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Reserchbeforecommitment

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Hello there, my name is Kelly. I have spent the last few weeks researching tortoise care, and this site has been invaluable! You guys are fantastic, honest, real owner experiences and advice! So far I don't think I have posed a single question in the forum box and not gotten a clear, consise, sensible answer. So a big thank you one and all!
A bit about us;
My husband and I are horse trainers, we work exclusively with an international equine athlete training his horses from babies to full grown equine superstars. It is not a job it's a way of life. The job takes up almost all our time and keeps us far from our family's for months and sometimes years at a time. What it gives us back is where the real worth of our lives lie.
Horses just like us enjoy beautiful warm sunny days and as a result we spend most of every year living in the south of Florida. The rest of the year is spent in southern California. Home for my husbands family is Goshen, Kentucky. Home for my family is Bristol England. Excluding England, which I cannot imagine returning to live! We never see a cold day! The grazing in Kentucky is like no where else and the warmth of a Florida winter is luxury at its finest!
We may seem as though we travel too much to be tortoise owners and I will take very seriously any advise against ownership of these wonderful creatures. However when we travel we take 14 horses and all the equipment needed for these individuals, four dogs ( of the very worldly wise unflapable varieity ) one python, one semi, one pick up, one car and three humans. It is quite a feat, the important thing to remember is that this is what we do. I am a English trained veterinary nurse, equine and small animal and have a lifetime commitment to every animal in my care. We do not have children or outside commitments are animals are our lives.
Why a tortoise?
When I was born my dads tortoise " Sunshine" was already on his second generation owner! He had been passed onto him by his grandfather! " Sunshine" was a very old man when he passed, I was a very young girl, and I determined I would share my life again with another ray of " Sunshine" one day. I am blessed with a wonderful family, both my own and my husbands family, are outdoor animal lovers, frequent visitors and animal sitters! However there are many times I wish they were closer, many times a wish I could pick up home and take it with me, perhaps this more than anything is driving me to become a tortoise owner.
My husband Joe, has that enviable quiet in his soul that all animals respond to. He is patiently listening to every new tortoise fact I glean from this insightful forum!
So in a tortoise shell ( hee hee) I am a totally devotee of all animals and will fully commit to the needs and care of any animal in my care. Out of necessity for the 14 horses we always have plenty of space! The grazing is excellent, live our job so there is no away at the office hours, we are surrounded by our animals day and night. The climate is fantastic, our dogs are grown up, exposed to many animals and I don't imagine them to be a problem. We are vegitarian with large vegetable and herb gardens noo children and lots of love.
I would really prefere one tort if possible, perhaps a breed that prefers to live alone? Also I would love to adopt ( will pay fee, it's not about the money) I can see why these bigger guys get to be too much for the average pet owner, but maybe I could offer an unwanted adult tortoise a place.
Thank you sorry it's so long can't wait to hear what you think!

Yours gratefully Kelly

As I have already mentioned
 

Yvonne G

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Hi Kelly:

Welcome!!

So, if I'm understanding correctly, your tortoise would be travelling all the time with you and your horses? In that case, I think you should get one of the smaller species of tortoise. Sunshine was probably a Greek tortoise. That would be a good one for you to look into.

I think a Christmas Tree Storage bin by Iris would be the ideal travelling habitat, then once you get to where you're going to be, you can set up some of those dog fences and let the tortoise be outside.

Tortoises are territorial, however, if you always provide the same travelling bin, have his "furniture" arranged in the same configuration every time, he should become accustomed to it and not be stressed out.
 

Reserchbeforecommitment

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Thank you so much! Yes you are absolutely right, the dogs beds and toys are very important too them, like safety blankets, all is well if they unload to find all their " things " are there too! I will investigate greek tortoises and Christmas tree storage bins thank you. Is the humiditity in Florida a problem for these tortoises? Can he enjoy the out doors too? Also we have lots of space when traveling and where we stay so size is not too much of an issue for us. Ok am off to research thank you!
 

wellington

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Hello, sounds like a great life. The love for animals pours out of your thread. I think a tortoise would be lucky to have you as his or her family. Like stated, one of the small ones would of course be best. Russian, hermann, Greek. Tortoises or loners, so only one wouldn't be a problem at all. Just one thing though. No matter how well trained your dogs are and no matter how many animals they are around, please don't let them be with your tort unsupervised. We have seen too many hurt or killed by dogs, even ones that has been around them for years. Good luck in your search and with your horses and let us know what you decide to get.
 

