Which tortoise will fit Eastern Oklahoma?

hellomaloy

New Member
Joined
May 6, 2020
Messages
10
Location (City and/or State)
Muskogee, Oklahoma
I’m a long time tortoise owner... 2008 - 2016. I took a few years to mourn the loss of my Greek tortoise, Riko. I lost him of my own accord. I had him so many years, so many yard outings, a few moves, a gazillion pictures, a thousand hours staring, endless devotion and spoiling, what seems like a lot of life together, and also so many naps together! (He was a super lazy, non bed wetting cuddler) but one day when we were getting our last house ready to move we were doing a huge sanding job in the living room right next to him. In an attempt to save his lungs, I let him outside like I sometimes did (usually with him 😔). We had a fenced yard that he had never gotten out of before and that of which I had walked over and over inspecting and fixing as needed. I had spent so much time with him out there. I knew he would be okay. That day... after only a few hours, my sweet, charming, personality filled handsome Greek tortoise Riko was gone forever. I would spend the next week scouring the yard on my hands and knees for hours on end, feeling for soft spots, looking for holes, both in the ground and in the fence, raking softly in case I simply could not see. Sobbing. Damning myself for inadequate vision as hours and hours went by and my mind no longer sharp. Guilt upon guilt compounding guilt for ever letting him out. I walked the neighborhoods surrounding our house asking around and posting flyers. I looked for his dead shell in case he was picked up by the owl who lived in the next door neighbors tree. I wouldn’t let my husband mow for a month. It wasn’t even hibernating time. Finally, we had to move. I plead with the owners that if they came across him or he ever popped up to please let me know. He was my family. I would travel to get him back. My heart still hurts for him but I was never able to find my Riko. When I first got him I knew I was bound to owning a tortoise for life, I was in love with them. I want to dedicate myself to owning and loving one once more, with a better setup and a better plan. I have a partial table set up inside for cold weather and an out door enclosure being built waiting to decide the breed of tortoise that will dictate my final touches. I no longer live in cold rainy Washington where my tortoise had to be inside 24/7. I now live in eastern Oklahoma (1hr SE of Tulsa) where a lot of the days are terribly humid and it is rainy sometimes but mainly sunny. When it is hot, sometimes it is VERY hot. Other times it is only humid. Other times it is stormy. It is hard to understand the weather since I’ve only been here 6 months. All I know is that from what I’ve witnessed and experienced, it will be hot and humid and warm about 8-9 months out of the year which is perfect for outside natural habitat with inside enclosure for cold temperatures. I researched but did not want to make a mistake. What I gathered was a red footed tortoise would fit climate here. I want less artificial and more natural for my new lifelong mate. The best of both worlds as needed and only the best. Any insight is greatly appreciated because if I do this again I am doing it whole heartedly as before, and with utmost dedication. I would also hope for breeder recommendations if you know a specific tortoise would work for me. Thank you guys for reading and thank you for allowing me to join your community 🙏
 

MichaelL

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2018
Messages
934
Location (City and/or State)
Ocala, Fl
I’m a long time tortoise owner... 2008 - 2016. I took a few years to mourn the loss of my Greek tortoise, Riko. I lost him of my own accord. I had him so many years, so many yard outings, a few moves, a gazillion pictures, a thousand hours staring, endless devotion and spoiling, what seems like a lot of life together, and also so many naps together! (He was a super lazy, non bed wetting cuddler) but one day when we were getting our last house ready to move we were doing a huge sanding job in the living room right next to him. In an attempt to save his lungs, I let him outside like I sometimes did (usually with him 😔). We had a fenced yard that he had never gotten out of before and that of which I had walked over and over inspecting and fixing as needed. I had spent so much time with him out there. I knew he would be okay. That day... after only a few hours, my sweet, charming, personality filled handsome Greek tortoise Riko was gone forever. I would spend the next week scouring the yard on my hands and knees for hours on end, feeling for soft spots, looking for holes, both in the ground and in the fence, raking softly in case I simply could not see. Sobbing. Damning myself for inadequate vision as hours and hours went by and my mind no longer sharp. Guilt upon guilt compounding guilt for ever letting him out. I walked the neighborhoods surrounding our house asking around and posting flyers. I looked for his dead shell in case he was picked up by the owl who lived in the next door neighbors tree. I wouldn’t let my husband mow for a month. It wasn’t even hibernating time. Finally, we had to move. I plead with the owners that if they came across him or he ever popped up to please let me know. He was my family. I would travel to get him back. My heart still hurts for him but I was never able to find my Riko. When I first got him I knew I was bound to owning a tortoise for life, I was in love with them. I want to dedicate myself to owning and loving one once more, with a better setup and a better plan. I have a partial table set up inside for cold weather and an out door enclosure being built waiting to decide the breed of tortoise that will dictate my final touches. I no longer live in cold rainy Washington where my tortoise had to be inside 24/7. I now live in eastern Oklahoma (1hr SE of Tulsa) where a lot of the days are terribly humid and it is rainy sometimes but mainly sunny. When it is hot, sometimes it is VERY hot. Other times it is only humid. Other times it is stormy. It is hard to understand the weather since I’ve only been here 6 months. All I know is that from what I’ve witnessed and experienced, it will be hot and humid and warm about 8-9 months out of the year which is perfect for outside natural habitat with inside enclosure for cold temperatures. I researched but did not want to make a mistake. What I gathered was a red footed tortoise would fit climate here. I want less artificial and more natural for my new lifelong mate. The best of both worlds as needed and only the best. Any insight is greatly appreciated because if I do this again I am doing it whole heartedly as before, and with utmost dedication. I would also hope for breeder recommendations if you know a specific tortoise would work for me. Thank you guys for reading and thank you for allowing me to join your community 🙏
So sad! At least you'll always have the memories of him and all the pictures to feel like he is still with you.. I have heard redfoots are awesome, and it sounds like it would do awesome in your climate. Not sure on any breeders, I haven't bought one or had one before. Hopefully someone else will come along to help with that. So sorry for your loss! You should share some pics so we can see what he was like. :)
 

