Should I own a red-foot tortoise? How many?

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dblicher

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Hi, all!

I just signed up for the forum and need advice on whether to become a tortoise owner. It's a decision only I can make, I know; but I'm interested in what you think. Please read to my questions at the bottom.

I have fallen in love with a local breeder's young red-foots. I think all kids should have pets, and I am allergic to anything with fur or feathers. These are three sister red-foots, almost 3 years old, home-raised by loving and knowledgeable owners. One sister is active, one serene, and one a bully. They like people. They're gloriously healthy. The owner wants to sell by Oct 15, before an extended overseas trip.

I'm a busy writer & mom of two kids, 8 and 9, with a husband who works long hours; the burden of care would fall on me. I am the only person in my family without ADD, so I am the one who makes schedules, teaches people to manage time, checks that chores are done, etc. It's a strain sometimes.

We live in New England, have no other pets besides fish, have yard and house space. I have read up on red-foots everywhere I could find (including here!), and I think they'd be cute, friendly, easy pets--but of course any pet takes care.

My questions:
-Have any of you ever had a "drop-everything" tortoise emergency? If yes, how frequently do these happen?
-If I decide to go ahead with these little torts, how many do you recommend I bring home? (I've read conflicting advice about red-foot numbers.) Do you have any opinion about which one(s)?

Thanks for all insight!

-Debbie :tort:
 

Yvonne G

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Welcome to the Forum, Debbie!

You've given this a lot of thought, I can tell. I would be worried about taking in the bully along with the other two because you MIGHT have to build another habitat and separate him from the others.

I have been taking care of turtles and tortoises for a very long time. In 30 plus years, I have taken MY OWN tortoises to the vet maybe 4 times. However, I run a turtle rescue, and quite a few of the rescued animals require vet care. Is it something that a well-cared for tortoise can expect? Yes, but in my opinion, not very often. Health-wise, probably never, but who can tell about an accident.

Redfooted tortoises are one of the species that does well in groups. Normally tortoises are solitary animals, but many members on the forum keep red footeds in groups with no problems. But you will have to keep your eye on that bully.

Good luck with your decision. And be sure to post pictures when you get them.
 

mainey34

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Welcome. I too have been looking at the red foots. I think they are adorable. I already have a sulcata. But a red foot.....mmmm.....good luck
 

wellington

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Hello and Welcome :) good luck in you decision. My personal opinion. Tortoises are probably the easier pet to have. Once they are past the hatchling and first year there isn't a lot of work. Especially if you have outside enclosures for the warm days. Feed, give fresh water, clean poop and soak 2-3 times a week. They don't want to be played with like cats and dogs. I would say if you can give them half an hour a day at the least, you have time for them.
 

mercurysmom

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I say go for it. With your busy lifestyle, the tortoises might be a type of therapy. They are incredibly relaxing to watch. Once you get their routine down, and their enclosure(s) set up, it's really a piece of cake.
I had a baby sulcata pass away once, and a juvenile with a uri at the same time; while I was supposed to be on vacation. I don't think it gets much worse than that... But when u look at it from the long run, it wasn't all that bad. I missed 1 day of my vacation, and had a friend come and monitor my sicky when I left. (Who is perfectly healthy now :)
They do need care every day though; I feed and soak mine in the morning before work, and take them outside to their maximum security enclosure. I do the same when I bring them in. It not much, but it can get repetitive every day. This also might be difficult if you take frequent trips overnight...although they'd probably be ok inside for a day.

As for how many, that's up to you. I started off with one sulcata. I found myself going through so much work setting him up, that once he grew out of his first enclosure, I figured I might as well get another (and another) to replace him... Lol. Now he's big enough to live outside, and once my current babies are big enough, I'm planning on getting a redfoot or two myself, to take their place on my tortoise table.

I love tortoises. I didn't realize how much until I'd found this forum.

Good luck, and welcome to the forum!
 

DrewsLife727

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Welcome to the forum! I love redfoots and I currently own 3 cherry head redfoots and they get along quite well :D I also have a 4 year old redfoot that does great on her on. they are always with each other. Redfoots are one of the few torts that get along in groups. I say go ahead and get them! Id watch out for the bully though. I also have a 4 year old redfoot that does great on her own. Best wishes on your decision!
 

