1. Welcome! Are you interested in tortoises? If so, we invite you to join our community! Our community is the #1 place for tortoise keepers to talk online. Once you join you'll be able to post messages, upload pictures of your tortoise and enclosure, and discuss any tortoise topic with other tortoise keepers. Get started today!

Which tort species did you choose?

Discussion in 'General Tortoise Discussion' started by Bogie=babyDINO, Jan 7, 2017.

  1. Bogie=babyDINO

    Bogie=babyDINO Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2015
    Messages:
    290
    Likes Received:
    212
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Rancho Cucamonga, Ca
    Just wondering how everyone chose the species they have. There are so many! Different sizes, looks, personality, health requirements! What species do you have and how did you choose?
    TortsNTurtles and Tidgy's Dad like this.
  2. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 5 Year Member Platinum Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Messages:
    65,153
    Media:
    13
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    21,275
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Clovis, CA
    (These ads do not appear for registered members.)
    Many, many years ago, way back in the '50s, we would find tortoises walking around in the street where we lived. Now, so many years later, and knowing so much more about tortoises than I knew then, I'm guessing these tortoises were taken from the desert and brought home to Fresno, and they subsequently escaped their yards because people didn't know how to care for them.

    Way back then, I thought a tortoise was a tortoise was a tortoise. All in all, while we lived in that neighborhood, we found over time 5 tortoises. They were all what I now know were desert tortoises except for one which was very yellow and quite good at climbing out of the cardboard box I had it in. To my untrained eye it looked like the other tortoises except for its color, same size, etc. I'm now wondering if it might have been a Chaco. It was too early to have been a sulcata, as they weren't imported yet. We just tossed them all in the backyard with our in-the-ground pool and fed them kitchen scraps. They were lucky that there was a lot of grass in the yard because we fed them mashed potatoes and gravy, salad with the dressing on it, spaghetti, bread, etc.

    When we moved to the country in the '70s I put them all into a nice area with a T-post and chicken wire fence. By the next morning they were all gone.

    Fast forward to the '80s and I joined a Herp club. I was very much amazed to realize that tortoises from other countries didn't look like desert tortoises.

    But to answer your question, the first real pet tortoise I had was when my son came home from the service and he started rescuing box turtles from pet stores that weren't keeping them properly. Someone at his work found out he liked turtles and brought him a female desert tortoise that their dad had hit with the tractor as he was discing between the grape vines. Mi-Shelle had a big diagonal cut across her shell. The dad brought her into the house, cleaned out the cut and packed it with new Play-doh.

    When my son got a rottweiler pup and the pup wouldn't leave the turtles and tortoise alone he asked if I would take them. Of course, I did.

    This was still before much was going on with computers, and I didn't have one. But I joined many clubs across the nation the main one of which was the National Turtle and Tortoise Society based in Arizona. I got monthly newsletters and that's how I gained my initial knowledge about turtles and tortoises.

    I still have my first tortoise, Mi-Shelle. I estimate she's about 90 years old, and I've had her about 42 years.

    Mi-Shelle is on the left:

    Mi-Shell.jpg
  3. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 5 Year Member Platinum Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Messages:
    65,153
    Media:
    13
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    21,275
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Clovis, CA
    I forgot to mention, we never even tried to find those tortoises' owners. It never occurred to us to do so.
    TortsNTurtles likes this.
  4. RosemaryDW

    RosemaryDW Active Member TFO Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2016
    Messages:
    357
    Likes Received:
    172
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Newport Coast, CA
    We found our Russian tortoise, Adila, in the street. One of many Russian escapees; they have a lot of energy to burn off.

