should parents allow kids and teens to get tortoises?

DayDreamer

Member
Location (City and/or State)
San Juan PR
This is something that has been bugging me for the past few years, seeing 12-17 year olds thinking about getting a tortoise or even a parrot (really any pet that can potentially out live them)
Tortoises are not like a dog or cat that lives max. 20 years, these little (or giant) guys can live longer then us! And in my eyes thats not a type of commitment a teen or a kid should be able to make... what happens when said 'kid' moves out on there own and cant take the tortoise or falls into money troubles (like most people do when they 1st go out on their own) and cant afford to buy food or new lighting or vet bills (exotic vets are more expensive then 'normal vets')
It seems really irresponsible in my eyes for a parent to allow someone underage to get a tortoise (unless of course the parent really wants one and is more then willing to take on the responsibility, but even then the parent should get the tortoise not the child)

ive seen too many kids these days on facebook groups, other forums etc. asking how to talk their parents into letting them get a tortoise.... then later coming back and saying they got it....
I waited 5 years before seriously considering getting one... I knew i didnt have the money or time, and with a toddler it just wasn't a smart choice. I figure something that lives so long deserves to have as much thought put into it as you would if you were deciding if your family was ready for a kid... its a life long commitment... and in that aspect its no different.

as a society we dont readily let our kids, or teens, make choices that will effect their whole future... most of these choices are made after high school at the age of 18. so why are these parents allowing their kids to make a life long commitment to something living and breathing so easily?

thoughts?
am i the only one this bugs?
 

wellington

Well-Known Member
Moderator
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Location (City and/or State)
Chicago, Illinois, USA
My personal opinion is if the parent says yes, then the parent should expect to take on the responsibility when or if the child fails in its care or if the child cannot take the pet with them on to college. Now, once that child gets settled into his or her life and you and the child have decided to keep that animal all this time and the parent is willing to give the pet up, then it should go back to that now grown, established child. I was never denied a pet and I would not deny my child, within reason of course.
 

mike taylor

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
I think people are free to get whatever pet they want . Look at Kelly he started w hen he was 7/8 years old . I started keeping reptiles when I was 8/9 years old . Most people that keep reptiles start as kids . My kids have reptiles as pets . They are fighting over who going to get our tortoises when I can't do it anymore . So if your kid wants a tortoise i think is a family decision .
 

Linz2491

Member
5 Year Member
I would not deny my child a pet but I would be under the assumption that the pet is my responsibility ultimately. That goes for all types of animals.
Would you not get a dog for a 10-14
Year old? Well that child will be in college during that dogs lifetime. Even though it is not as much of a Commitment, it is more likely the child could take a Tortoise wherever they go rather than a dog
 

DayDreamer

Member
Location (City and/or State)
San Juan PR
oh I def. agree its fine if the parent is willing to take on the responsibility.
obviously some kids are a lot more responsible I just see a lot of the "oh so and so has one now i want one" with reptiles in the past little while, not really knowing or understanding what they are getting into.

glad to hear the different opinions though :)

it just bugs me to see people buy a living things because someone at school has one, and end up giving it away a few years later because it was 'boring' or they couldnt 'play' with it. and yes that is always different from kid to kid, person to person. but with the rise in the popularity of reptiles im seeing it a lot more.



and yes I should have worded that 1st post better i did not mean all teens/kids. i know there are tons out there that are responsible and know what they are doing. this was more about the kids that go to sites like facebook groups complaining that the parents keep saying no, and how can they get them to change their minds and let them have one. these situations the parents clearly dont want to have that responsibility.

sorry if i offended anyone
 

hunterk997

Member
5 Year Member
Location (City and/or State)
Wayland, NY
I can see how some of this reasoning could be applied to some people, but others that are dedicated to their life long friends (tortoises) are willing to plan their future to compensate that pet. I'm only 16, a junior in school. I'm planning out my future, and I made the decision to get a tortoise knowing I would have to plan some aspects of my life to compensate for it. I have already actually began thinking of all the opportunities I could have to acquire more tortoises once I am ready. The going away part I understand. But we have decided that I will be taking my younger tortoise with me to college and leaving my older one at home because she needs a huge enclosure. My parents have cared for her for a few days before, and thy knee completely that someday they will need to care for her for some amount of time. Of course, I'm not going far, so it also depends on circumstance. But to say "I think it's wrong for a child/teenager to have something that is a life long commitment" I find stereotypical. If the child cares, they will plan accordingly. But I must agree, a small child (0-6 years, maybe) receiving a tortoise is kind of iffy.
 

