Free Leopard Tortoise

Critta

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So I found a fairly large Leopard Tortoise at work about a month ago and had made a post about it here previously. Flyers have been put up and ads have been put on Craigslist and Backpage to try to find the owner. As of yet no one has come forward to claim him as theirs. There have been lots of people offering to take him not knowing what type of turtle/tortoise he is or how big he is since I didn’t post that info. But no one has come forward to say that they lost a large leopard tortoise.

So he has been having free roam of my backyard at home and readily eats the grass, weeds and has all but destroyed most of what I was told is a large patch of Wandering Jew plant. I’ve been supplementing his diet with turnip greens as well since that was the only kind of greens from the grocery I could get him to eat. He loves cantaloupe and will come from across the yard to take it out of my hand. (He only gets about 2 little pieces a week though) He would not touch mustard greens, bell pepper, parsley or anything else. I’m going to post a few more times on Craigslist to see if I can find the owner but I’m not holding my breath on that happening. So I wanted to see if there is anyone in the New Orleans area that is capable of taking care of him in the winter months? I don’t want to ship him anywhere because he is rather large and I’ve never done that before. There is a Repticon show coming up on September 12th and 13th in Baton Rouge and I may try and see if I can find anyone there that would be able to properly care for him.

I’ve been looking through this site since I’ve gotten him and If I can’t find anyone to take him in I will end up building a box that I saw Tom make in his “my best night box design yet” thread. I have a detached garage I could keep the box in and just feed him his turnip greens and maybe have some weeds growing to feed him in a greenhouse that I have access to. I already have heat lamps, UV lights, calcium supplements etc.. as I am not new to the reptile world. I currently have ball pythons and have previously (20+ years ago) had iguanas, kingsnakes, water dragons and even an alligator for a while. I’m just not used to having a large tortoise that from what I’ve read is very intolerant of cold temperatures. I’m not sure how the whole box thing would go over since he is fairly large and when he poops it is usually a lot so that is sort of my last resort if I can’t find anyone that can properly take care of him during the cold months. My 3 year old loves teenage mutant ninja turtles and has become quite attached to the tortoise and loves going out to the yard to check on him. However, he realizes that if the owner comes forward we have to give him back. I really thought someone would have claimed him by now but seeing as no one has and it is getting close to October when the temps start to dip around here I figured I should see if anyone is nearby that would be willing to take him in so that if I still can’t find his owner and now anyone to take him in I can at least have enough time to build something for him to stay in during the winter months. I'm going to give the owner another week or two to come forward though just in case they missed my previous ads for the missing turtle/tortoise I had posted previously.

I would want to see whatever set up you have that you would be keeping him in during the winter months to be sure he will 1. be adequately taken care of and 2. not just be picked up from me only to be sold willy nilly to someone else. Just so it’s clear you would not just be getting him for the winter months but he would be yours to keep. I’m not looking for anything out of this – just a good home for him to go to. If you’re nearby and think you could take him in reply or message me.
 

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wellington

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Where are you located? If it's a female, I could take her. I can't take another male, already have two of them. I have three leopards total. I also have a heated third stall to a garage that we had built last year for our tortoises. I'm in illinois, so unless you are near, she would have to be shipped. Drop me a pm if you want.
 

wellington

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Otherwise, I'm sure there are many active, members that could take him/her, just be sure they are active members. We always have new members that will pop in only when there is a free tortoise to be had. They most likely are only wanting it to resell.
 

Tactical Tort

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Nice tort and cute kid. :D
Where are you located? :)
Can you post a couple more photos? Like his/her underside so we can see if we can figure out make or female? :)
 

Critta

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I'm located in New Orleans, LA. I really don't want to ship for a couple of reasons. I've never shipped a tortoise before and wouldn't even know where to begin with one this size. At least locally, I could go check out their set up and be sure I'm not actually just getting pictures someone pulled off the internet just so I'll ship it to them and then they can sell it.
I wouldn't mind building a box for the winter time for him he's kinda cool to have around the yard. But if there's someone nearby more experienced and already setup to handle him I'd rather go that route.
I'm pretty sure it's a male. There's a pic of his belly in my first thread about him here:
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/help-id-this-tortoise.124124/#post-1149740
 

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wellington

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I can't believe someone hasn't claimed him. If you wish to keep him, it's not really that hard to set up a proper indoor and outdoor enclosure. If you winters are fairly mild, the night box that Tom built would be a good one. Just adjust the size of box and/or heating elements for your areas temps. Everyone here will help guid you through if needed.
 

Critta

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Another video of him coming to get his cantaloupe from my hand.

