New to Tortoises and Looking for a Reputable Breeder

kn169

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Hello! I am new to the tortoise forum and have been researching what pet would best fit with our family. Both my children would love a tortoise and, after much research, I believe a tortoise would be a perfect fit for our family. We do have some space restrictions, so we are looking for the smaller breeds to make sure the animal will be healthy and happy in its enclosure. We would house the tortoise indoors, as we live in NJ. I have seen many positive reviews online about Tortstork and was wondering if anyone has any information regarding this breeder? I am trying to decide between a Russian tortoise, Tuscan Western Hermann's, and Dalmation. I'd love your input regarding any other breeders for these species of tortoise so I can make the best decision for our family and be assured we receive a healthy pet! I am definitely looking to work with someone who is responsive and cares about the well-being of the animals. Thank you so much for any information you can offer!
 

harrythetortoise

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I heard good reviews about the Tortstork breeders from this forum. Also, indian star tortoises and Egyptian tortoises stay relatively small, just to give you more options.
 

method89

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Hermanns, Greeks, and most other Testudos are where you will wnat to focus, IMO.

Tortstork is very reputable and from what I hear a pleasure to deal with. @HermanniChris owns Garden State Tortoise but I'm not sure if you can buy from him since you are in NJ (reptile laws are odd)
 

Ink

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I have a Western Hermanns and an Eastern Hermanns. They are great tortoises. Good luck with whatever you choose. Welcome to the forum. You might think about getting a well started tortoise. Hatchlings can be more difficult. You can search the forum. My opinion, I am not an expert.
 

kn169

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Thank you all for your responses and input! I really appreciate it! I will definitely check out the Indian Star and Egyptian tortoises, as well. NJ is tough with their laws regarding owning turtles and tortoises, so I will have to contact Garden State Tortoise to see if they would be an option for purchasing a tortoise. I also appreciate the recommendation to look for a well started tortoise - of course everyone wants the adorable hatchling because they are beyond adorable, but I can completely understand how we should probably get our feet wet with a more established animal prior to trying a baby. Thank you all, again, for the information! My family is so excited - we have been researching online for a few months now and cannot wait to actually make a final decision regarding a species. I have no doubt I will have SO many other questions! In fact, I'd love to know if you all purchase your supplies locally from a store, or order online. As method89 mentioned, NJ is strict and does not allow the sale of tortoises and turtles, so I do not feel overly comfortable purchasing supplies from a local pet store as they may not be as knowledgeable regarding the needs of this reptile. I hope to speak directly with some breeders and ask their opinions also.

Thanks so much!!!
 

Ink

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Please ask questions on the forum before you purchase supplies ect. if you want. Good luck.
 

Armadillogroomer

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In fact, I'd love to know if you all purchase your supplies locally from a store, or order online. As method89 mentioned, NJ is strict and does not allow the sale of tortoises and turtles, so I do not feel overly comfortable purchasing supplies from a local pet store as they may not be as knowledgeable regarding the needs of this reptile.

Our turtle laws recently allowed 4" and above to be sold in retail. You're right, nobody knows anything outside of reading a vague pamphlet. It is frustrating seeing stores keeping redfoots in desert conditions, I can't even imagine what they are telling the customers.

This is where I recall buying when I first set up for a tort:

Online: Food, cuttlebone, hooded lamps and CHE dome lamps/bulbs, humidity/temp gauge, temp gun, timed power strip, fake plants
Hardware store: More humidity/temp gauges, orchid bark, slate stone, terracotta saucer

I supplement some things with the pet store when I know what I need and I can find a good price. Always check online prices first, all chain pet stores will match their online prices in the store.
 

kn169

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Our turtle laws recently allowed 4" and above to be sold in retail. You're right, nobody knows anything outside of reading a vague pamphlet. It is frustrating seeing stores keeping redfoots in desert conditions, I can't even imagine what they are telling the customers.