    We were fortunate to have a good climate and enclosure options, otherwise we would have given her to a rescue society. We love having her around--and she tolerates us!-- but wouldn't ever have thought to get one. We're looking forward to taking her out of hibernation in a couple of months!
    TortsNTurtles and Tidgy's Dad like this.
  5. surfergirl

    surfergirl Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2015
    Messages:
    371
    Likes Received:
    261
    Trophy Points:
    63
    I was at a pet store in 1995 and saw a cute tiny blond tortoise they labeled as an african spur thigh, i did not know anything about them and like alot of people purchased him for his cuteness. Fast forward boy did i have alot to learn so now i research the species needs and try to find torts that fit very close to the climate and space we have. If you are limited in financial means i think that also has to be considered. It makes it much easier and cheaper to care for a tort if they can be housed outside for more months a year. My torts love to be outside where they think they are wild. :)
  6. ZEROPILOT

    ZEROPILOT Well-Known Member TFO Supporter Platinum Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2014
    Messages:
    12,843
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    20,938
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    South Eastern Florida (U.S.A.)/Rock Hill S.C.
    About 30 years ago, a freind of mine gave me his pair of Redfoot tortoises. I knew nothing about them. Like him, I kept them outdoors. Together and in a pen about four feet square.
    The male perused the female 24/7.
    I rehome that pair a few years later and have had as many as nine at one time. Currently I have seven.
    I know much more now. And I think my group are healthy and well treated.
    Certainly early on my tortoises had it rough. If it weren't for my living in south Florida by dumb luck with the perfect heat and humidity, things could have been much worse for them and myself.
  7. Bogie=babyDINO

    Bogie=babyDINO Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2015
    Messages:
    290
    Likes Received:
    212
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Rancho Cucamonga, Ca
    Thanks for sharing. Thats very cool how you still have mi-shelle. Love the name too ;)
    TortsNTurtles likes this.
  8. TortoiseWorld

    TortoiseWorld Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2012
    Messages:
    478
    Likes Received:
    25
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Lisle Illinois
    What species do you have and how did you choose?

    I had young Leopards, young Burmese black mountains, young Indian Stars, young Burmese Stars, then sold them all for personal reasons, I live in Chicago suburbs so I have to keep them indoors much of the year so a large growing tortoise would be difficult indoor space wise, so I sold them before getting too attached to them.
    Then after a few years I decided to acquire a 3 CB females of Testudo hermanni hermanni, Apulia Italy.
    They were hatched August 2016 and weight about 35-40 grams. Named Bumble Bee, Goldilocks, and Super Nova, All 3 have different personalities.
    I like them because the y will only grow around 6" I have the indoor space for smaller species size. This species becomes very colorful, bright pastel yellow contrast with jet black, and their skin, scales and face also seem more nicer in detail, smoother than my past tortoises had. I also noticed they are more active, friendly, and outgoing than the tortoise I had in the past. We really enjoy seeing these 3 female grow and do there thing. I was lucky to find this 6' oak wood reptile habitat on kijiji for only $300 that I fixed up for them, I built in a rubber pan under the substrate to keep the habitat dry and the mulch damp, they are thriving with perfect carapaces as you see.
    Good luck with your search.


    group 3.JPG group 8.JPG Habitat 2.JPG Habitat.JPG
    Katashia, EmmaE, Tidgy's Dad and 2 others like this.
  9. TortsNTurtles

    TortsNTurtles Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2013
    Messages:
    1,304
    Likes Received:
    344
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    North East
    I purchased my Russian tortoise from CarolS on the group. I choose the Russian because they are hardy and simple care in my opinion. I wanted a captive bred one that was hardy and not wild caught. I am glad I purchased a captive bred baby from an experienced breeder on the group.Tortuga (changed from Tortellini ) has been a joy not shy at all, hardy , and entertaining as he is active. One of my joys is watching him eat. I love watching my boy eat and he loves to eat!!
    Katashia and Tidgy's Dad like this.
  10. TortoiseWorld

    TortoiseWorld Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2012
    Messages:
    478
    Likes Received:
    25
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Lisle Illinois
    Bee

    Attached Files:

