Need advice on whether to keep my tortoise

GentlemanScarecrow

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Hey, so I've been a tortoise owner for years now, but I'm concerned that I'm not taking good enough care of my tortoise.

My tortoise is a yellowfoot and I named her Tortellini, Lini for short. I got her in 2014 I think. When I got her she was 12 years old, so she's like 19 now. At the time she wound up living at my dad's place and he took care of her most of the time. Eventually I got her back and I've been worried that I'm just not good at giving consistent care to a pet.

So, the people at the store I got her from let her run around the shop all the time, so she's been used to spending time outside of her enclosure from the beginning. This means that whenever I do put her inside her enclosure to get UV light and heat all she does is try to get out. This is very loud and keeps me up all night, so I basically don't ever put her in there. I know that's a problem, but I live in a small apartment in the city and I make sure there's nothing on the floor so that it's safe for her to roam around.

I feed her maybe a few times a week, maybe more or less often, because whenever I try to feed her every day, she just doesn't eat most of it and I end up wasting food and money. When I first got her, the people at the pet store told me to feed her every other day. When I checked in with them a long time later (when I got her back), they told me to feed her every day, but maybe they didn't realize my tortoise wasn't a baby and doesn't need as much food? I don't know for sure, but if someone could help me understand I'd appreciate it.

Anyways, she's a handful, but I love her and she's adorable. I'm at the point where I need to decide if I wanna keep her or give her back to the store I got her from or give her to someone who can take better care of her. Any advice would be deeply appreciated because this has been eating away at me.
 

AgataP

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To be straight forward - no this is not a proper care and yes you should find a loving home for your tortoise.
I can’t imagine not feeding my tortoise, or any of my animals. Some days they all leave good behind and that is OK. Torts are grazers. They eat at will. They sync with the world around them. The sun the moon the hot and cold and so on.

I just don’t think this is fair to the tortoise and if you can’t provide the best care for any reason probably the best solution is to find a new place for the tortoise.
 

GentlemanScarecrow

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To be straight forward - no this is not a proper care and yes you should find a loving home for your tortoise.
I can’t imagine not feeding my tortoise, or any of my animals. Some days they all leave good behind and that is OK. Torts are grazers. They eat at will. They sync with the world around them. The sun the moon the hot and cold and so on.

I just don’t think this is fair to the tortoise and if you can’t provide the best care for any reason probably the best solution is to find a new place for the tortoise.
I guess it's just a difficult choice because I want to take better care of her and keep her, it's just that I need to learn to maintain a routine better. On top of that she seems healthy to me, no pyramiding, she's active, constantly exploring. If she looks dry I mist the air around where she hangs out or let her soak in the tub. I just need to get better at giving her what she needs consistently right? I read that tortoises can go 2-3 years without eating, so why is it necessary to feed them daily? I know I'm probably ignorant about this so please help me understand.
 

KarenSoCal

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I don't know about going years without food. But think about her poor body trying to function with no nourishment. And how miserably hungry she would be!

If you have the food right in your fridge, it's so easy to care for her.

Depending on your schedule, get her food ready in the evening for the next day. Just put it in the fridge. Next morning, you take it out and put it wherever she eats and leave it there. That evening, pick up the dish, wash it, and put the next meal together. It is a very simple process.

No one here is going to approve letting her run all over the apartment. We hear too many horror stories of accidents, objects swallowed, injuries, and even deaths. But we are not there with you. You've made it work for several years, and you seem to have learned how to keep her safe.

If you love her and would miss her, I don't understand why a pile of food once a day is such an issue.

But if you decide to give her up, find a good home for her. A pet shop is no place to live. I would worry that someone would steal her, and not take care of her.

She is not a high maintenance pet. Her requirements are easily met. If you can't manage that, then find someone who can. She's a magnificent creature who deserves respect.
 

GentlemanScarecrow

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Thank you, you're right that I should just feed her every day and make sure to meet her other needs consistently. I want to be a better owner and it really isn't too much trouble.

If I do end up giving her up, I will look for the best home I can find for her, but I would like to point out that the store I got her from is a store sells reptiles specifically and is run by people who really, really care and are capable of taking good care of dozens of reptiles at once, so I'd almost feel safer giving her to them.

Either way your opinion has been really helpful and I'll make sure to keep an eye on her health and step up my level of care.
 

AgataP

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I guess it's just a difficult choice because I want to take better care of her and keep her, it's just that I need to learn to maintain a routine better. On top of that she seems healthy to me, no pyramiding, she's active, constantly exploring. If she looks dry I mist the air around where she hangs out or let her soak in the tub. I just need to get better at giving her what she needs consistently right? I read that tortoises can go 2-3 years without eating, so why is it necessary to feed them daily? I know I'm probably ignorant about this so please help me understand.