 

TMartin510

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I can't believe you found one of that size. Some one probably couldn't care for him anymore and released him, I hope that's not the case. He's a cool fella!
seems he may have spiked your tort interest. If so you should consider keeping him if the owner isn't found or come forward, as once he's gone you may wish he wasnt! I'm sure you'll get a ton of advice here if you are down :)
 

Lyn W

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He's lovely, I have a leopard who was unclaimed. He was found in a field and probably dumped because here in the UK they do need the extra heat etc through our long winters - and even our summers with the weather we've had this year.
I was only supposed to be a temp home for him and had no idea what I was doing until I found the TF then he got under my skin and a year later he's still here. I don't have a big garden and worry that he should be with someone who does, but he is growing and healthy and his pyramiding isn't any worse than when I first took him in so he's doing well.
I would worry that he was being looked after properly if I let him go to someone else now and I am so glad you want to check out potential owners to make sure he will have the best care. However you seem to be pretty much on the ball yourself about what he needs so I think he's found a great home with you. They are characters and you will miss him if he goes.
Good luck with whatever you decide - he is lucky you found him.
 

Alaskamike

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I would be very dis- inclined to take it to a reptile show. There are people wandering around - even vendors who are only interested in making a quick buck.
They will tell you anything - great home , lifelong pet etc. but they turn around and sell it quick. To anybody with the $.

Better here on the forum to an established member. Even if you ship. It is not difficult. Fed Ex has boxes made for shipping animals , already marked and insulated. A variety of sizes. All you have to do is measure and weight your tortoise. Go in and get the right box. They will tell you price to any zip code based on weight and size.

You put the animal in the box surrounded by somthing like spagum mulch so they can't move much. And they deliver overnight.

My experience has been they are very reliable. And torts arrive no worse for the trip.

You can send the receiver the cost of shipping and they can pay you with PayPal or a check
Then you send him.

I'm sure you'd rather he go to a quality home than take chances with Someone just because he is local.
Not to say a local person couldn't be great. But shipping is not a big risk to the tort IMO when done this way.
 

Critta

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I actually had no intention taking the tortoise to the reptile show at all. I was going to take my 3 year old to the Repticon in Baton Rouge because they don’t have the one locally anymore. I was going to see if they had any reptile rescue groups or anything available to take him in – I wasn’t going to look for vendors or anything. There’s no way I was bringing him to the show because I’m sure I’d hear everything under the sun just so someone to get their hands on him. Plus, after my experience with taking him home the day I found him I sure don’t want to be in the car with him for around 2 hours to get up there anyway. From when we brought him inside at 10am until I left work about 5pmhe had pooped 4 different times and I had to wash the large Rubbermaid container as well as him each time because it stunk so bad. On the way home (which is about a 30 minute drive) he pooped again and I had to roll all the windows down and let my car air out when I got home. So spending 2 hours in the car with him is definitely out of the question unless I knew I would be dropping him off at his new home for good.

As far as shipping goes and I why I want to find someone locally – well that’s for several reasons.

First, like I had said before I wouldn't even know where to begin to ship something like that. I wouldn’t want to have him all cooped up in a sealed box and then have him pooping like he did the day I found him. It would be a mess and possibly and really stinky mess depending on how well the box would need to be sealed. The best way to describe it I guess is when he goes – it’s like 4 or 5 large owl pellets but instead of animal parts and fur it’s all grassy material. I wouldn’t want to have him in a container full of poop for a day smashing it all around like he did the first day.

Secondly, and more importantly – I’ve lost all faith in commercial carriers to be able to deliver an important package even when sent overnight. I’ve been burned so many times by both UPS and FedEX and not on simple ground deliveries but on very important need to get there “PLEASE don’t lose this” shipments. UPS burned me on a shipment of DNA samples that I needed to get to the University of Hawaii as part of my thesis research. Needless to say – they lost my package and to my knowledge have never been able to locate it. So thanks to them I lost 3 months of research since I needed to collect all new samples and extract DNA etc… FedEX is no better. Where I work we send DNA samples Priority Overnight to Harvard every 2 months or so and in the last 2 years they have either completely lost or delayed delivery by 2 days at least 3 packages that I can remember. So I will not give either of these companies a live animal to deliver in a timely manner – especially a large tortoise crammed into a box.

Lastly, if I can’t find a local rescue organization or someone somewhat locally to take him I’m more than capable of taking care of him full time. I have a 60x115 backyard which is completely surrounded all around by a 2ft deep concrete chain wall and 6ft wooden fence. He has free reign of the backyard since there’s no chance of him escaping. About 40x100 feet is covered by grass, hibiscus bushes, Wandering Jew(which is believe is actually called spiderwort) and a blueberry bush and the rest is concrete. There are plenty of areas of shade throughout the yard - a covered area next to my detached garage, my son has a 15 foot trampoline where the tortoise likes to hide out underneath in the grass, as well as various other spots he like to just “chill out” in. So he’s pretty much living like a king out there now I just would’ve like to have given him to someone that is already set up for handling a large tortoise during the winter. But if need be I’m more than capable of making one of Tom’s boxes for him to stay in during the winter. I’m not exactly tortoise savy but given the present situation I’m willing to try and make it work.

