids get bored or move on in life (or grow up and get married like my siblings) so they can't handle the animal anymore. But then every now and again, one comes along who's committed. Way to go @yillt ! I hope you'll always be with your little buddy . I know I got my tortoise at a very transitional time in my life (maybe not the smartest idea) but I've still got her and I am confident that I will have her until she dies (or I do!!). I'm sure that with your type of commitment, you'll be able to keep your tortoise with you even during transitional times.
  2. RosieTortoise

    RosieTortoise Member

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    It really depends on the child. I work at a pet store. I take the time to get to know the family purchasing the animal to see if I can get a feel for how they will care for the animal and how long they will likely have it. Kids that just want a pet NOW, I usually recommend something that wont live long (hamster) and that will give them great joy for the time that they are able to dedicate to the animal. I also make it very clear what is required for the animal and send them home with lots of environmental enrichment goodies. (Sometimes I just go with what I can tell the parents will enjoy caring for, often they end up caring for the animal anyway. And often they fall in love with the animal after having it for a little bit. :) ) But, I can tell when a child is truly excited and will dedicate their time and energy to caring for the animal. These kids often come back to the store and tell me all about the pet that I sold them and tell me how he/she is doing. I love to talk to these kids and I am proud of them for taking the time and energy to truly care for an animal. It shows that they are very mature and have great empathy. I actually know a 16 year old that has been breeding and caring for fish and a variety of animals for a long time. He is a wonderful animal caretaker and a great kid. I really feel that it depends on the person. I commend you for being so good to Billy and staying with the hobby, your tortoise will give you great joy for many years to come.
    saginawhxc and GingerLove like this.
  3. Tidgy's Dad

    Tidgy's Dad Well-Known Member

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    I have had the pleasure of meeting several responsible, intelligent teenagers on this forum who are happy to learn, teach and share their experiences like any other member.
    I have the privilege of being able to call one or two of them my friends. They are treated with the same respect and kindness as anyone else.
    Some children make excellent tortoise keepers. Some lose interest and become a danger to their pets. Some think they know best and won't listen to advice.
    Same as adults.
    TammyJ, GingerLove, Tom and 1 other person like this.
  4. TheSulcata

    TheSulcata Active Member

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    I am also 14, and just joined this forum 6 or so months ago. I do believe I will be on this forum for the rest of my tortoise career. I really do love my sulcatas, and intend to keep them for as long as I (or they) live. Thx for starting this topic!
  5. TammyJ

    TammyJ Well-Known Member

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    I am now 68, and have kept animals of one kind or another all my life. When my sons were around 8 and 11, they convinced me to get them a baby green iguana. Then another one. Now, many years later, I am the sole caretaker of 2 adult male green iguanas who will be cared for by me until I die or they do.
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  6. Carson

    Carson Member

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    I can agree with this in some ways. I am 15 and I just joined. My stepdad won't allow me to purchase a tortoise, because I haven't really showed dedication to any other of my pets. I think I have finally found a pet that I am truly fascinated in, and that is a tortoise. If only my step dad could see my search history, because all he would see is thousands of websites about tortoises, and how to care for them. There are so many stereotypes about teenagers, but some of us teenagers are different and we aren't like the rest. I am really glad that I have found tortoise forum, it is a great community, and it makes me happy to see everyone helping others. It is a community that brings people together which is something that we need in this divided world.
  7. Cowboy_Ken

    Cowboy_Ken Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Looking back some 48 years or so, I got my first tortoise. I'm guessing at the age part, I'm 55 now and I got it when in 7th grade. Prior to that I had already had plenty of reptiles as pets. I had a way cool mom that saw she had a son that could and would except the responsibility. That hankering is still strong with me to this day. Heckfire, one evening my mom came home to find a pet caiman in the spare bathtub! I didn't get to keep it, she sent me back to the pet store with a note scolding them for selling a caiman to a second grader and told them to trade it for a gophersnake and cage. I'll write more later.
    I think here that important part is to know your kid, and be willing to learn with them as they learn themselves.
    TammyJ, Yelloweyed, cmac3 and 3 others like this.
  8. Carson

    Carson Member

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    Very true. My mom is the same way but not my step dad, he believes that you can't get something if someone else can't, my stepsister isn't allowed to get a fish and so I guess that means that I can't get a tortoise, even though I am 15 and my stepsister is 12.
  9. majxmom

    majxmom Member

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    I was five years old when my dad brought Barstow home for me. I'm 58 and we still have him. We already had a dog, and I had to help clean up and care for him, so I was used to a more demanding pet already. My parents were pet lovers and they always made sure the kids were caring for their pets correctly. I think pets help children learn responsibilities, but the parents have check daily to make sure the animal is kept in good conditions. Many of my friends growing up had animals that lived fairly short lives or suffered unnecessary tragedies because no one made sure that they kept their animals well-cared for, safe and secure. All of our pets were long-lived so I think my parents found the right balance of checking up yet leaving the chores to us.

