should parents allow kids and teens to get tortoises?

Mummyrush08

New Member
Location (City and/or State)
Isle of Wight
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?
Hi! Newbie here (to the site that is)
We have an Indian star tortoise that actually belongs to my almost 9year old son. He got him for his 6th birthday After spending a year going into the shop to see the little guy and hold him and asking to bring him home. Almost 3 years later and my sons still loves him. Still helps feed and clean him out (we have given him more responsibility as he’s gotten older) and just absolutely dotes on him. My son understands that his tortoise is a pet for life and it’s up to him if he takes the tortoise with him when he moves out (in many many years haha) or if he wants to leave him with us. Currently he fully intends to take the tortoise wherever he goes but we as his parents will make sure he is living somewhere that is suitable first.
 

Braeden p

Well-Known Member
Location (City and/or State)
Pottstown PA
I asked for a tortoise since I was 5, got one when I was 11. Didn’t know much this forum helped me a lot. A kid in my class got a Russian after his gerbil died and feeds it mostly romaine lettuce, but it needs more variety and a large space.
 

leothetort27

New Member
Location (City and/or State)
Toronto
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?
I am actually a teen who has a baby tortoise! I think that if you do your research and are responsible then it is okay. Tortoise owners need to understand their pet will probably outlive them and need to have a plan for where the tort will go when you can no longer care for it!!
 

Beasty_Artemis

Well-Known Member
Location (City and/or State)
Oregon Coast
Hmmm....
I think it is important for a kid to learn about reptiles as pets, so why not a tortoise? It prepares you to have respect for reptiles. If no for those early experiences, I probably wouldn't be on the tortoise forum now. I definitely was aware of how much better my husbandry could/should be these days. So I did a ton of research before I got my redfoot, Arty.
Yes, I have plenty of regrets about my childhood pets . But that first pet red eared slider turtle that I rescued from the poor conditions that my cousin was keeping him in changed my life forever, even if it didnt end well for poor Spike. I still was able to learn about how complex the care of chelonians are compared to what I was told. And to learn how complex turtles personalities are! That really meant alot.
 

Fauna

New Member
Location (City and/or State)
New Hampshire
In some ways this is a rather complicated question and in other ways, it is not. First off... I’m a new tortoise owner at the age of nearly 35. I’m not however new to the reptile world and began my intense love for them at a young age. I was finally allowed my first lizard, an Anole JJ at age 9. When JJ passed away, I wanted a new pet lizard. After months of research my Mother allowed me to get a green iguana. I had him until I was 16. My iguana was by then adult sized and in need of a larger home than he had. My mom was not willing to allow me to build the appropriate sized enclosure for him. She just thought he was too big, and he had a tendency to be rather aggressive to people who weren’t me. I was the only one allowed “in”. And honestly I think she was scared of him. With great sadness I spent a lot of time finding him a well versed and experienced owner who would provide him the home I wasn’t allowed to. Because of that experience, I didn’t get any more “challenging” reptiles until I was an adult and on my own. I just kept geckos and a RES I still have today (in addition to another one that someone kind of “dumped” on me). I also have a boa that I got 10 years ago. Now that brings me to acquiring our tortoises. My daughter who is 7, fell in love with Redfoot tortoises. She had zero pets of her own. She likes watching various reptile keepers on you tube and started wanting a tortoise, specifically a redfoot. So I made a deal with her about showing responsibility and consistency with school work, and chores. As well as making sure she was 100% informed and educated on the species. I agreed to this knowing that it would be a project for both of us. Knowing the longevity of these animals. Which gives them an heirloom quality that I find appealing. These tortoises will live with me for the rest of my life, and when she is established, they will live with her, and her own children if she chooses to have kids one day. She goes out and forages weeds for them and can identify them correctly. It’s amazing to see! She gardens with me to grow plants for them. She draws up pictures of future indoor and outdoor enclosures for them. She soaks them daily, helps keep their records. Prepares their meals. She reads to them daily and sings to them. It’s absolutely precious. The other side of the coin is pets in general are impulse ideas for many. Adult/child you name it. I think the only way to handle that ugly reality is to do our best as keepers, breeders or forum members is to encourage spreading the knowledge we have. I have more problem with people getting a dog and then having a quick change of heart, than a tortoise owner having a change of heart. Dogs are more emotional animals, and the requirements and commitment of dog ownership are rather well known. Ignorance isn’t really a factor. Where as someone might acquire a tortoise in a situation where they are given BAD information and completely misunderstand the requirements of their care. Then find out they don’t have the ability to provide an appropriate life for the adult sized animal. As far as pet stores and breeders go, I think it’s important to consider where the animal is going. If I was selling hatchlings or young tortoises (which someday I might be) I would make sure prospective buyers had good information and knew what they were getting into. I probably wouldn’t sell a hatchling to someone who didn’t feel confident about raising one. I would suggest getting an older individual. I haven’t exactly formed my entire plan yet, but I’ve been casually thinking about my three babies and what will happen at their maturity. With the first clutches, I’ll probably raise them to at least a year old. Then of course comes the “what happens to my offspring should an owner’s circumstances change?” Do I offer/require it being returned to me? What kind of quarantine area could I set up for that? Etc. I don’t think it’s a light decision at all.... but I’m hesitant to put an age on animal ownership. I would just like to see people be more responsible and thoughtful when it comes to animals in general. A lack of this results in a myriad of issues from overwhelmed rescues, animals dying prematurely or living in poor condition, invasive species in some areas from releases as well as various bans on animals or their transport. It’s several issues that can be solved with proper education and the sharing of good information.
 