KarenSoCal

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
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Joined
Jul 8, 2017
Messages
5,166
Location (City and/or State)
Low desert 50 mi SE of Palm Springs CA
I don't know much about redfoot, but I do know that they need lots of shade when outdoors. They're more of a tropical forest species, and don't like brilliant light.

They are also omnivorous, and can eat a wider variety of types of food.

Our resident redfoot guru can fill you in on anything redfoot. I'll tag him.

@ZEROPILOT
 

ZEROPILOT

REDFOOT WRANGLER
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Jul 16, 2014
Messages
24,141
Location (City and/or State)
South Eastern Florida (U.S.A.)/Rock Hill S.C.
Welcome.
I keep my Redfoot herd outdoors in south Florida.
I'm not sure if your "warm and humid" is on par with ours, but it's near perfect outdoors here year round. And it's made me a very lazy keeper.
It's correct that they dislike bright lights and prefer shade. They're most active at sunrise and sunset...Or anytime it rains. They love the rain!
They prefer temperatures between 80 and 85. Much warmer and they retreat into a hide. They also do fine outside when it's in the 60s and 70s.
They can survive outdoors into the upper 40s. I bring mine inside if the weather gets into the lower 50s. So that's almost never.
Indoors, aim for an ambient temperature of 82 with 75%+ humidity.
I recommend a double enclosure outdoors. That's like a secure pen inside of a fenced yard.
My enclosure is predator resistant.
I have an older video on FACEBOOK called REDFOOT HABITAT FLORIDA STYLE.
It was an inexpensive setup and has lasted in one variation or another for over 10 years.
Redfoot eat a giant variety of foods.
They can eat things that would kill some other species. So finding something to feed them every day is easy.
My Redfoot or Cherryhead Redfoot breeder is: SOUTHERN REPTILES here in south Florida.
He does ship.
He's on FACEBOOK and the internet.
 

ZEROPILOT

REDFOOT WRANGLER
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 16, 2014
Messages
24,141
Location (City and/or State)
South Eastern Florida (U.S.A.)/Rock Hill S.C.
I don't know much about redfoot, but I do know that they need lots of shade when outdoors. They're more of a tropical forest species, and don't like brilliant light.

They are also omnivorous, and can eat a wider variety of types of food.

Our resident redfoot guru can fill you in on anything redfoot. I'll tag him.

@ZEROPILOT
One of many Redfoot keepers here.
Nothing more
 

Armadillogroomer

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
254
Location (City and/or State)
OK
Hello!

I’m from OK, and though the humidity is oppressive to humans, it’s not the same as southeast coast/tropical humidity. There’s more cold condensation in spring/fall, so outside of summer, you could be shepherding a 10 lb redfoot around full-time because of temperature fluctuations.

A redfoot would love the stormy early summers for sure. They are a forest species, so also be sure there is cover in the outdoor enclosure (poor guy would get fried just sitting in the standard rural Midwestern yard).

Just remember that 100% natural is not going to be achieved unless you go for something more native like a box turtle (which aren’t as big but pretty similar to redfoots with a big personality).
 

hellomaloy

New Member
Joined
May 6, 2020
Messages
10
Location (City and/or State)
Muskogee, Oklahoma
Thank you so much, everyone, for your responses. I have a renovation going on outback for my future family (herp fam, not human XD lol) and it is in a huge portion of my yard. It is mainly shaded from a massive tree right above and will be a double enclosure set up with security from above also. It will be placed right alongside a giant useless shed I have back there, with their own door hatch to a warm area (Kenan Harkin style). My lawn is flat and plain so we will be planting appropriate shrubbery inside for increased shade and hide areas. When I said I wanted more natural than artificial I just meant I didn't want them holed up where they don't belong. They will have the best outdoor enclosure I can provide. I am on week three of bloodshot eye research, I even have a raised garden being laid out to supplement fresh food for them (what is up with this disgusting muddy clay soil!?!?) I am so ready!

-Side note, I have grass but it sucks. I may have to build up a little bit of more realistic soil inside the enclosure so that I can grow a more natural and hardy base for them as I pant their environment.

I am attaching some pics of Riko, my dream starter buddy - remembered forever - wherever he may be <3
 

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