    Katashia and Tidgy's Dad like this.
  11. deadheadvet

    deadheadvet Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2011
    Messages:
    693
    Likes Received:
    565
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Cary, NC
    It was about 7 years ago. I was visiting family in Gainesville, Fl and my uncle tells me we are going out to Ray Ashton's place in Newberry to see his tortoises. I'm like o yeah let's go. So we drive out to the middle of nowhere down a bunch of dirt roads and finally come to a gate. Ashton Biodiversity Research center. We get out and there are tortoises pens everywhere. Big natural enclosures. Grass, weeds growing in the pens. Ray had everything.
    Pancakes, Cherry heads, Sri Lankans, Indians. Russians, Leopards both species. So we are wandering around and I said what are those? Ray chuckles and says those are Radiated Tortoises. As soon as I saw them, I knew that was what I would get into. Best decision I have ever made w/ tortoises. I have had a bunch of species, but nothing comes those to the beauty of the radiated Tortoise. 443 female.jpg
  12. lisa127

    lisa127 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2012
    Messages:
    3,551
    Likes Received:
    1,122
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    NE Ohio
    I've loved box turtles since the 70s and still keep them today. My brother had one as a pet in the early to mid 70s which is when I fell in love. My redfoot I adopted from our local reptile rescue because he was outgoing and friendly, even though I've always wanted a leopard tortoise.
  13. Big Charlie

    Big Charlie Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2015
    Messages:
    1,000
    Likes Received:
    818
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    California
    I almost got a box turtle, but at the pet store, whenever I handled them, they pooped in my hand. That didn't sound like fun. Some time later, I happened to be in the pet store when they had received a batch of sulcata hatchlings. I bought one just because it was cute. That was nearly 18 years ago. I knew nothing about what I was getting into. I knew it would get big, but I didn't really think about it. I got a sulcata because that is what I happened to see.
  14. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2010
    Messages:
    35,880
    Likes Received:
    11,807
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Southern California
    For me it is several things.
    1. Personality: I like bold inquisitive species. I don't care for shy species that hide all the time or avoid human activity and contact. All the species I have are very outgoing and unafraid when compared to some other species.
    2. Size: I like big tortoises. I do like other smaller species too, but big tortoises are just cool, and I have the room to house them. When the price comes down a bit more now that so many people are breeding them, I'll get some Galops.
    3. Adaptability and hardiness: I don't like species that are fussy, difficult, easily stressed, or prone to sickness and dying. No thank you. I like tortoises that easily adapt to captivity and a wide range of conditions and climates. I like tortoises that have a reputation for hardiness.
    4. Ease of care: I like tortoises that as adults can live outside and thrive in my area.
    5. Ease of feeding: What's easier than grass hay, grass and weeds that grow here all by themselves? Nothing.
    6. Appearance: My stars are simply gorgeous. But so are my leopards. My sulcatas are very pleasing to my eye too… Nothing tops radiata and that's why I have three coming in the next few days.
    7. Return on investment: My days of keeping a single pet tortoise have been long gone for many years. My interest has shifted to keeping groups of tortoises that I think the world should have more of and reproducing them. I invest a tremens amount of time, money, effort, and a lot of blood, sweat and tears into setting up my enclosures and caring for my ever growing herd of tortoises. Its nice when I can sell some babies and at least recover a little bit of what I spend on them. Making new baby tortoises, seeing them pip, watching them eat and drink for the first time is the most amazing thing in the world. Those babies are a reward in themselves.
  15. ZEROPILOT

    ZEROPILOT Well-Known Member TFO Supporter Platinum Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2014
    Messages:
    12,843
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    20,938
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    South Eastern Florida (U.S.A.)/Rock Hill S.C.
    Those are beautiful indeed.
    If I was just getting started again, I might be tempted to get one...or ten:(:):)
    Linhdan Nguyen and Big Charlie like this.
  16. Linhdan Nguyen

