How do you know if a breeder is reputable?

Yo Adrien

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I am looking to purchase either a Redfoot or Russian yearling/juvenile and I am unsure how to tell if the breeder is raising them properly just from a website?! I see frequently to avoid "trade show" torts, but a local breeder I am considering will be at a local show here soon. (?) I looked at Garden State Tortoise site and was very impressed, I messaged them and was told they do not have any Russian torts right now.. But I am wondering if I go to a local breeder, then the tort will not have to be shipped and stressed.. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Just want to start out with a healthy young tortoise!
 

leigti

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Unless you can actually go to the breeders house you will just have to rely on the websites or Facebook etc. there are many good breeders of red foot and Russians here on this site. I got my baby Russian from @Jodie. I knew her and had been to her house and saw all her tortoises before I ever got a tortoise from her. However I think she demonstrates what a good breeder should be. Her Facebook site is informative, and she wants to make sure that the tortoises going to a good home with people who know what they are doing or are willing to learn. Anybody can just sell a tortoise, but carrying where they go to is another thing. So whoever you find to get your tortoise from ask questions, about how they raise their tortoises, about care of the tortoise etc. if they're not really into answer them move on.
 

wellington

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My suggestion would be to buy from a breeder that is active on this forum. You know then they have all the correct info.
Otherwise, you need to ask them how they raise their torts from incubation to selling. Then compare to caresheets/info from this forum or ask in a thread if anything is wrong with the way they do things.
 

Tom

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The best way is to find someone who knows both how to start babies properly and also knows the breeder in question. Find people on here who are successful with the species you are interested in and ask them in a private message for recommendations.

Here is how babies should be started:
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/how-to-incubate-eggs-and-start-hatchlings.124266/

Avoid babies from anyone who does not soak them daily and keep them indoors most of the day. Its not good for little hatchlings to be outside all day long, regardless of the climate and the weather.

I don't keep RFs, so I have no personal experience to make a recommendation from, but we have a few good breeders here on our forum. For russians I have personally bought from @Carol S and @kanalomele and highly recommend them both. I've also conversed with @biochemnerd808 about how she starts her babies and I would not hesitate to buy from her either.
 

Yo Adrien

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Thank you for your thoughts and advice. I have been messaging a breeder regarding young Redfoots. He does seem to have some longstanding ties in the Central Florida reptile/amphibian community. Would it be.. improper to name a breeders site and request feedback from anyone who might have had experience with them? I'm new on here and do not want to do something that's frowned upon! :)
 

Tom

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Thank you for your thoughts and advice. I have been messaging a breeder regarding young Redfoots. He does seem to have some longstanding ties in the Central Florida reptile/amphibian community. Would it be.. improper to name a breeders site and request feedback from anyone who might have had experience with them? I'm new on here and do not want to do something that's frowned upon! :)

Not at all. You can bounce names off of us.

If you read that thread I posted, it will tell you what questions to ask too.
 

leigti

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There is a tortoise vendor review section also in the marketplace section of the forum. That might give you a general idea.
 

Yo Adrien

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I have been messaging with Bill Murray (not kidding, and not the actor! lol) at Redfoot Ranch in Florida. I have asked many of the pertinent questions (as suggested above!) regarding young torts, and I think his responses are good. Also, he does not have an issue with me going out to his property to look at his torts and set-ups.. Any advice or feedback is so appreciated!!
 

Andy27012

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checkout Vicki Hale at the tortoise yard.com. I just purchased a group of red foots and had an excellent experience,
 

Kapidolo Farms

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I've been thinking about this question for a day or so.

ALL breeders are reputable. Some for BS and falsehoods, some for following-up and being 'open book' regarding what they do. and all those in between.

It's easier to sort out the extremes. The falsehood guys use other people's images as if of animals they say they are selling, intentionally report information that is false, like age, history of the animals, etc.

One of my favorites is "looks female but no guarantee" - that seller is playing on emotions and perpetuating the idea that females are preferred, as if everyone buying a tortoise will indeed be a breeder/seller at some point. Incubated to be female is the other half of that manure pile of claims. The pivot on TSD is very finite and so the majority of the incubation period is only about 'rate of maturation' not the sex of the animal. If it's large enough to tell, then great, otherwise it's the fun mystery of growing the animal up.

Case in point, sulcatas. Most are incubated to be males, they are the bigger of the two sexes and they won't ever lay those little $20 to $65 dollar eggs. Yet they are still great pets if you have the set-up.

Other species one sex or the other is more desirable because the importation was askew, and most in captivity are still WC, F1 or maybe F2. Egyptians are a good example with this, males are more sought after, as well, they are more fragile and keepers tend to loose them along the way at a higher rate than females.

