Things you wish you knew before getting a tortoise

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Jul 19, 2020
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Beaumont, Tx
I just purchased a Testudo Tortoise for my daughter last week. I built it an outdoor enclosure near a shade trade and also get's a good amount of sunlight. I live in Texas where it's 100+. The enclosure has a soaking bowl, a saucer for water and one for food. I have a piece of plywood over one corner for hiding and shade along with a broken flower pot to hide in as well. Since we've had it I have not seen it eat or drink anything. We leave it outside during the day and bring it inside where it's 75 degrees at night. I don't have a basking light yet. I'm going to purchase one today or tomorrow. I put a calcium block along with kale and romaine lettuce and also some tortoise food from the pet store. It hasn't touched any of it. I have organic potting soil and forest mulch for bedding. I plan to plant some hibiscus, dandilions and other edible plants soon as well. Can someone please help me out here? I don't know if I should take it to the Vet for a check up or what. What could be the problem? I know that you are supposed to have an indoor enclosure with the correct humidity and heat lamp for basking. I've attached photos of the outdoor enclosure.
 

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nicoleann2214

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Mar 11, 2020
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NY
I just purchased a Testudo Tortoise for my daughter last week. I built it an outdoor enclosure near a shade trade and also get's a good amount of sunlight. I live in Texas where it's 100+. The enclosure has a soaking bowl, a saucer for water and one for food. I have a piece of plywood over one corner for hiding and shade along with a broken flower pot to hide in as well. Since we've had it I have not seen it eat or drink anything. We leave it outside during the day and bring it inside where it's 75 degrees at night. I don't have a basking light yet. I'm going to purchase one today or tomorrow. I put a calcium block along with kale and romaine lettuce and also some tortoise food from the pet store. It hasn't touched any of it. I have organic potting soil and forest mulch for bedding. I plan to plant some hibiscus, dandilions and other edible plants soon as well. Can someone please help me out here? I don't know if I should take it to the Vet for a check up or what. What could be the problem? I know that you are supposed to have an indoor enclosure with the correct humidity and heat lamp for basking. I've attached photos of the outdoor enclosure.
A couple suggestions would be contact the store and find out what they were feeding it before you bought it, and slowly wean it off to a different food. another suggestion is to ditch that water ramp, buy a saucer and use that. Also you should use a bigger food dish. What is your inside enclosure like?
 

DJ Kirk

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Guelph, Ontario, Canada
All torts when moved go off their food for a while. Every time I switch enclosures with my redfoot he goes off food for 5-10 days. In nature it's not uncommon for torts to stop eating. If it's last more than 10 days I 'd worry then. Just keep offering fresh foods.
 

Sleppo

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Jun 28, 2018
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Philadelphia, PA
Hi
Check out the care sheet.
I would soa
I just purchased a Testudo Tortoise for my daughter last week. I built it an outdoor enclosure near a shade trade and also get's a good amount of sunlight. I live in Texas where it's 100+. The enclosure has a soaking bowl, a saucer for water and one for food. I have a piece of plywood over one corner for hiding and shade along with a broken flower pot to hide in as well. Since we've had it I have not seen it eat or drink anything. We leave it outside during the day and bring it inside where it's 75 degrees at night. I don't have a basking light yet. I'm going to purchase one today or tomorrow. I put a calcium block along with kale and romaine lettuce and also some tortoise food from the pet store. It hasn't touched any of it. I have organic potting soil and forest mulch for bedding. I plan to plant some hibiscus, dandilions and other edible plants soon as well. Can someone please help me out here? I don't know if I should take it to the Vet for a check up or what. What could be the problem? I know that you are supposed to have an indoor enclosure with the correct humidity and heat lamp for basking. I've attached photos of the outdoor enclosure.
When in doubt soak. It could be dehydrated or not feeling secure with all the back and forth. Please check out the care sheet linked below and try offering some of the foods listed.



 

Kim's petunia

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Palmbay FL
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
I have leopard tortoises which I'm very happy with I have four babies and one three-year-old I wish I had gotten all the older ones. I got the babies they were reasonably priced. The three-year-old PP leopard was expensive, and she has some pyramiding. But I love watching her walk around her yard outside and she was worth every penny.
 

