Things you wish you knew before getting a tortoise

Taylorlynn48

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I don't agree with some of these.
3. If spot cleaned daily, and in the case of babies that are soaked daily and poop in the soak water, there is no need to replace the substrate.
4. No need to replace bulbs every six months. Most of mine, including UV tubes, last much longer than that.
6. This is not true at all. They are reptiles and are perfectly happy to be left alone. At best they desensitize to human contact and tolerate it. Some learn to have a positive food association with people. Some get territorial with people and attack them. But they are not puppies.
7. This one should have stopped at "Do not let your tortoise freely roam your house". The end. It is not a safe practice and almost always leads to disaster.
8. Not true at all, and this misrepresentation will lead to disappointment for people who expecte their new tortoise to act like what you describe. Most tortoises do not behave that way.

The substrate should still be changed when needed if you are not home and do not see your tort doing its business. Urates come out of their Urine so it's good to clean it out when you are not aware of your tort doing its business. Soaks are a good way for your tort to pee and poo of course, but are you leaving your tort in the soak all day long? or is it soaking for 30 mins and back in its enclosure where it can still pee and poop. (Hence, the purpose is that you are not always aware as a new tortoise owner of when they will go, so it keeps the substrate clean and sanitary.)

Of course, tortoises are not puppies. I specified that their behavior is similar to dogs, such as they have silly behavior and smell everything.
 

Armadillogroomer

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I am guilty of saying "shell puppy" and "scaly puppy", but tortoises/turtles being the opposite of dogs is why I love them. They are so boring and peaceful. Seeing my own stretched out and relaxed or slowly meandering gives my brain a big ol' dose of "everything will be okay!" It's a big weight off my shoulders having a pet that doesn't require social time.

But on the stressful side, I feel like my eyes are always on the enclosure's thermostat, partially because it's BRIGHT RED, and because I'm paranoid that a bulb will randomly give out or go nuclear.
 

maggie3fan

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The substrate should still be changed when needed if you are not home and do not see your tort doing its business. Urates come out of their Urine so it's good to clean it out when you are not aware of your tort doing its business. Soaks are a good way for your tort to pee and poo of course, but are you leaving your tort in the soak all day long? or is it soaking for 30 mins and back in its enclosure where it can still pee and poop. (Hence, the purpose is that you are not always aware as a new tortoise owner of when they will go, so it keeps the substrate clean and sanitary.)

Of course, tortoises are not puppies. I specified that their behavior is similar to dogs, such as they have silly behavior and smell everything.
If your tortoise's poop is normal tortoise poop, looks like normal tortoise poop, and smells like normal tortoise poop it will look like poop and you can very easily spot clean when and where necessary. I have several tort tables in my house, and 2 of them have had the same substrate from when I moved here 15 years ago.
 

S2G

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Feb 21, 2021
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AL
I'm fairly new, but I've kept a lot of pretty difficult to keep animals. Not hard to reach requirements, but I'm amazed at the space a small hermann's uses. Uses ever bit of 5x4 at this size
 

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maggie3fan

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I'm fairly new, but I've kept a lot of pretty difficult to keep animals. Not hard to reach requirements, but I'm amazed at the space a small hermann's uses. Uses ever bit of 5x4 at this size
Imagine if he was a Sulcata. With them, there is never enuf room
 

S2G

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Imagine if he was a Sulcata. With them, there is never enuf room

I've never seen an animal dig like those things either. It will probably never happen, but I've always wanted to move further south & adopt a big sulcata. It's not terrible here, but no way the wifey is going to go for confiscating half the garage for a few months.
 

Tom

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I've never seen an animal dig like those things either. It will probably never happen, but I've always wanted to move further south & adopt a big sulcata. It's not terrible here, but no way the wifey is going to go for confiscating half the garage for a few months.
Half? Oh no. You need a heated barn or something. Lots of space. Heated space.
 

S2G

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Well the garage is huge, but moving all the stuff then especially paying for heating etc during the cold months. I'd be out there living with it lol.
 

Lindseyc123

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Mar 1, 2021
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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.
I’m so curious about #18- does roaming in the backyard really lead to death?
 

Tom

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I’m so curious about #18- does roaming in the backyard really lead to death?
Sadly yes. All the time. They get lost, stepped on, chewed by dogs, sliced up under the mower, they escape, they eat all sorts of things they shouldn't including toxic plants and foreign objects, run over by cars, sprayed with lawn chemicals, eat lawn chemicals put there by gardeners or family that didn't know it would be a problem or they didn't know the tortoise would be there, gates get left open, etc.... Its a bad idea any way you look at it, and its only a question of time until something terrible happens. We see it here all the time and I see it in the offices of vet friends everytime I go there.

All tortoises should be kept in their enclosures indoors and out. They should never roam free in areas of human activities.
 

SKOLsuper

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Jan 9, 2019
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Essex
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
 

Michael henry

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Mar 15, 2021
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Location (City and/or State)
Little Rock
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
Jacob it might just be me but I would not go on vacation in the winter because I was always afraid of the power going out. The great power company out here might get our power back on in two days but it has been as long as two weeks. When the animals are small no problem you can let someone take them for a week but when they hit 70-100 pounds it’s not ez. One others thing they live longer then us
 
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