This is where I recall buying when I first set up for a tort:

Online: Food, cuttlebone, hooded lamps and CHE dome lamps/bulbs, humidity/temp gauge, temp gun, timed power strip, fake plants
Hardware store: More humidity/temp gauges, orchid bark, slate stone, terracotta saucer

I supplement some things with the pet store when I know what I need and I can find a good price. Always check online prices first, all chain pet stores will match their online prices in the store.

Awesome - thank you!! This is extremely helpful! Thanks for taking the time to respond and provide all this information!
 

Lyn W

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If you look in the Species Specific section there are caresheets for most species, so I would advise you to look at those and then make a decision on which best suits your space and circumstances. The minimum recommended enclosure size for an adult of the smaller species is 4 x 8 feet- but the bigger the better.
Once you've decided, you can then get the enclosure and lamps etc set up before he arrives.

Pet stores are profit driven so often sell unsuitable and unsafe equipment and many give incorrect care advice. Many of us have wasted money on things that we have had to stop using and change, so follow advice here about thermometers, water dishes and lamps and substrate etc and you should have a happy, healthy tort and save money.

If you are thinking of maybe getting more than one tort, please bear in mind that they will need to be kept separately with 2 sets of everything. Torts are territorial and don't like company. They can be aggressive and cause injuries so should never be kept in pairs.

I had a very steep learning curve with my tort and was amazed at the cost and amount of care they need - even after 7 years I still learn something new everyday. They also don't like being handled and are easily stressed, so have a good read and ask lots of questions before taking the plunge. You'll get the best up to date advice here.
 

Tom

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Awesome - thank you!! This is extremely helpful! Thanks for taking the time to respond and provide all this information!
Here is the current and correct care info for the species you are considering:
 

kn169

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If you look in the Species Specific section there are caresheets for most species, so I would advise you to look at those and then make a decision on which best suits your space and circumstances. The minimum recommended enclosure size for an adult of the smaller species is 4 x 8 feet- but the bigger the better.
Once you've decided, you can then get the enclosure and lamps etc set up before he arrives.

Pet stores are profit driven so often sell unsuitable and unsafe equipment and many give incorrect care advice. Many of us have wasted money on things that we have had to stop using and change, so follow advice here about thermometers, water dishes and lamps and substrate etc and you should have a happy, healthy tort and save money.

If you are thinking of maybe getting more than one tort, please bear in mind that they will need to be kept separately with 2 sets of everything. Torts are territorial and don't like company. They can be aggressive and cause injuries so should never be kept in pairs.

I had a very steep learning curve with my tort and was amazed at the cost and amount of care they need - even after 7 years I still learn something new everyday. They also don't like being handled and are easily stressed, so have a good read and ask lots of questions before taking the plunge. You'll get the best up to date advice here.
Thank you very much - I appreciate your honesty. We definitely do not want to go into this blind and I really appreciate hearing from tortoise owners as to what caring for one actually entails.
 

Jan A

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Thank you very much - I appreciate your honesty. We definitely do not want to go into this blind and I really appreciate hearing from tortoise owners as to what caring for one actually entails.
Welcome to the forum! Like you, I don"t have a tort yet. Trying to do my reading & set up the enclosure prior to getting the tort. Lots of good people on here!! Lots of knowledge!! So welcome!
 

KarenSoCal

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Hi, and welcome!

What are the ages of your children? They need to understand that a tortoise is not a warm and fuzzy pet. When it first comes into your home, it's possible that it could take a couple weeks for the baby to settle in. During this time handling should be kept to a minimum. Just a consideration...

When you read the care sheet that Tom linked for you, you will read about a "closed chamber" type of enclosure. Please let us help you with this, and all of the equipment you need. As someone already mentioned, pet stores, most vets, and many breeders will not give you good info on husbandry issues. The members here on the forum truly are the best and most knowledgeable tort keepers you will find anywhere. We will help save you money, but at the same time lead you to products that are safe and work well.

Keeping a tortoise is different from anything you've ever done before! They are unique and delightful. You and your family will have a great time.
 