Wondering4toolong

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Hello, I am new too and am the keeper of 3 red foots (2 cherrys and a "standard) and live in CT. I started with reptiles more than 20 yrs ago and I got Tulip (my 1st RF) 9 yrs ago...I have since adopted Tink and Speedbump and although we do have some grumpiness from the new comer Tink and Tulip go way back and love each other. I have done several vet visits (I am a vet tech) as well as fecals and dewormings due to housing them out doors in the summer months and they have an 8' x 12' x 2' "room" for the winter months. Having adult sized red foots does take some accommodating here in CT...they will increase your food costs (and might help your family eat healthier, they did mine!) as well as your electric bill during the winter especially. I love mine to pieces, they all have their own personalities and are really fun for me. The 1 issue I have always had is keeping humidity levels up high enough during the winter months, I like to keep them at 60-70% and that is not always forgiving on habitat construction. Luckily I'm handy and build them new "rooms" as the years have past and they have grown...and my how they've grown!
 

dblicher

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Thanks so much, everybody! I am now promised two of the red-foot babies, and I am SO excited! Busy buying supplies with the guidance of their breeder. My kids are practically jumping out of their skins. I'll send you pics when I have them. I have a feeling I'll be using this forum A LOT!

-Debbie
 

mercurysmom

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Wooo hooo!! You've made the right decision ;) Can't wait to see pics!!!!
 

N2TORTS

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dblicher said:
Thanks so much, everybody! I am now promised two of the red-foot babies, and I am SO excited! Busy buying supplies with the guidance of their breeder. My kids are practically jumping out of their skins. I'll send you pics when I have them. I have a feeling I'll be using this forum A LOT!

-Debbie

Debbie .. show the kids ... WWW.TORTOISECOVE.COM for all kinds of Redfoots and Cherrys ....;)
 

dblicher

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Hey, gang!

Thanks so much. We brought home Frida and Camille on 10/8/12, and we LOVE them. I've been reading here whenever I have questions, and so far so good. Here's what our care picture looks like. My questions are throughout.

-They live in a terrarium 4' x 2' x 13" with liner and cypress chips; we use plant saucers for water dishes. I've got a live fern in there (in removable pot) and a fake plant as well. We haven't found a suitable hide for them: the torts are too big for commercially made ones, and they've wrecked every one we've made them from shoeboxes. Any thoughts?

-When I saw them huddling together and not being active, I upgraded the 60W heat lamp to 150W. When they still seemed sluggish, I went from a compact fluorescent UVB lamp to a PowerSun MVB. They're active now! And I just realized I have not yet hooked up the thermometer/hygrometer, so I have no idea how warm or moist it is in there.

-I had not ever seen thorough feeding instructions, so we'd been feeding them Mazuri Tortoise chow and recommended veggies in a mixture very day. They ate only the Chow. Now we're down to Chow alone 2x/week and veggies the rest of the time, no more than 2 kinds of veggies at once. And we put a pinch of Ca-D2 and vitamins on their food 2x/wk. Camille does not eat often or much; Frida does. Any thoughts about why a tortoise does not eat every day or eats little when she does?

-I change the water daily. Frida, who used to soak frequently in her dish before we got her, does not soak now. I'm not sure why not. The dish is big enough for her, and she is able to get into it, but she doesn't stay. Any thoughts about why not?

-We bathed them for the first time yesterday: lukewarm water, up to the edge of the plastron, first soaking them (together) in a dishpan until they were done pooping. The previous owner did not soak them often, so we haven't been. But they haven't been pooping much that we can tell (maybe eating it while we're out?). How do I know how often to soak and/or bathe these girls?

Thanks for all your help. I'll upload pics when I'm able!

-Debbie :tort:



dblicher said:
Hi, all!

I just signed up for the forum and need advice on whether to become a tortoise owner. It's a decision only I can make, I know; but I'm interested in what you think. Please read to my questions at the bottom.

I have fallen in love with a local breeder's young red-foots. I think all kids should have pets, and I am allergic to anything with fur or feathers. These are three sister red-foots, almost 3 years old, home-raised by loving and knowledgeable owners. One sister is active, one serene, and one a bully. They like people. They're gloriously healthy. The owner wants to sell by Oct 15, before an extended overseas trip.....
 
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