    A CDT is pretty low maintenance. Reading some of the posts from people who have other breeds of tortoises, I would say that many of those breeds should not be given to children because they are challenging for adults to manage. But overall, I think a tortoise is a fine pet for children that can be trusted not to sit on it, tap it insistently, or leave a gate open.
    TammyJ, Cowboy_Ken and Tidgy's Dad like this.
  10. Cowboy_Ken

    Cowboy_Ken Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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  11. Jrob

    Jrob New Member

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    I have been an animal lover my entire life especially dogs, cats and reptiles. I kept many lizards as an adult, but I have gone back to my first love, tortoises.

    I have 4 kids and my youngest has the same zeal for pets as me. Maybe, she will become a vet or in some other way make a difference for tortoises and other animals.
    Cowboy_Ken and TammyJ like this.
  12. Crazy Tortoise

    Crazy Tortoise Member

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    I think its great because when I was 8 I took on the responsibility of a Oscar and he is still with me today comming on to his 11 b-day, it Just takes a little bit of courage and some studying for a kid to become an expert
  13. JoesMum

    JoesMum Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    We've had Joe since my husband's 7th birthday in 1970!

    I don't say children shouldn't have tortoise, but there are factors that must be considered by anyone getting a tortoise.

    My take on this @yllit:

    - Do you have the space, time and money to care for this animal? Let's face it, there's more to care than a patch of grass and a few lettuces.

    - What will you do when you go away on vacation? Do you have trusted family or neighbours that you can rely on? Torts don't travel well and they can't be put in kennels like a dog.

    - If you are planning to go to college, where you probably can't take your pet, will your family be prepared to take on care of your pet? Care may have to continue after you graduate until you can get a suitable home (that took us 5 years post-graduation!)

    - If you're a parent buying a pet for a very young child, stop kidding yourself that anyone other than yourself is responsible for caring for it. Torts are not cuddly, they are happiest with 4 feet on the ground; chances are your child won't keep interest in it 24/7/365.

    - If you're an older child wanting a pet, have a full and frank discussion with your family. Show you have done your research and know the costs, the difficulties and the limitations as well as the nice bits.

    - Like it or not, the fact that a tort will live for at least 50 years with correct care is a big factor. Your life will change many times during your pet's life. Unlike the decision to start a family, where you can have reasonable expectations that the child will grow up and leave home eventually, you cannot have the same expectations of your tort. That pet will be with you at your home for life. It does have to be considered.

    It is a big undertaking even as a mature person who has lived in the same home for the last 20 years with a tort that largely looks after himself these days.

    When we were at university and subsequently moving rented home every 12 months, it was just as well my now in-laws were able to continue care of Joe.
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  14. counting

    counting Active Member

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    I'm going to put this out there re. Kids and pets. When I was in elementary school a feral cat showed up on our doorstep. Flea ridden, starving little thing and wild. She bonded to me and I was an awkward kid who related more to animals than people. I was more often than not outside covered in mud with a collection of toads and salamanders I made pets of. Anyway, the cat became mine. Had her through difficult times. There's pictures of her getting her teeth brushed by me at night and sleeping on my chest. As a teenager I dated and became a little more self involved and certainly my attention wasn't what it once was. I went to college and got a 2 year degree. I dated, broke up. Moved 4 times. Got married. I've got 3 little boys aged 3.5, 2 and 4 months. Sleeping beside me is my cat. She's 19 years old. Her health isn't what it used to be. But she's given me 18 good years of her life and I've owed it to her to keep the promise I made when I adopted her.

    Don't doubt the dedication of children. Their interests might pull them away for a time but I think in the end if the bond is there, it can be for a lifetime.
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  15. Cowboy_Ken

    Cowboy_Ken Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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  16. mike taylor

    mike taylor Well-Known Member

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    Good point Ken. All my boys know about reptiles because they've always been around them . If anyone has met my boys they can tell you . They love them . I went out to Kelly's with two of them now 16 and 14 an you couldn't keep the away from helping . Pets as children I thinks it's important part of growing up .
    Cowboy_Ken and saginawhxc like this.
  17. TammyJ

    TammyJ Well-Known Member

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    This is really great! Thank you.
  18. Stuart S.

    Stuart S. Well-Known Member TFO Supporter

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    That's how it started for me. I wouldn't want my daughter raised any other way.
  19. Taylor T.

    Taylor T. Active Member

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    I believe that I am in very similar situation as @yilt. I am 13 years old, have just one tortoise that I have had for almost three years I love him dearly, and wish to keep him for as long as he, or I live.
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