squirts_mom

New Member
Location (City and/or State)
sherwood park
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?
I started thinking about getting a tortoise when I was 15 years old and my parents made me do a lot of research and planning before I finally got my little friend at 18 years old! So I think that if it was me then my kids would have to do the same research and planning that I did before they got a reptile.... But that's just me lol
 

tgirl23

Member
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
I enjoyed reading this thread. I think there are so many factors that play into finding the suitable answer. Im impressed by how many young dedicated members we have. I really liked Tom's point on the lifetime commitment of interest or actually lack of one but importance of rehoming to a good home. I have always adored all animals so my moms biggest response usually was, no we cant get that. Lol. We had birds, cats, and even a red earred slider we rescued from being dinner. I have 3 kids and they constantly ask for new pets. I feel though that pets teach them how to be unselfish and more responsible.

One child loves inverts and his entire room is filled w various tarantulas and scorpions and crickets. But he is so responsible with them and he is 10. He studies all about their care and setups. He really wants to be an entomologist someday. He could pretty much talk about inverts all day. I dont ever want to not encourage that excitement and passion. Although I did draw the line at giant centipedes. That is for his future personal house. My mom hated dogs. So no dogs for me growing up. But I have my own personal house with my dogs now.

My other son was the reason we got into tortoises. His friend had a big sulcata and of course, it left a huge impression. So we did some research and decided to start with a 3 year old Russian tort since they dont get too big. We love him and then I learned about the South African leopard that is suppose to get big and have an outgoing personality on this forum. They are just so pretty. So I ended up with one for my anniversary. Our leopard is 10 inches now, so the kids and i have been working in the yard building a permanent outdoor enclosure. The boys are digging, weeding, building in the early mornings and evenings. (We live in S. CAL and its so hot right now) Even my littlest (she's 4) is out filling watering cans and helping move dirt.

I really hope they will remember these times instead of just the online world we tend to get sucked into. Of course a huge motivating factor was that once the SA leopard is out of his closed chamber, who can we move in! Oh "empty tank syndrome" is a thing.

I think on the whole it really needs to be based on what you know what works best for your family and knowing that at the end of the day as a parent you are the one that either must take care of it or ensure care is taken or rehome to situation where it will be taken care of.
 

yay14

Active Member
Location (City and/or State)
stockholm
Sorry in case of bad spelling english is not my first language.


I am 14 years old and have a hermann tortoise and i understand that people discourage the idea of kids and teenagers having a tortoise. But when i got my tortoise it was extremely important to have a place to rehome him incase i cant care for him anymore when i go to college or some other reason. So as long as you know you can easily rehome and have done extensive reaserch i think its ok. On the other hand do not think that young kids should have tortoises or any reptiles i that matter becuse younger kids tend to want to play alot with their animals which is not that good to do with torts.
 

Golden Greek Tortoise 567

Well-Known Member
Location (City and/or State)
Colorado Springs,CO
Sorry in case of bad spelling english is not my first language.


I am 14 years old and have a hermann tortoise and i understand that people discourage the idea of kids and teenagers having a tortoise. But when i got my tortoise it was extremely important to have a place to rehome him incase i cant care for him anymore when i go to college or some other reason. So as long as you know you can easily rehome and have done extensive reaserch i think its ok. On the other hand do not think that young kids should have tortoises or any reptiles i that matter becuse younger kids tend to want to play alot with their animals which is not that good to do with torts.
I‘d say most people on this thread were for letting kids having torts. Of course it depends on the child, some kids are very mature at a young age. I was 6 when I got my first reptile. I was very responsible and did all my research, and my pet only died when my grandmother boiled it in the sun. Point being some young kids are responsible and do their work.
 

Blackdog1714

Well-Known Member
Location (City and/or State)
Richmond, VA
I have recently seen my neighbor that is and Artiste' walking a yellow lab puppy. I know it was his idea, but he is the one with the most free time so at least he is starting the puppy right. Walks him at least 3 times a day, heck he might even trim down a little with this. He has a wife and two kids and I could see why cause of Covid, but I am glad he works with the puppy and it shows.
 