sibi

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Location (City and/or State)
Florida, USA
I guess, based on your opinion, people who are old (60-70'S) should not get tortoises either, huh? I mean, these people will not outlive there tortoises, and probably would have to give there tortoises away too. If you're against kids getting tortoises because they are likely to give them up, then you would feel the same about older folks getting tortoises, right?
 

hunterk997

Member
5 Year Member
Location (City and/or State)
Wayland, NY
sibi said:
I guess, based on your opinion, people who are old (60-70'S) should not get tortoises either, huh? I mean, these people will not outlive there tortoises, and probably would have to give there tortoises away too. If you're against kids getting tortoises because they are likely to give them up, then you would feel the same about older folks getting tortoises, right?

This is an excellent point.
 

jennanne

Member
I got Peanut at 8 years old. I loved her so much I did my own research and took care of her on my own (of course my parents still made sure I was doing a good job). But I had always loved tortoises, so I had a passion, and I still have my tortoise from when I was 8. It really depends on the child.
 

T33's Torts

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Location (City and/or State)
Neverland!
3 of 4 of my rescue torts were from teenagers living with theor parents who couldn't care for them.

Now, I can't talk.

I was 3 when I got my first tort, but didn't buy my own, with a set up until I was 15.
I'm (usually) an adult, and I have my own place. I had no problem as a kid caring for my guys. Then again, I was a loner and stayed home after school playing with my tortoises.
 

wellington

Well-Known Member
Moderator
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Location (City and/or State)
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Most of us are not going to out live our tortoises. I don't think the "just going to give them up" should have anything to do with it, as most of us will have to do the same thing. Hopefully, most of us can pass them on to a family member that would love to take care of them. Some of us, won't be so lucky. Then again, if we are dead, I guess we won't really know where they end up. :p. I also don't think that just because a kid see's an animal or tortoise that someone else got, and now wants one, will be convincing enough for their parent to okay it. After all, the parent is the last word and they need to know their kid. I said already, the parent needs to be prepared to care for it.
The ones that sadden me more, are those that lets the child get the pet and then when the child can't take care of it, because of college, or an apartment won't allow it, etc, the parent just gets rid of it, instead of caring for it until the time comes that the child is able to do so again. Like it had no meaning to the family at all.


The responsibly is on the parent to know their kid and to take responsibility for what they allowed if it doesn't go as planned.
 

Team Gomberg

IXOYE
5 Year Member
Location (City and/or State)
Southern Oregon
Linz2491 said:
I would not deny my child a pet but I would be under the assumption that the pet is my responsibility ultimately. That goes for all types of animals.

This where I stand.

My 5 year old has a cat and we all know she is "his" cat. He's had her since he was 3 but that's a long story. Well, guess who does everything for her... me. But I knew that would be the case. As he gets older I'll pass more duties off to him. Right now his job is to play with her daily and give her treats ;)

My 3 year old has been asking for a tarantula. He saw some at the petstore and liked them. Then I showed him pictures of the Rose Hair I used to have (before kids) and then he REALLY wanted one. I'm toying with the idea of getting him one for his next birthday. I know that the care and handling will fall on me so I want to make sure "I" want one (again) too.

I'm also waiting to get a dog until my kids want one. When they start to express a desire for a pet dog then we'll consider getting one.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
I dont' know where this sappy emotional trend of "forever homes" and keeping an animal for the rest of its life came from, and I don't understand it. I want every animal to have the best home possible, be it a dog, tortoise, bird or anything else.

Don't any of you ever have a change of heart? Haven't you ever started a hobby, been really into it, and then months or years later drifted away from it? There is nothing wrong with that, and we shouldn't be shaming people into keeping an animal that they are not really into anymore for whatever reason. Really. Look at the divorce rate in our country. These couples stand in front of the world, swear to God and everyone to stay with this other person in sickness and in health, until death do us part... and then months or years later they decide, "Nah. I don't wanna do this anymore..." Yet we expect them to keep a pet tortoise that they no longer want and give it the best care humanly possible?