Is this even a serious post ?

I understand life throws things at us and sometimes we are not mentally prepared for any of this.
Caring for an animal is a huge responsibility. It takes time, space, money and dedication.

I can’t even begin to understand how one can not feed their animals.

People often have this idea that a tortoise is a great “apartment” pet.
And no it’s not.
I have talked to at least 3 people who were ready to go and get a tortoise because it would be so fun to have in apartment. All 3 decided not to get one after I explained to them why they are not a great apartment pet. I offered they can come over and visit Herbie.

I think as a responsible human the best thing we can do if we can’t provide the best care for our pets is to find them a new home.

As it is a difficult decisions it is made for a well being of the animal.

I have a baby sulcata. Yes it’s gonna be huge but I live in a 2800sq feet house. With a basement that is design for a living space and I already know that my tortoise will not lack anything. We are also planing on moving to a different state in next 1-3 years and because of the tortoise we decided we are going to move to a warmer place.

Sorry this is a long response and it is not to make you feel bad. It is to help you be ok with the decisions that you are going to make.

Possibly in the future life will play differently and you be able to have a space for a tortoise.

Good luck!
 

GentlemanScarecrow

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Is this even a serious post ?

I understand life throws things at us and sometimes we are not mentally prepared for any of this.
Caring for an animal is a huge responsibility. It takes time, space, money and dedication.

I can’t even begin to understand how one can not feed their animals.

People often have this idea that a tortoise is a great “apartment” pet.
And no it’s not.
I have talked to at least 3 people who were ready to go and get a tortoise because it would be so fun to have in apartment. All 3 decided not to get one after I explained to them why they are not a great apartment pet. I offered they can come over and visit Herbie.

I think as a responsible human the best thing we can do if we can’t provide the best care for our pets is to find them a new home.

As it is a difficult decisions it is made for a well being of the animal.

I have a baby sulcata. Yes it’s gonna be huge but I live in a 2800sq feet house. With a basement that is design for a living space and I already know that my tortoise will not lack anything. We are also planing on moving to a different state in next 1-3 years and because of the tortoise we decided we are going to move to a warmer place.

Sorry this is a long response and it is not to make you feel bad. It is to help you be ok with the decisions that you are going to make.

Possibly in the future life will play differently and you be able to have a space for a tortoise.

Good luck!
I'm gonna feed her every day now, and do everything else I gotta do to keep her healthy. Not everyone has a giant basement to dedicate to their pet, and I don't have a sulcata so I don't need that kind of space. I'd rather try to be the best owner I can be before giving her up, so that's what I'm gonna do. If I can't handle it, I'll let go.
 

Ink

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Have you tried the dry food for pellets for tortoises? Mazuri pellets that you can soak in water to feed with greens. You can buy them on Amazon. I am sure am expert can help you better with the diet.
 

maggie3fan

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Is this even a serious post ?

I understand life throws things at us and sometimes we are not mentally prepared for any of this.
Caring for an animal is a huge responsibility. It takes time, space, money and dedication.

I can’t even begin to understand how one can not feed their animals.

People often have this idea that a tortoise is a great “apartment” pet.
And no it’s not.
I have talked to at least 3 people who were ready to go and get a tortoise because it would be so fun to have in apartment. All 3 decided not to get one after I explained to them why they are not a great apartment pet. I offered they can come over and visit Herbie.

I think as a responsible human the best thing we can do if we can’t provide the best care for our pets is to find them a new home.

As it is a difficult decisions it is made for a well being of the animal.

I have a baby sulcata. Yes it’s gonna be huge but I live in a 2800sq feet house. With a basement that is design for a living space and I already know that my tortoise will not lack anything. We are also planing on moving to a different state in next 1-3 years and because of the tortoise we decided we are going to move to a warmer place.

Sorry this is a long response and it is not to make you feel bad. It is to help you be ok with the decisions that you are going to make.

Possibly in the future life will play differently and you be able to have a space for a tortoise.

Good luck!
Back in the 1800's and 1700's the ships that sailed across the ocean put full grown Galapagos tortoises in the hold and used them for food during the months it took to cross an ocean. They did not feed them. Galops can go a very long time without food, but they shouldn't have too. That is where the "don't feed them everyday"mentality began'", Tortoises should be fed everyday.
I totally disagree about giving up your tortoise. I totally agree that you should first try to improve her living conditions. Be inventive to improve her living conditions, I have a tortoise who has constant trouble with respiratory conditions so he is limited in what he can do. I buy a container of Spring Mix, I add mustard greens, kale, radicchio, turnip greens, dandelion leafs or flowers. So I buy that on Sunday, I put some Spring Mix in a bowl, add some of the others stuff and cut it up. So now you've added some stuff to the Spring Mix, not all that stuff, just some. Depending on her weight, depends on how much food you give.
I put several handfuls in their quarters and the tort should graze off and on all day. I soak the tortoises that live inside first thing in the morning, and give them their food. So you now have a bowl of food already made up. So for a few days you will feed from that Spring Mix stuff. How big is she?
 