Crush da Baum

Well-Known Member
Location (City and/or State)
Brooksville
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.
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?
I mean, I am 14 and I have two torts so.
 

wellington

Well-Known Member
Moderator
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Location (City and/or State)
Chicago, Illinois, USA
I mean, I am 14 and I have two torts so.
Like I stated. The parents need to realize it's a child wanting the pet. If the parents are not willing to take care of the pet, then don't get it for the child. A lot of kids want a pet at the moment. That moment is usually short lived after they get the pet. As long as the parents are willing to take care of the pet properly, then go for it.
 

Lokkje

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Location (City and/or State)
Phoenix
Here is my first pet. I don’t remember if I got him when I was three or if I was four. I will be 61 this year. This picture was taken very recently. This is Tiny Tim, my desert tortoise. There are arrangements in my will for my horses, dogs, and tortoises as several of my pets will outlive me. Tiny is pretty old now because he wasn’t a baby when I got him but he will be with me as long as I have the capacity to care for him. When I can’t, I’ve already made arrangements to take care of him. I think children do fine depending on the parent and the child.
 

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Crush da Baum

Well-Known Member
Location (City and/or State)
Brooksville
Like I stated. The parents need to realize it's a child wanting the pet. If the parents are not willing to take care of the pet, then don't get it for the child. A lot of kids want a pet at the moment. That moment is usually short lived after they get the pet. As long as the parents are willing to take care of the pet properly, then go for it.
Well said. My sister got a tort and took care of it for about a week. Then it was my job.
 

BrookeB

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Location (City and/or State)
Bodfish
Yes I would get my child a tortoise or parrot because I know full well that when my child loses interest I will still be there to care for that animal. Luckily my son hasn’t ever “lost interest” in any of his animals and he’s only 6, I think parents let their children off too easily when it comes to pets and it sets a bad standard in life. Still I would never control what his interests are, as I found passion in animals when I was very young..when I was 5 I bought a goat and brought it home to my mothers suburban house 😂😂 (nots joking or lying!!!!).. if I was told no over and over again then god knows what hobbies I could have had as a kid/teen and what I would be like now.
 

Skip K

Well-Known Member
Location (City and/or State)
Virginia
From personal experience. There are stages and unforeseen circumstances in all humans lives. My sons for example...when they were young...being animal lovers...had various pets including torts. But as they grew older...there lives changed. Advancing school levels required more effort...sports...their social life grew...girls entered the picture...adventures awaited them. Their pets were not the center of their universe anymore. So the pets care fell to me. There were changes in my life...changing to a job with different requirements...hours etc, my involvement with my kids at various levels...a larger home with more maintenance etc. I had to rehome some of our animals to ensure they received the special care they deserved and were not simply “being maintained”. But now my sons are older, established and the eldest has his own home and has more time now for torts ( he will be the caretaker of the crew when I am gone).. our college aged son just loves our parrot and is not interested in reptiles anymore. I retired early and I have more time to devote to animals ( hence recent additions). It’s hard to foresee changes ahead in life...but one needs to remember your animals had no choice in where they are homed. There must be plans in place to deal with the care of your animals when “life” happens.
 
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Duckster RT

Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Location (City and/or State)
CT New Haven.
Had my little guy since I was a child, now I’m an old fart! Some point in life most likely someone will have to help care for the tort. It should be thought about and discussed. I don’t think pet stores should sell them. Should talk to breeder pregame. Not purchased like a candy bar.
 

pheasanb

New Member
Location (City and/or State)
defiance, oh
I agree with many of the points mentioned. Especially that parents are responsible for their children's pets. I saw too many pets during my childhood that were essentially tortured because the parents told the kids it was up to them and took no responsibility.

I am now 'older' and in a position to care for an exotic pet without interruption to the pet. Once I finished some needed remodeling to my house (final project will be sanding and refinishing wooden floors - lots of dust) I will build an integrated enclosure between the dining room and living room indoors. I have researched a number of tortoise types and found ones that match my weather to some degree. The next consideration for me was longevity. I feel I am too old to get a baby because of lifespan, but will look for one that is needing to find its next home.

I completely agree that any animal or reptile that can outlive its provider should not be sold in pet stores. That is irresponsible and cruel.
 

Big Charlie

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Location (City and/or State)
California
I agree with many of the points mentioned. Especially that parents are responsible for their children's pets. I saw too many pets during my childhood that were essentially tortured because the parents told the kids it was up to them and took no responsibility.

I am now 'older' and in a position to care for an exotic pet without interruption to the pet. Once I finished some needed remodeling to my house (final project will be sanding and refinishing wooden floors - lots of dust) I will build an integrated enclosure between the dining room and living room indoors. I have researched a number of tortoise types and found ones that match my weather to some degree. The next consideration for me was longevity. I feel I am too old to get a baby because of lifespan, but will look for one that is needing to find its next home.

I completely agree that any animal or reptile that can outlive its provider should not be sold in pet stores. That is irresponsible and cruel.
I wouldn't worry too much about whether or not the tortoise will outlive you; even an older tortoise could outlive you. Just have a plan for what should happen to it if you can no longer take care of it.
 
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