My son decided to name Leonardo. Here’s a clip of him enjoying a little bit of turnip greens out in a heavy rain yesterday.

 

Lyn W

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I actually had no intention taking the tortoise to the reptile show at all. I was going to take my 3 year old to the Repticon in Baton Rouge because they don’t have the one locally anymore. I was going to see if they had any reptile rescue groups or anything available to take him in – I wasn’t going to look for vendors or anything. There’s no way I was bringing him to the show because I’m sure I’d hear everything under the sun just so someone to get their hands on him. Plus, after my experience with taking him home the day I found him I sure don’t want to be in the car with him for around 2 hours to get up there anyway. From when we brought him inside at 10am until I left work about 5pmhe had pooped 4 different times and I had to wash the large Rubbermaid container as well as him each time because it stunk so bad. On the way home (which is about a 30 minute drive) he pooped again and I had to roll all the windows down and let my car air out when I got home. So spending 2 hours in the car with him is definitely out of the question unless I knew I would be dropping him off at his new home for good.

As far as shipping goes and I why I want to find someone locally – well that’s for several reasons.

First, like I had said before I wouldn't even know where to begin to ship something like that. I wouldn’t want to have him all cooped up in a sealed box and then have him pooping like he did the day I found him. It would be a mess and possibly and really stinky mess depending on how well the box would need to be sealed. The best way to describe it I guess is when he goes – it’s like 4 or 5 large owl pellets but instead of animal parts and fur it’s all grassy material. I wouldn’t want to have him in a container full of poop for a day smashing it all around like he did the first day.

Secondly, and more importantly – I’ve lost all faith in commercial carriers to be able to deliver an important package even when sent overnight. I’ve been burned so many times by both UPS and FedEX and not on simple ground deliveries but on very important need to get there “PLEASE don’t lose this” shipments. UPS burned me on a shipment of DNA samples that I needed to get to the University of Hawaii as part of my thesis research. Needless to say – they lost my package and to my knowledge have never been able to locate it. So thanks to them I lost 3 months of research since I needed to collect all new samples and extract DNA etc… FedEX is no better. Where I work we send DNA samples Priority Overnight to Harvard every 2 months or so and in the last 2 years they have either completely lost or delayed delivery by 2 days at least 3 packages that I can remember. So I will not give either of these companies a live animal to deliver in a timely manner – especially a large tortoise crammed into a box.

Lastly, if I can’t find a local rescue organization or someone somewhat locally to take him I’m more than capable of taking care of him full time. I have a 60x115 backyard which is completely surrounded all around by a 2ft deep concrete chain wall and 6ft wooden fence. He has free reign of the backyard since there’s no chance of him escaping. About 40x100 feet is covered by grass, hibiscus bushes, Wandering Jew(which is believe is actually called spiderwort) and a blueberry bush and the rest is concrete. There are plenty of areas of shade throughout the yard - a covered area next to my detached garage, my son has a 15 foot trampoline where the tortoise likes to hide out underneath in the grass, as well as various other spots he like to just “chill out” in. So he’s pretty much living like a king out there now I just would’ve like to have given him to someone that is already set up for handling a large tortoise during the winter. But if need be I’m more than capable of making one of Tom’s boxes for him to stay in during the winter. I’m not exactly tortoise savy but given the present situation I’m willing to try and make it work.

My son decided to name Leonardo. Here’s a clip of him enjoying a little bit of turnip greens out in a heavy rain yesterday.

Aww- I think you should keep him - he has a name and seems very much at home with you. You will only worry about him if he goes.
 

Critta

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Mam, if you could say where you are located again I would most likely be able to drive there to get him

I don’t want to come off seeming like a jackass but:

First – I’m not a mam. I’m a guy.

Second – I’ve said it in 2 different posts within this topic already – I’m in New Orleans, LA.

Lastly – I know you said you could probably drive down to get him. However, after looking through your previous posts I’m not sure you really know what you’re looking for. You’ve been looking for box turtles, Russian torts, leopard torts all kinds of pretty much everything. From what I can tell you have 4 female and one male eastern box turtle and a group of Russian torts. You also apparently live in Lynchburg, VA. which is certainly out of easy driving distance from New Orleans – a bit more than 900 miles.