Kim's petunia

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I have leopard tortoises which I'm very happy with I have four babies and one three-year-old I wish I had gotten all the older ones. I got the babies they were reasonably priced. The three-year-old PP leopard was expensive, and she has some pyramiding. But I love watching her walk around her yard outside and she was worth every penny.
 

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DWeathers

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Jul 24, 2020
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Summerville, 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
The same thing happened to me. I had my first baby shipped from NJ to SC. He was NEVER quite right. He kept losing weight and died within 3-4 weeks. It was awful. I watch my new little nugget 24/7 and he is doubling in size and is thriving. What a difference a good breeder makes!!
 

jeannettep

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Oct 28, 2019
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Texas
Save your money and your heart & buy from a breeder that well known members know. Have a larger enclosure than what is recommended. Learn the environment & habitat your tortoise has in the wild. Consider water drainage from thunderstorms in your design. Plan for emergencies, like if you were suddenly sick & needed someone to step in not being able to learn, take notes or ask what to do for your animals. Include common diet, needs, common problems & ailments, include where to go to get answers to questions, include natural disaster plan for your area, like I have a hurricane plan & checklist. Keep a backup & laminate a copy to keep with your pet supplies. Tell your backup people where it is. Plan for them to outlive you. Higher, stronger & deeper containment than recommended is best. Include a secondary or 3rd perimeter containment system in the event they bust thru their habitat. Plan expansion sections of habitat. Learn what you can do to prevent problems, parasites, illness & diseases, prevention is cheaper than a cure or no cure. Have multiple recording cameras for outside. Grow their food & some for yourself. Learn about predators. Pick a species that is best for the habitat & environment you can provide. Keep a medical kit & keep it up to date with a vet contact information. Track their weight. Get them use to a head rub & foot rub. Set a routine so it's fun & enjoyable. Consider an automatic watering &/or humidity, heat systems. Then you just clean & daily checks its functioning. We have fans, comfortable place to sit, an outside fridge for their needs & our beer, a tv & we spend almost anytime we can with our pets outside. Enjoy it so much blood pressure meds no longer needed. If you like to travel, consider an rv & a travel container & outdoor pen & talk to the vet for rules &/or paperwork to take with you. Of course this only works when they are smaller, so consider plans when they get too big.
 

moriah2971

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Aug 17, 2020
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MS
Do you
Don't buy those small domed lights or Bakelite fixtures. Large dome and porcelaine only!
Don't use a curly shaped compact fluorescent bulb - UVB is minimal and they might burn baby eyes.
Russians might be small, but they need a LOT of space to live in.
Tortoises don't do well in pairs.
Sulcatas get BIG - FAST!

Do you have a link you can share of the proper lighting. I am second guessing what I purchased now.
 

Ubercat

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Aug 4, 2020
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Location (City and/or State)
Sheffield
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
Good idea! I wish I’d known that the minimum enclosure size was 8X3.
 

moriah2971

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Aug 17, 2020
Messages
49
Location (City and/or State)
MS
Thank you! So the fluoresecent tube... do you buy these at pet stores? Amazon?
That’s the one
would this one work as well? I’m not sure which would be best as far as “setting on the cage”, “hanging from the ceiling”? I feel so clueless after reading all this! I was 100% misguided from two pet stores and lots of other research.
Durolux DL822S T5 2Ft 2 Fluorescent Lamps Grow Lighting System with 5000 Lumens and 6500K Full Spectrum and Super Low Profile 3.5" Wide Reflector (2-FT 2-Bulb | Narrow) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0821Y6WG1/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20
 

Golden Greek Tortoise 567

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Colorado Springs,CO
would this one work as well? I’m not sure which would be best as far as “setting on the cage”, “hanging from the ceiling”? I feel so clueless after reading all this! I was 100% misguided from two pet stores and lots of other research.
Durolux DL822S T5 2Ft 2 Fluorescent Lamps Grow Lighting System with 5000 Lumens and 6500K Full Spectrum and Super Low Profile 3.5" Wide Reflector (2-FT 2-Bulb | Narrow) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0821Y6WG1/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20
That would also work, I place mine in the middle of my enclosure, I just hang a plywood sheet in the middle and hang it on that.
 

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