GentlemanScarecrow

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Back in the 1800's and 1700's the ships that sailed across the ocean put full grown Galapagos tortoises in the hold and used them for food during the months it took to cross an ocean. They did not feed them. Galops can go a very long time without food, but they shouldn't have too. That is where the "don't feed them everyday"mentality began'", Tortoises should be fed everyday.
I totally disagree about giving up your tortoise. I totally agree that you should first try to improve her living conditions. Be inventive to improve her living conditions, I have a tortoise who has constant trouble with respiratory conditions so he is limited in what he can do. I buy a container of Spring Mix, I add mustard greens, kale, radicchio, turnip greens, dandelion leafs or flowers. So I buy that on Sunday, I put some Spring Mix in a bowl, add some of the others stuff and cut it up. So now you've added some stuff to the Spring Mix, not all that stuff, just some. Depending on her weight, depends on how much food you give.
I put several handfuls in their quarters and the tort should graze off and on all day. I soak the tortoises that live inside first thing in the morning, and give them their food. So you now have a bowl of food already made up. So for a few days you will feed from that Spring Mix stuff. How big is she?
She's pretty big, I think she's fully grown, a little bigger than a football. As for what I feed her, I get her kale, mustard, and collard greens, and then different fruit sometimes, like mango and watermelon, frequently apples.
 

maggie3fan

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Well, looks like I may have to eat my words. This is what I just found, I didn't know they got so big.

Yellow-footed tortoises are the largest tortoises on the mainland of South America. They're named for the yellow-orange scales on their front legs. These turtles make a sound like a baby cooing with a raspy voice. They have heavy claws for digging and their strong shells protect them from predators. Though their average weight is between 25 and 35 pounds, some turtles them can weigh more than 100 pounds!

I do not suggest that living in an apartment is ok for a tortoise that gets that big. I'm sorry, that tort cannot live a healthy life being that big kept inside. Maybe you need to change direction. How about we find a TFO member close to Chicago to foster him until your situation improves.? I really am sorry. I am embarrassed, I just didn't know.
 

AgataP

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I'm gonna feed her every day now, and do everything else I gotta do to keep her healthy. Not everyone has a giant basement to dedicate to their pet, and I don't have a sulcata so I don't need that kind of space. I'd rather try to be the best owner I can be before giving her up, so that's what I'm gonna do. If I can't handle it, I'll let go.
For sure. Whatever works best for you and the tortoise.
 

ZEROPILOT

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You've received good information.
I'd like to ad that you need to provide a clear 12 hours of day and night. At the same time every day.
This will teach the tortoise to get into his or her sleeping area at the same time every day, right before lights out and sleep without much movement throughout the night.
Feed every day at about the same time too.
They will learn the schedule pretty fast.
 

queen koopa

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I'm gonna feed her every day now, and do everything else I gotta do to keep her healthy. Not everyone has a giant basement to dedicate to their pet, and I don't have a sulcata so I don't need that kind of space. I'd rather try to be the best owner I can be before giving her up, so that's what I'm gonna do. If I can't handle it, I'll let go.
Obviously not everyone has houses with yards. Say one lives in a 600ft apartment (the size of my first apartment) would you get a 12ft x 10ft sleeper sofa and a CA king size bed?

The minimum space requirement for small tortoise species as adults is 4ft x 8ft. If you cannot provide that, you will never be a good home for the tort.

The tortoise keeps you up at night because it hates its prison. If you let if roam your apartment you soon wont have to worry about your problems with feeding it every day because its going to get sick and stop eating anyway. The floor is probably 5-8 degrees colder than what you feel (what your thermostat is set at). As you already know, heat (80F) must be provided consistently for them to digest food.

As said before many people think tortoise are great apartments pets because they see them at pet stores in little glass cages. Thats where it comes from and you are not alone.
 

AgataP

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When I was little and we RT they were walking around the house - I was a kid and my mom didn’t know better - no help with torts 25 years ago (sh**). Can’t even tell how many times my mom stepped on one by accident. Luckily they spent most of their life outside in the yard and or big enclosure.
The only reason why I decided to have a sulcata and 350lbs of dogs is because I know we have the space and I know we will have more space.

I think possibly if the tort has the food available and a hiding spot it can live a good life.
Maybe it doesn’t sleep at night because it is trying to find food ?

Life gets crazy and sometimes it is hard to know what really is right.

I hope you and your tortoise have the best lives.

Cheers
 
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