I say get that tortoise for that kid. You might spark a life long interest and supreme passion like what happened to me, JD, Mike, Tiffany, Jennanne, or so many others. Had I not gotten Tommy turtle when I was 7 years old, would I be here today? Who knows? And if the kid gets bored with it, what is wrong with finding someone else who is interested and will give the tortoise top notch first rate care?

The tortoise doesn't care who puts the food down or cleans its water bowl. It has no "emotional" attachment. It isn't going to cry because it "feels" unwanted. I say, if someone is less than 100% "into it", then the BEST possible thing they could do is find someone who is 100% into it, and give or sell them the animal. I don't fault them for losing interest. I've lost interest about a lot of things and moved on, including animals. The WELFARE of that animal is what is most important. I would make the case that an animal will be better cared for by someone who really wants it, than someone who used to be greatly interested, but is now just "going through the motions" out of a sense of obligation because we, or someone else, has guilted them into thinking they are supposed to keep that animal forever, no matter what.

None of us know what will become a life long passion. The only way to find out is to try new things and see. I have no problem with someone of any age trying out the tortoise hobby, getting bored or uninterested with it, and giving the tortoise to someone else who IS interested. As long as the animals needs are met and it is well cared for, I don't care who the caretaker is, and neither does the tortoise.
 

Neal

Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Location (City and/or State)
Arizona
Good post Tom. Tastes always change. Even me who has been ludicrous over leopards for so long has almost eliminated all of my leopards and now I'm moving towards being stupid over stars.

I'm not sure I completely agree with the idea that parents should accept the responsibility for the child's tortoise. I bought my first turtle at a young age, and I was fully aware that its well being was completely my responsibility because that's what I was taught as part of my upbringing.

Maybe I didn't entirely understand what responsibility meant when I started, but I certainly learned a lot in my early years about responsibility through my experiences with turtles and tortoises. That type of hands on education is invaluable and has really helped me a more responsible person in many aspects of my life.

I teach my children to be responsible for their own actions and to take ownership of whatever it is they decide to do. If they decide they want a bird or a snake (things that I have no interest in) I certainly won't deny them the opportunity, and I would do my best to make sure they understand that they are completely responsible for their pet. I would trust that my children would do all that they can to ensure the well being of whatever animal (hopefully tortoises:)) that they would want as a pet, even if that means finding a new home for it if they are no longer interested like Tom discussed.

Tortoises can be great pets for a lot of children. Maybe not all, but the hobby certainly has been a big positive influence on my life and others here that all started from childhood experiences.
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
Speaking as a mother who has done lots of hounding in her life time...its all well and good to say, yes, go ahead and get the animal, but it will be your responsibility to take care of it.

Then one day you go into the kid's bedroom to get the dirty clothes on laundry day and you see the poor bird sitting in a darkened room with no water or fresh food, dirty paper on the floor of the cage and a very unhappy-looking bird.

So when the kid gets home from school you remind him that the bird's life depends upon the care he gives it (or doesn't give it), and the bird needs attention. Checking later you see the bird in the same condition. "I will, I will, mom." How does one "make" a kid who is bigger than you are do something that he keeps putting off doing? How can one live with ones self if you allow the poor bird to exist in those conditions? Do you let the bird die just to teach a lesson to the kid?
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Yvonne G said:
Speaking as a mother who has done lots of hounding in her life time...its all well and good to say, yes, go ahead and get the animal, but it will be your responsibility to take care of it.

Then one day you go into the kid's bedroom to get the dirty clothes on laundry day and you see the poor bird sitting in a darkened room with no water or fresh food, dirty paper on the floor of the cage and a very unhappy-looking bird.

So when the kid gets home from school you remind him that the bird's life depends upon the care he gives it (or doesn't give it), and the bird needs attention. Checking later you see the bird in the same condition. "I will, I will, mom." How does one "make" a kid who is bigger than you are do something that he keeps putting off doing? How can one live with ones self if you allow the poor bird to exist in those conditions? Do you let the bird die just to teach a lesson to the kid?

Simple. You make the kid do it, or you give the animal to someone who will do it. In the time it takes to find a suitable new home, the parent must take responsibility for the child's failure, and ensure that the animal is properly cared for. I would hope there would be consequences for the child who fails to live up to his/her responsibility.

