Things you wish you knew before getting a tortoise

SPILL

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Plan for the full grown animal you will one day have, not the hatchling you are getting. I can't be the only one that has many enclosures that the occupants have outgrown. Then of course you don't want empty cages so you start looking for the next one.
 

Kalbrecht

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Tortoises don't go around things. They go through, over or under, whether or not they fit.

If you keep a sulcata in your backyard, be prepared for the lawn furniture to be dragged all over, sprinklers to be broken, bushes decimated, holes dug, poop everywhere...
Sometimes your tortoise will get himself in impossible situations, like wrapped up in the hose.
My tortoise got his foot caught in the weed barrier. I'm glad I was watching so I could free him as he was getting very upset.
 

Tom

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Plan for the full grown animal you will one day have, not the hatchling you are getting. I can't be the only one that has many enclosures that the occupants have outgrown. Then of course you don't want empty cages so you start looking for the next one.
Ahh yes... I know it well...

Empty cage syndrome!
 

6strings

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  1. Closed chambers instead of open tops.
  2. Tortoises need huge amounts of room, much more than other types of reptiles or pets.
  3. No cfl UV bulbs.
  4. Pet stores usually sell unnecessary, sometimes detrimental and overpriced products and give terrible tortoise care advice. My apologies to the few exceptions, but you are a rare breed.
  5. No colored bulbs.
  6. No "spot" bulbs.
  7. Use a thermostat to control ambient temps.
  8. Avoid grocery store produce in favor of better items found for free.
  9. Using Mazuri as a supplemental food is good.
  10. Don't overdo the calcium supplementation.
  11. Too much time outside is bad for babies.
  12. The vast majority of tortoise species are NOT "desert" animals. They need water and at least moderate humidity. Especially as babies.
  13. Is will never be cheap or easy to house giant species in climates with freezing winter weather.
  14. Never mix species or allow them to have contact with each other, or each other's stuff, or each other's spaces.
  15. Tortoises should not be kept in pairs.
  16. Tortoises don't get lonely and other tortoises are not seen as "friends'.
  17. Tortoise do NOT get all their water from the food they eat. Babies of all species should be soaked daily.
  18. Letting tortoises roam free in the house or yard is a mistake. Eventually, it is likely to cause the tortoise's death or loss. It doesn't matter how close you intend to supervise. Use an enclosure.
  19. If the tap water is safe for you, its safe for your tortoise.
  20. Most breeders do not start babies correctly. When you find one that does, spread the word. Daily soaks, humid environment, mostly indoors, a WIDE variety of foods, etc... Don't support the ones who are doing it wrong.
  21. Be aware that most of the "research" you do will lead you to old, out-dated, incorrect info that has been parroted for decades and is based off of incorrect assumptions about how they live in the wild.
Excellent list, Tom.
 

TortillaTheTortioise

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I wish I had known about how much time and money actually needs to be spent providing them with quality care. The lighting, the days I have to go weed hunting in my sandy garden, the electricity bill!, The bathing and staring at him while he sleeps (totally not creepy)

Like I thought they could be put inside a box with some sand and a plant and he will be good because that's what I've seen ppl do with hatchlings and tortoises in real life, but I was wrong!
 

6strings

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Hi guys! :)

I'm new here and I don't have any tortoises (yet!). I have been doing my research for about half a year, but I want to as knowledgable as possible before bringing a tortoise into my life.

Title of the thread explains it all really. What are some things that you wish you knew before bringing a tortoise into your life? What are some unexpected things you faced, despite all your research?

Thanks for reading,
Jacob
How much time I would be spending preparing foods and hunting weeds for even just a single tortoise. Fun, but it does take time.
 

Reptilony

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I wish I knew...they poop a lot, they pee a lot, they can be super fast!, they are picky(always want the extra fresh food), they are stuborn(if you want them to move they will not for an hour), they really don't like not touching the ground, poop has strong smell similar to a cow, keeping a giant african reptile is very hard in Canada, tortoises probably dream of mazuri...and they are extremely strong in the little movements they do(almost nothing can stop them)
 

Kylee L.

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Aug 3, 2019
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SC
To get from a good place. I did my research and my decision wasn't super rushed. But I got too excited and bought from a bad store. And within 3 weeks my 1st tort died. And I was heart broken. So with my tort now I watch like a hawk and if I think something is strange I like and prod till I know he's ok.

And also buy a heat gun, that is life changing
what kind of heat gun and what is it for? I'm getting a Russian next week, do I need one
 
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