You’ve said you have a 10x20 building that you were going to use for keeping your torts in for the winter. Have you actually kept anything in that building before or is that your plan? I’m just asking because with what I assume is a 10x20 storage building the cost to heat something like that at the temps that would be required would be simply astronomical. When I was in college I did my thesis research on an invasive termite species and I had several hundred colonies of them. They were stored in a 8x10 storage building with a 7 foot ceiling , fiber insulation in the walls and the temp was kept at no lower than 76 degrees during the winter here in New Orleans where it is a lot less cold for a lot less time than where you are and it was quite a bit of money to keep that building heated at 76 degrees for about 2-3 months out of the year. I was running a window unit with a heater as well as an oscillating electric heater in the room. They ran pretty much the whole time when it got cold. So unless you were planning on also building night boxes or something else like that I just can’t see how a 10x20 building would be practical even under the best circumstances. Can it be done – has it been done? Yes I’m sure. You may actually have it all done and be all set up for a whole building full of torts. Am I an expert– nope far from it. I’ve only been fooling with tortoises for about 4 weeks now. But not knowing anything about you or your plans or your real life past experiences taking care of large torts there’s simply no way I can say you are either.

I didn’t want to come off sounding as if you’re not capable of handling a large adult tortoise like this. If I did I’m sorry. You may very well be. You’re may be a certified, honest to God, true to life tortoise guru. Unfortunately, I can’t tell that from your 30 or so posts as a new member. Now if you were Tom or Alaskmike and wanted to come drive on down and get him I’d say Please Do and Thanks for taking him. From my few weeks of browsing this site I can tell they are well known established tortoise experts. Based on your distance from me and your lack of “member status” on the boards I don’t see how this would work with you or any other new member for that matter. It might be a long shot but I'm looking for an established well known member who just happens to be close by. Will I find one? Who knows. If not - like I said I'm prepared to take care of him myself if need be.
 

Angel Carrion

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I don’t want to come off seeming like a jackass but:

First – I’m not a mam. I’m a guy.

Second – I’ve said it in 2 different posts within this topic already – I’m in New Orleans, LA.

Lastly – I know you said you could probably drive down to get him. However, after looking through your previous posts I’m not sure you really know what you’re looking for. You’ve been looking for box turtles, Russian torts, leopard torts all kinds of pretty much everything. From what I can tell you have 4 female and one male eastern box turtle and a group of Russian torts. You also apparently live in Lynchburg, VA. which is certainly out of easy driving distance from New Orleans – a bit more than 900 miles.

You’ve said you have a 10x20 building that you were going to use for keeping your torts in for the winter. Have you actually kept anything in that building before or is that your plan? I’m just asking because with what I assume is a 10x20 storage building the cost to heat something like that at the temps that would be required would be simply astronomical. When I was in college I did my thesis research on an invasive termite species and I had several hundred colonies of them. They were stored in a 8x10 storage building with a 7 foot ceiling , fiber insulation in the walls and the temp was kept at no lower than 76 degrees during the winter here in New Orleans where it is a lot less cold for a lot less time than where you are and it was quite a bit of money to keep that building heated at 76 degrees for about 2-3 months out of the year. I was running a window unit with a heater as well as an oscillating electric heater in the room. They ran pretty much the whole time when it got cold. So unless you were planning on also building night boxes or something else like that I just can’t see how a 10x20 building would be practical even under the best circumstances. Can it be done – has it been done? Yes I’m sure. You may actually have it all done and be all set up for a whole building full of torts. Am I an expert– nope far from it. I’ve only been fooling with tortoises for about 4 weeks now. But not knowing anything about you or your plans or your real life past experiences taking care of large torts there’s simply no way I can say you are either.

I didn’t want to come off sounding as if you’re not capable of handling a large adult tortoise like this. If I did I’m sorry. You may very well be. You’re may be a certified, honest to God, true to life tortoise guru. Unfortunately, I can’t tell that from your 30 or so posts as a new member. Now if you were Tom or Alaskmike and wanted to come drive on down and get him I’d say Please Do and Thanks for taking him. From my few weeks of browsing this site I can tell they are well known established tortoise experts. Based on your distance from me and your lack of “member status” on the boards I don’t see how this would work with you or any other new member for that matter. It might be a long shot but I'm looking for an established well known member who just happens to be close by. Will I find one? Who knows. If not - like I said I'm prepared to take care of him myself if need be.
That is the best answer I've ever read. You sir, are so awesome. You very obviously only want what is the bestest best for Leonardo. I'm starting to think that would be you.
 

Alaskamike

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Seems this Leopard chose you. :).
Good fortune with him. I've found that once the right combination of habitat is set up , tortoises are very easy to care for. And unlike many other animals as pets, they likely will outlive you.
You are obviously a very thorough thinking person. He couldn't have found a better fit.
 
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