    Linhdan Nguyen Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2016
    Messages:
    1,688
    Likes Received:
    2,568
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Maryland
    I've had my russian for almost a year now. I was always fascinated with tortoises. My mom always said no. Living with my boyfriend.. i'm not sure how the conversation came up but he said I could get one :) I did some research online and decided a russian would be a good fit for me right now. I was looking for hatchlings but found none. I asked to be put on the wait list so I could be contacted when one was available.
    My co-worker went to an Aquarium store and they have a small section for reptiles. She saw they were selling russian tortoises (4"). She told me and sent pictures. I was so impatient I decided to buy one. At the store, they tried to sell me box turtle food for the russians.. and he told me I should get 2 because my tortoise could get lonely. I left with only 1 tortoise and some lights. I went home and Max(the tortoise) was not happy.He was banging his shell against his enclosure wall & I was like "oh noo, maybe he's lonely" (Keep in mind I did not find this forum and did not know much other than what the pet store and internet told me). My boyfriend let me get another :D and they were kept together (another mistake, but it wasn't too bad).
    Funny thing is, a few days after. I was emailed stating a baby russian was available. I'm kind of glad I did not get the hatchling though. I was not prepared to upkeep the humidity a baby needs. Now, I am more comfortable taking in a hatchling, thanks to the forum!
  17. maggie3fan

    maggie3fan Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2008
    Messages:
    10,675
    Media:
    92
    Albums:
    4
    Likes Received:
    3,795
    Trophy Points:
    113
    My sister has a large turtle and tortoise rescue in Central California. I was an over the road truck driver with a house a few miles from her. I got injured on the job and she asked me if I would keep this 5 yr old Sulcata tortoise as he was a male and Dudley her large Sulcata was knocking down fences to get at this young male. She said it would only be for a couple of weeks as she would find his 'forever' home. It ended up to be me. It literally love at first sight. and he died at 17. He changed my life. I know that sounds dumb, but most on this forum know my story and know it's true. Now I operate a small special needs turtle and tortoise rescue. It turns out I am good with hatchlings, and the blind and lame. Sulcata are my tortoise of choice. I have 4 right now all under 2 yrs. I'd like to adopt out 2 of them. Gopherus agassizii, California desert torts are my very favorite, but Sulcata are more fun.
  18. Tidgy's Dad

    Tidgy's Dad Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2015
    Messages:
    31,981
    Likes Received:
    68,487
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Fes, Morocco
    The native species here is Testudo graeca.*
    So when I rescued Tidgy , over 5 years ago,that was her species, Greek.
    Best thing I did since marrying wifey.:)
    Dino 18.jpg
  19. Bogie=babyDINO

    Bogie=babyDINO Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2015
    Messages:
    290
    Likes Received:
    212
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Rancho Cucamonga, Ca
    I love all the different stories! Funny how most of us had no idea what we were doing at first. Poor torts. Im so thankful for the tortoise forum!
    Katashia and TortsNTurtles like this.
  20. TortsNTurtles

    TortsNTurtles Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2013
    Messages:
    1,304
    Likes Received:
    344
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    North East
    Oh I love box turtles too! My favorite are the three toes!!! Where I live it is perfect for box turtles since they are native here so thats is another reason I choose them. They can live outside 24/7 all year round.
    Katashia likes this.
Similar Threads: tort species
Forum Title Date
General Tortoise Discussion Need help identifying tortoise species Nov 19, 2016
General Tortoise Discussion What other species of torts can live with sulcatas? Apr 30, 2016
General Tortoise Discussion Breeding Two Different Species of Tortoises Together Apr 6, 2016
General Tortoise Discussion 18 inch long tortoise species? Feb 7, 2016
General Tortoise Discussion CALLING ALL LONG TERM KEEPERS WITH A VARIETY OF TORTOISE SPECIES Nov 3, 2015

Share This Page