LTC, another overused horse manure term. Just say how many years or months. No need to indicate LTC - three months, that's an oxymoron. I pointed this out in a post in another venue, and was reprimanded by one of the moderators as "LTC" is not defined. Well, if it's not defined then by default it was improperly used. It was openly admitted by the mod that the term they were defending had no meaningful definition. Well maybe not in tortoise trading, but Long Term does have a meaning in many disciplines. It ought to mean at least 5 years in my ideas of what long term is. But just saying a period of time make abstract BS like 'LTC' have no utility.

History, well that is the big nut to crack, everyone lies, even if they don't know it as the person in line ahead of them may have, it's difficult to sort out.

Another case in point.
I bought a spider tortoise from a guy who was flipping it for another guy who said they got it from a private AZA institution. I contacted that AZA institution to confirm. It was confirmed and a PIT tag #was shared by the institution with me. That prompted me to buy a PIT tag reader. The spider tortoise passed before the reader arrived for me to confirm. I scanned the frozen corpse but no tag was found. I put the corpse in a isopod colony to make finding the tag visual. All non shell and skeletal elements removed. No PIT tag existed in the tortoise. The person who received the animal from the institution forwarded to the person I got it from may have falsely or mistakenly saying is was from the institution and they flip flopped animals?. They carried that info forward, it was wrong. Or was it? I've PIT tagged many 100's of chelonians and many 1000's of mice. Every once in awhile the PIT tag falls out. So the least inflammatory version for this instance is the PIT tag fell out and several people in a chain of ownership did not check to make sure what they said was true.

Blah blah.

All breeders have a reputation. Chat them up. Direct phone conversation preferred to texting and IM or ever better yet talk to them in person. Reptile shows are mixed bag in that the vendors are all a bit stressed with the circus shows can be.

Reading alot here on TFO can be a good place to sort some of all this out.
 

Tom

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I have been messaging with Bill Murray (not kidding, and not the actor! lol) at Redfoot Ranch in Florida. I have asked many of the pertinent questions (as suggested above!) regarding young torts, and I think his responses are good. Also, he does not have an issue with me going out to his property to look at his torts and set-ups.. Any advice or feedback is so appreciated!!

I have not heard of Bill. He could be great, or he could be terrible. The thread I linked should help you understand what questions to ask him.

Some examples:
How often does he soak the babies?
What does he feed them?
What substrate are they on?
How much time do they spend outside each day?
What is the history of the parents?
 

deadheadvet

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Well:
I would state that Will and I are cut from the same cloth. I too am disturbed by some of the lingo that is thrown around in regard to sex of animal, incubated for?, long term captive bred by whom? Looks like? ( at a very young age) It should be more cut and dry.
1. I have kept this animal for x number of months, years. Here is the weight history for proof.
2. Unsexed Tortoise.
3. Laparoscopically sexed male or female.
 

Yo Adrien

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Thank you everyone!! It is SO nice to have so many friendly, helpful people that care so much about these little (and big!) guys! I have been in contact with Vicki Hale and believe I will get 2 beautiful RF hatchlings from her. Must make a few adjustments to enclosure as I was more prepared for a yearling/juvenile with open top. I am a little nervous about fragile young babies, but I do know where to go for any questions I may (will definitely!) have! :)
 

leigti

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Thank you everyone!! It is SO nice to have so many friendly, helpful people that care so much about these little (and big!) guys! I have been in contact with Vicki Hale and believe I will get 2 beautiful RF hatchlings from her. Must make a few adjustments to enclosure as I was more prepared for a yearling/juvenile with open top. I am a little nervous about fragile young babies, but I do know where to go for any questions I may (will definitely!) have! :)

I personally do not think that a pair is a good idea, even with Redfoot tortoises. Three at least. That species tends to get along better in groups than most but I don't think they do well in pairs. Just my opinion.
 

Yo Adrien

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Leigti, I was planning on them being together for the first 12-14 months so I can monitor the levels, then my daughter will be taking one. Are you referring to pairs not getting along for long term or even short term as hatchlings for one year?
 

kanalomele

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The best way is to find someone who knows both how to start babies properly and also knows the breeder in question. Find people on here who are successful with the species you are interested in and ask them in a private message for recommendations.

Here is how babies should be started:
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/how-to-incubate-eggs-and-start-hatchlings.124266/

Avoid babies from anyone who does not soak them daily and keep them indoors most of the day. Its not good for little hatchlings to be outside all day long, regardless of the climate and the weather.

I don't keep RFs, so I have no personal experience to make a recommendation from, but we have a few good breeders here on our forum. For russians I have personally bought from @Carol S and @kanalomele and highly recommend them both. I've also conversed with @biochemnerd808 about how she starts her babies and I would not hesitate to buy from her either.

Thanks as ever Tom
 

skottip

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Let me know if you would be interested in getting some Redfoots from me. I literally have some hatching now and I have some yearlings. Tom has some of my Platynota he purchased from me as babies so I am sure he could vouch for me.
PM me if interested.
 
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