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PALOALTO

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Hi all,

I have been following this forum for awhile, and finally decided to become a member. My family and I (wife and 3 year old son) are thinking of buying a Tortoise. I have a few questions though, and would appreciate any help I can get.

We live in an apartment in the Bay area, California, where we don't have a balcony or yard. So my plan was to house the Tortoise inside, and take him to the park daily, when I take my son to play. He can roam around on the grass for around an hour.
I was thinking of building a small enclosure. We have 33x 40 inches of space in a corner where I can put it, and we were planning to get a Tortoise that doesn't grow up to be too big (e.g Ibera, Jordanian, Hermanns, or my wife's favorite, Indian star). I was thinking of buying the zoo med Tortoise house, but saw some bad reviews of that product. I was particularly worried about the Tortoise spilling the water, and making the wood rot. I guess if I built it myself, I can make the bottom out of plastic or glass. If that space would not suffice, I could make it multi level. (I do have a carpentry background, I'm sure I can make him something really nice :D )


Would a Tortoise make the house smell? can they be trained to poop in a certain spot, where you can clean it daily? Do you just scoop the poop off the cypress bedding?

Thanks in advance!
 

Yvonne G

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Hi PALOALTO, and welcome to the Forum!

A good beginner tortoise would be a steppe (Russian) tortoise. They are readily available in the pet stores and very forgiving of poor care.

Since you plan on outings with the tortoise to the park, it would be a good idea to be sure the grass isn't treated with pesticides or herbicides. I think it would be fairly easy to lug along one of those portable dog fences too. Little steppe tortoises can move out at quite a clip, and might be out of sight in an instant if you take your eyes of it to do something with your son.

In my opinion, a steppe tortoise should have quite a bit of room to wander. So for that reason, I like using an old 4 or 5 shelf book case with the shelves removed. You lay it on its back, line it with a plastic sheet and you almost have instant tortoise habitat.

Well, good luck with whatever you decide. Always nice to see new members here on the forum!
 

tickle

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I wouldn't recommend a star for a begginer tortoise at all.bay area gar's cold so the list of torts you gave all hibernate and are realativly easy to care for and can handle colder weather
I would also go Russian they are most active stars are verry shy .and stress out when picked up.I just got a Russian hatchling and am getting another on Tuesday.I also have a shri lanken star very pretty and cool looking but no were near as active and brave as my Russian hatchling.what about a boxies?northern black wood turtles are also great in cold areas.they can be water or land turf very smart and active
 

Tom

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With your restricted indoor space and no ability to have a secure outdoor enclosure, I would say a tortoise is not the right pet for you. We are a tortoise forum and here to encourage tortoise ownership, but unfortunately they are not for everyone. Tortoises need lots of room to move around. They need spacious indoor and outdoor enclosures(weather permitting, of course). Taking a tortoise to the park daily is not safe in my opinion.

There are other reptile pets that might be better suited for for your space limitations. A Blue Tongue Skink, for example would do fine in your given space. They are easy to feed, friendly and curious, very handleable by children, etc...
 

MasterOogway

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In my opinion, a steppe tortoise should have quite a bit of room to wander. So for that reason, I like using an old 4 or 5 shelf book case with the shelves removed. You lay it on its back, line it with a plastic sheet and you almost have instant tortoise habitat.

love this tip thanks!
 

PALOALTO

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Bay area, California
Tom said:
With your restricted indoor space and no ability to have a secure outdoor enclosure, I would say a tortoise is not the right pet for you. We are a tortoise forum and here to encourage tortoise ownership, but unfortunately they are not for everyone. Tortoises need lots of room to move around. They need spacious indoor and outdoor enclosures(weather permitting, of course). Taking a tortoise to the park daily is not safe in my opinion.

There are other reptile pets that might be better suited for for your space limitations. A Blue Tongue Skink, for example would do fine in your given space. They are easy to feed, friendly and curious, very handleable by children, etc...

I can build it ample space, but it will have to be multi level. As I said, apartments in my area are pretty small. If I get a Russian, or a similar kind that grows to be at most 8 inches, wouldn't such an enclosure suffice? I do appreciate any and all comments, Thanks
 

Spn785

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If you are going to do multiple levels, you might consider a pancake tortoise. They stay relatively small, and having lots of climbing space is perfect for pancakes.
 
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