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Breeders??

Discussion in 'Aldabra tortoises' started by jjaymeza, Apr 21, 2018.

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  1. Salspi

    Salspi Active Member

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    It’s hard to believe that people don’t understand why getting an imported Aldabra is a crazy risk to take.
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  2. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    We are talking about CBB offspring from LTCs here. Its not like he imported them last week. Most of Aldabraman's stock has been in this country for decades. And even if they weren't, we aren't talking about his adults, we are talking about buying little ones.

    Ben, how old are you? How long have you been keeping tortoises? Were you in the reptile trade back in the 80s and 90s when we were still importing WC everything and when the CB revolution was taking place? I'm just trying to gain some perspective on where you are coming from.
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  3. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    What else do I need? Let me list what I need:
    • I need an animal with a known history.
    • I need the breeder to be able to tell me exactly what that history has been since the day it hatched.
    • I need to know that the animal was kept well hydrated.
    • I need to know that the animal was fed the right foods.
    • I need an animal that has not gone through the rigors of international shipping.
    • I need an animal that didn't come from a warehouse or shipping container where it was exposed to numerous biological threats.
    • I need a breeder with a known stellar reputation amongst his peers. This has nothing to do with the reputation of the seller or broker.
    • I need a breeder that I know and has posted hundreds of pictures of his operation allowing anyone to see and evaluate his care and feeding practices.
    • I need the peace of mind that comes from a domestically bred CB animal from a reputable breeder, vs. the uncertainty and substantial risk that comes with an import.
    Can a domestic breeder do a bad job? Absolutely. Look at the majority of sulcata breeders in this country. I wouldn't take free animals from most of them. We aren't talking about those breeders. We are talking about Aldabraman. He's not some random guy with a couple of tortoises in the backyard that doesn't know what he is doing.

    Conversely, can an importer be a good guy and also stand behind quality animals? Sure they can. But there is still no contest here. There is substantially more risk with the import.
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  4. ben awes

    ben awes Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Tom, I think I’ve been pretty clear about where I’m coming from. I don’t believe that just one supplier in the country deserves recommendation. Is he the best - seems like it. Is he the only source, no. Obviously people need to do their homework, but there are good importers, it’s as simple as that. You simply can’t say that it was ok for you to purchase imports back in the day, but not anymore. That is basically what you are saying when you say “wait for (this breeder), trust me on this”. I just took exception with the way that’s worded, especially since to made that comment after I provided two alternative names that I’ve had a good experience with. I know that you want what’s best for people and the animals - so do I. Are Aldabraman’s animals safe - yes, foolproof, no. My experience say’s it’s also safe to purchase from others as well, foolproof - no.

    I’m 54 Tom, been raising torts for 15 years, bred African P. P. Leopards (indoors) for 10 years.
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  5. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Thank you for sharing where you are coming from.

    I never said it was ok to purchase imports back then, or not. Its simply the way it was. There was no other choice for most species. Likewise, I'm not saying its ok or not okay now. I have no problem with importing animals in sustainable numbers when they are housed and transported correctly. My point, and the whole point of this thread is to recommend where a new tortoise keeper should get their animal.

    For Aldabras, there is no better person or place to get them than from Aldabraman. That is my recommendation to anyone anywhere, and I will stand by that. In general, I will always recommend a domestic CB animal over an import. This doesn't mean importers are bad, or that every transaction ends in disaster. But there are far fewer risks with a domestic breeder, and a better outcome is very likely.
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  6. JustClick

    JustClick Member

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    I believe “import” in the traditional sense referred to wild caught specimens. To my knowledge, the current imported aldabras are captive bred/hatched at facilities near Mauritius/seychelles then imported once they reach the 4” size.

    It all comes down to availability and everyone would agree that Aldabraman’s offspring are first class. But most of the time they aren’t available. Leaving most to purchase imported animals. Not because they’re a better deal, in fact us bred animals are cheaper when available because they are smaller, 2.5”-3”.

    If us bred hatchlings were produced enough to meet the demand then that’s all anyone would buy. Obviously we haven’t reached that point yet.

    Bob Clark is the other US source for aldabras and he just had a clutch for sale at the end of February. You’d never know unless you watch his Facebook page.
  7. ben awes

    ben awes Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    My understanding is that in the US our 4” rule, intended to benefit the animals, actually severely limits the number that are imported because overseas breeders can sell them at a much smaller size in other counties that don’t put minimum size requirements on them. This also must contribute to imports being more expensive? This has been what I’ve heard from importers.
  8. JustClick

    JustClick Member

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    I think you’re correct in that other countries don’t have the 4” rule. As far as the ones we get here being more expensive because of it, I’m not so sure.

    My guess is that the demand outside the US is less than the animals produced and we simply get the leftovers. I say that because if there is no 4” rule elsewhere and enough demand, there is no reason overseas breeders would spend the time to raise them to 4” when they could sell them all fresh out of the egg. Unless, we are paying a premium, which I doubt, or there isn’t enough demand elsewhere.

    Another reason i feel we get “leftovers” is because of the abonormailites many of the imported animals have. Split/double/divided scutes/missing toenails, etc.