Jacqui

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Hi and welcome! Have you done any narrowing down the field of what tortoise species your liking? Do you have room to haul another horse? If so, don't rule out the sulcata, especially with your large animal experience. Of course smaller is easier to move. :D Am I understanding you basically live in two locations? The same places year after year? Or is it more nomadic then that? I kept a few tortoises with me off and on, when I was living/working in a semitruck, so the road time itself is not a major issue in my mind.
 

Reserchbeforecommitment

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Hi and thank you!
As our career has become more established we have been able to travel less so now we tend to split our time between south Florida, Kentucky and southern California, a typical loop of these three places would take about 15-18 months. Roughly half of that is spent in Florida the rest split between the other two. When we travel it is all about the miminmum amount of time on the road, horses bodies don't appreciate traveling much. But once we arrive, like a traveling circus, we are all set up in a few short hours, and it looks just like home, only with a different horizon!
Question about sulcatas, if they have accsess to good grazing how much supplementation do they require in the form of leafy greens ect? It's not the size that concerns me but I am trying to get a rough adea of how much roughly they need to consume? Rather like a little pony or a great big show horse? It seems every breed I read about is special and different in their own way, am spoilt for choice! I am sitting here watching a huge Florida storm blow through, since I spent a large amount of time here are their any breeds to be avoided that would suffer because of the damp and humidity? Thank you thank you, I feel like a kid!
 

blafiriravt

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Hello and welcome! A REALLY good person to talk to about Sulcatas is Tom, or Neal. I would PM both. I would recommend a Mediterranean species (greek, Hermann's, Russian), unless you are leaning toward one of the giants. They stay small (8-13 inches), and they have plenty of personality. A quick answer to feeding: most would recommend feeding some nutritional leafy greens, because of the vitamin value. Dandelion, mustard greens, collard greens, kale, arugula, and a tad bit of spinach every now and then. Sullies like to be humid when they are hatchlings (although most species do), but I can not personally speak for how much they eat when they are adults. Quality lighting is a must. If your tort will spend a lot of time in the sunshine, no worries. But you will have to supplement if he/she can't be. I have one yearling Hermann's, and four hatchling red footed tortoises, and spend maybe 10 a week mixing my own "spring mix", for there greens. Both are fed twice a day, with "grazing" opportunities outside daily in the sun.

Someone more experienced should be on to add more, or answer questions I couldn't! Hope this is a good start :D
 

Reserchbeforecommitment

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Does anyone know of any tortoises looking for forever homes in south Florida? Or anyone who would be worth talking to about this. Would like to know of any tortoise looking for a home before I narrow my choices. Can provide large enclosure
here. Thanks
 

Jacqui

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You might PM Greg, Aldabraman, he sometimes takes in a few assorted tortoise to find new homes for. He may have or know of others who have some avaiable for adoption.
 

Reserchbeforecommitment

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Well I never saw that coming! This morning I was telling a friend that I was sadly unable to accept a very kind offer of a tortoise because of the distance between us, and this evening I am writing this whilst grinning like an idiot at a little Russian tortoise that moved in today!
After our conversation my friend mentioned it to another she ran into who said "I wish she'd take my granddaughters tortoise I'm sure it isn't being taken care of now the child has lost interest" our mutual friend then introduced keen-want-to-owner to lost interest family and here we are!
I am so excited! As an animal lover pet owner and veterinary nurse I think she appears to be in good health, as tortoise experts i would love your opinion!
He/or she arrived with freeze dried zilla food and when I placed the first of many delicious fresh green leafy veg dinners I was practically ambushed! The family told me the tortoise was a little shy and I expect him/her to take time to settle to me he/she is beautiful and I am besotted! It was the gusto with which they approached dinner that won me over! Will attempt pic tomorrow and measurements. They ate themselves sleepy and a I can't bare to disturb!
 
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