Seriously, why is this even a question? I'm not going to ask my child to do the right thing after I have seen repeated failure to do so. I'm going to tell her to do it, and make her do it. Her size has nothing to do with anything. If a child of any age or size chooses to defy or threaten their parents and neglect their pets, there should be serious consequences. How and what totally depends on the situation.
 

Neal

Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Location (City and/or State)
Arizona
Yvonne G said:
Speaking as a mother who has done lots of hounding in her life time...its all well and good to say, yes, go ahead and get the animal, but it will be your responsibility to take care of it.

Then one day you go into the kid's bedroom to get the dirty clothes on laundry day and you see the poor bird sitting in a darkened room with no water or fresh food, dirty paper on the floor of the cage and a very unhappy-looking bird.

So when the kid gets home from school you remind him that the bird's life depends upon the care he gives it (or doesn't give it), and the bird needs attention. Checking later you see the bird in the same condition. "I will, I will, mom." How does one "make" a kid who is bigger than you are do something that he keeps putting off doing? How can one live with ones self if you allow the poor bird to exist in those conditions? Do you let the bird die just to teach a lesson to the kid?

It's not all well and good just to say it...hopefully when you've reached that point you've led by example well enough or have provided other opportunities for the child to prove themselves that the child will be prepared to do the right thing.

Depending on what one's experiences have been, the above example may be the rule rather than the exception. In my experience however, this would be a rare exception rather than a rule...if you follow me.

I understand what you're trying to say, but I think my original point could be made clearer to say that I think it's the parents responsibility to take care of the child and respond appropriately to their actions, rather than absorb the child's responsibilities when they fail.
 

erdavis

Active Member
5 Year Member
Location (City and/or State)
Gainesville, Fl (Go Gators!)
I think it depends on the kid. Just like how at a gun range you would never hand any unresponsible child a gun especially without first teaching them how to handle it properly. You should never give an unresponsible child a pet, especially without making sure they can care for it.
I think it is the parents responsibility to know if their own child is responsible enough for it. I grew up with all sorts of animals. Dogs, cats, birds, rats, rabbits, chickens, emus, ducks, guinea pigs, sugar gliders, snakes, you name it. My parents made me do tons of research if I said I wanted a new pet. They'd even make me get on forums and see what people are saying about me having that pet. And I knew that I better research good because they were also researching and I knew they'd ask questions. I'd have to write down how big they got, long they lived, temperament, how much attention they need, how often they're cage usually needs cleaned, exactly which items id need. Everything. There was even a time when I was so set on getting a pet, but then after all that research I decided there was NO WAY i was getting one, I didn't want it anymore. When I was 17 I got a Sulcata. I worked as a Carhop at sonic and paid for every bit of what that tortoise needed. And I took care of him too. I rarely asked my parents for help. And when I did it was the occasional time I was staying at a friends and I'd send them a text saying "Hey, I already put Turbos food in his cage, will you please just bring him inside?" After high school when looking for a house to move into, I would go to the craigslist ads and type "yard" in the search box. Because all I knew I HAD to have for my house was a yard for my tortoise. After getting into nursing school and not having time to have a job, my parents will occasionally give me money for his food, but that is just because they understand that I am trying to better myself and need a little help.
So again, I think the parents should know what they're child's abilities are. And should make them do research, and do research themselves before getting one. Each child is different.
 

sibi

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Location (City and/or State)
Florida, USA
Great points Tom and Neal. Probably none of us will outlive our tortoises, and at some point, we'll need to make arrangements for their future care. There's nothing wrong with that. We wouldn't be enraged because the animal has to be given up. Children who want to cultivate a love for animals shouldn't be denied their passions because they MIGHT lose interest. It can actually help them to be more responsible, caring human beings later in life. Even parents can't know for sure how owing a tort will affect a child's sense of responsibility. If the child loses interest in their animal, responsible parents won't just dump their animals in the street. They would find someone who'd take good care of it, then move on. So, in reality, when it comes to children wanting and owning torts, the buck stops with the parents. After kids become of age and the responsibly moves in their court, we could only hope that they've grown to be responsible owners and have learned good husbandry to give their animal what they need.
 
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