    That being said, there seem to be an equal number of “perfect” specimens available here if one is willing to pony up the extra dough.
    jjaymeza and ALDABRAMAN like this.
  9. NorCal tortoise guy

    NorCal tortoise guy Well-Known Member

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    I don't know whether or not we pay a premium but I did talk to an importer about getting a 4" tortoise and he said it was really hard to get small ones because of the 4" law. He said he had to buy the tortoise at hachling size and have the seller hold them untel 4" and then import them beacuse otherwise they all sell before reaching 4"

    ether
  10. ben awes

    ben awes Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    I was told the demand outside the US was high and that they could sell everything outside the US. Who knows. I think we do pay a premium - especially if we are buying 4” animals and others smaller. I would suspect that they want to send some here to keep the market interested. If everyone had to wait two years to get an 4” local bred, many would lose interest.
  11. JustClick

    JustClick Member

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    That’s interesting, I hadn’t considered that. Seems risky for the seller to keep and care for an animal for 6 plus months that’s already been paid for.
  12. JustClick

    JustClick Member

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    I agree. The availability of US captive aldabras is unpredictable at best. I see nothing wrong with an imported captive bred specimen given a trustworthy seller. The day to day care of the animal to that size is unknown but it’s appearance should be a good indicator. Let’s be honest, a 4/5” tortoise that has good growth and no visible issues is probably good to go.

    There is no way I’d spend 4 figures on a tortoise without many detailed photographs of it. Which seems to be common practice of the importers I see.

    I’d prefer a US bred animal just to get it at the hatchling size and get it started my own way. But if/when a person is ready to purchase and none are available, a thoroughly inspected import animal would fit the bill. In my opinion.
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2018
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  13. ALDABRAMAN

    ALDABRAMAN KEEPER AT HEART 5 Year Member

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    ~ That is true, for quality flawless hatchlings.
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2018
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  14. ALDABRAMAN

    ALDABRAMAN KEEPER AT HEART 5 Year Member

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    ~ The import sources that many reference here simply buy quantities and resell them with a good markup. They are strictly financially driven, this is a business for them and it totally makes sense. I follow the markets very closely and as a good rule the US retailers seem to have a 100% markup per tortoise.

    ~ For full disclosure, we have sold to several US retailers.
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2018
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  15. JustClick

    JustClick Member

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    That was my understanding as well, however I didn’t think it would be a 100%. Lol.

    I realize all they are is the middle man. But do seem to provide detailed info about each animal and make that available to buyers.

    I believe an individual can import 1 animal as a pet without too much hassle as far as paperwork but it’s not cost effective for overseas sellers to ship one. Which drives the business of quantity purchases that you mentioned. I can’t blame them for taking advantage of the opportunity.
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  16. ALDABRAMAN

    ALDABRAMAN KEEPER AT HEART 5 Year Member

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    ~ I can say with somewhat certainty that there are four sources that are having current success with fertility in the aldabra species. Two are very private and rarely sell any babies to the general public. Most know of Bob Clark, he has been successful in a partnership with a zoo. I think when things may get confusing at times is when we cross a hobby with a business. Our program is based on passion, and the hatchlings are a byproduct. Our success levels are fantastic, with that some kind of business model needs to be involved. What i always tell folks that call is that if you are wanting a hatchling and we have no surplus is to go in person and pick one out. I always tell them what to look for and what to avoid if possible. I can also say that i have tons of negative e-mails regarding folks purchasing from other sources. I am not willing to share them, however what Tom as indicated is true for any breeder that is not financially driven and has sincere passion and love for what they do.
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  17. ALDABRAMAN

    ALDABRAMAN KEEPER AT HEART 5 Year Member

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    ~ Yes, sometimes more.
  18. ALDABRAMAN

    ALDABRAMAN KEEPER AT HEART 5 Year Member

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    ~ Yes, these importers usually purchase a minimum of twenty to help offset the transportation cost, etc. This is all factored into the end purchase price.

    ~ There are several overseas sources that will ship to the US.
  19. ALDABRAMAN

    ALDABRAMAN KEEPER AT HEART 5 Year Member

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    ~ There's a market, otherwise they would not import and sell them.
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  20. ben awes

    ben awes Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Obviously you are an expert in the field and have been successful because of your passion for the species. No one can argue. You obviously are also a good businessman. That being said, being financially driven does not equal poor quality animals - it simply doesn’t. The same is true the other way, having passion does not equal high quality animals. It might however be the case that those importing right now are not passionate about it, but that’s not my experience. It would be an excellent business model to place high quality care of Aldabra “hatchlings to 4 inches” a top priority. You can have passion and have a business. I simply took exception the idea that only local bred are safe.

    You said you’ve received lots of negative emails - I have no reason to doubt it. Are these people that have turned to you because they want better results the next time? What about the people, like me, that have had a good experience with imports? Are they sending you emails telling you about their positive experience? Id be interested to know.

    I also have no doubt that the US is often getting the leftovers. They’re do seem to be an inordinate amount of split scute, at least half of them if not more. That’s got to be a result of our 4” rule. It takes a year to raise a baby to 4”. If they can sell in half that time, who wouldn’t. Those that don’t sell after a while, reach 4” and off they go to the US.
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