Yossarian

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Thank you all for your responses and input! I really appreciate it! I will definitely check out the Indian Star and Egyptian tortoises, as well. NJ is tough with their laws regarding owning turtles and tortoises, so I will have to contact Garden State Tortoise to see if they would be an option for purchasing a tortoise. I also appreciate the recommendation to look for a well started tortoise - of course everyone wants the adorable hatchling because they are beyond adorable, but I can completely understand how we should probably get our feet wet with a more established animal prior to trying a baby. Thank you all, again, for the information! My family is so excited - we have been researching online for a few months now and cannot wait to actually make a final decision regarding a species. I have no doubt I will have SO many other questions! In fact, I'd love to know if you all purchase your supplies locally from a store, or order online. As method89 mentioned, NJ is strict and does not allow the sale of tortoises and turtles, so I do not feel overly comfortable purchasing supplies from a local pet store as they may not be as knowledgeable regarding the needs of this reptile. I hope to speak directly with some breeders and ask their opinions also.

Thanks so much!!!


Torts dont play well together. Unless you truly want to keep more than one, your probably only getting one tort in your lifetime, if that is the case, dont go in thinking that you can add more later. I would reccomend not getting a hatchling as a first time owner though, It increases the knowledge required, the cost, and risk significantly.
 

kn169

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Thank you! I am definitely only thinking of getting one tortoise for now. We do not have enough room for two separate enclosures, so it is good to know that you cannot house more than one in an enclosure. I also appreciate the input about purchasing a well established tortoise vs. a hatchling. I can see how it may be a bit overwhelming for a new owner to care for the young tortoise without any experience and ensure it gets a healthy start.
 

kn169

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Hi, and welcome!

What are the ages of your children? They need to understand that a tortoise is not a warm and fuzzy pet. When it first comes into your home, it's possible that it could take a couple weeks for the baby to settle in. During this time handling should be kept to a minimum. Just a consideration...

When you read the care sheet that Tom linked for you, you will read about a "closed chamber" type of enclosure. Please let us help you with this, and all of the equipment you need. As someone already mentioned, pet stores, most vets, and many breeders will not give you good info on husbandry issues. The members here on the forum truly are the best and most knowledgeable tort keepers you will find anywhere. We will help save you money, but at the same time lead you to products that are safe and work well.

Keeping a tortoise is different from anything you've ever done before! They are unique and delightful. You and your family will have a great time.
My children are 4 and 7. We have spoken with them that this would not be an animal they would "pet" or hold. Luckily, they are very gentle and will listen when we tell them the rules of having a pet like a tortoise. That said, I do realize they are children and will have to be supervised whenever they around the tortoise. Thank you for offering to help once I look into an enclosure. I am taking in all the information I am receiving on this forum and discussing it with my husband to determine if now is the best time to add a tortoise to our family. I know I want to purchase one - I just want to make sure we have the room and time to care for the pet. So I truly appreciate the honesty on this forum.
 

Chip's mom

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Hi there! I have a client who had a great experience with Tortstork. I was disappointed I didn't find this forum sooner or do a better job of researching breeders. We purchased a box turtle from Tortoise Town and received an older Hermann's Tortoise. He wouldn't eat for the longest time and is badly pyramided, we are treating him like a rescue tortoise (a $350 rescue!). I've heard much worse things now about them. So do not buy from Tortoise Town! I've had great experiences with Tyler at Tortoise Supply and have purchased seeds for tortoise greens from them.
 

Yossarian

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@Chip's mom if you bought the tort in the last 6 months, I would raise a payment dispute at my bank and allege goods not recieved as agreed. Im sure you have correspondence promising a turtle. Ultimately its a violation of your contract with the merchant and they are not entitled to the money agreed under said contract.
 

Chip's mom

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I've thought about this mostly to flag the merchant, maybe credit cards will not pay them if they have enough disputes filed. My credit card company said it is hard after 60 days, but I'll probably do it anyway.

I told Tortoise Town I would do this and they said, get this: We win 90% of these disputes. So disturbing that they're having so many disputes filed and are still in business.
 
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