Ethical Tortoise ownership
Is there such a thing?
It seemed that everyone at school had a tortoise when I was a nipper – and apparently all they needed was a few lettuce leaves and somewhere to sleep for 6 months every year, before returning like a helmeted Lazarus.
Apparently they live longer than Dave Attenborough – but I can’t remember the last time someone told me theirs was ‘still alive’. Is there a huge underground collective of escaped tortoises, living it up in the British countryside?
Do people still buy them?, and are they largely smuggled from far and wide or is there a thriving turtle-mating club scene?
When the evil Shredder attacks, do they really cover no slack?Posted 6 months agobearnecessitiesSubscriber
As a young lad fitting Sky many years ago, experiencing the wealth of adventures as you could imagine, my most memorable (apart from falling clean off a roof) was walking into a kitchen laden up with drill box, sky box and cable reel. A bit distracted I then tripped over a small step and kicked the dog bowl across the kitchen.
A short while later : “Oh, have you met our tortoise? He’s 90 you know”
No dog.Posted 6 months ago
I have two. They came into our care years ago by people who got old and could not look after them any more.
They are quite old and may be 90’ish.
Nobody should be buying them anymore and is just wrong.
Message me if you want advice or contact the Tortoise Trust or Testudo Society.
I think they will outlive me and I’m 47.Posted 6 months agobwfc4eva868Member
quite easy to buy now from Specialist reptile shops. They won’t sell them however unless you buy the whole tortoise table, substrate, basking bulb, uv bulb and motor etc.
Most are captive bred these days.
We have two Horsefield tortoises and they are doing extremely well.
We have built them a bigger table.
Horsefields are by far the easiest to keep.Posted 6 months agomytiMember
I rescued a tortoise that a family had got for their kids who got bored of it. They really are very dull pets and surprisingly complicated to look after well. I researched how to look after her online and am a member of a the equivalent of stw for tortoises! She is currently asleep for 4 months in the fridge which is much safer than traditional methods.Posted 6 months agojonm81Member
Do people still buy them?
Yep, we have 2 marginated tortoises. We bought them from a british breeder with DEFRA certificates about 8 years ago. They cost a bloody fortune these days though.
Luckily we have a boy and a girl so will be breeding them when they are big enough. Should make enough from the hatchlings for a new bike every year!Posted 6 months agotthewSubscriber
We had one when we were young, Rocket was her name. Pretty much lived in the garden when it was warm and in house between warm months and hibernating. Although that doesn’t sound quite right as I’m not sure my mum would have put up with it just crapping on the floor. We used to have to get up a search party at least once a summer to go and look for her when she escaped. Ace pets, apart from the boring being asleep for half the year bit.Posted 6 months agosimons_nicolai-ukMember
Had two when I was a kid. One I found at the back of the local fire station. Parents tracked down the owner and they let us keep him (or her as it turned out to be many years later). The second belonged to our cousins. It escaped from their garden and turned up some years later (phone number still visible on shell) and we got that one as well.]
Ours had the run of a large patio and flower bed outside. They were great pets
A friend in London just bought two captive bred this year and is keeping them inside in a wooden box with heat lamp.
Isn’t there some dispute as to whether they should actually hibernate (ie putting them in a box for half the year isnt a good idea?). One of ours died over a winter, the other escaped.Posted 6 months agosr0093193Subscriber
Neither of ours hibernate properly. The small one will sometimes dig a hole, the old one just gets in an empty flowerpot or something equally half arsed. So they go in the heated greenhouse when it gets chilly.
Old one has to be getting on for 70 and has been doing this for 30 years seems to be getting on fine.
Its pretty easy for them to die in hibernation if not done correctly.Posted 6 months agojonm81Member
Isn’t there some dispute as to whether they should actually hibernate (ie putting them in a box for half the year isnt a good idea?).
Most european tortoises will only hibernate for a maximum of 8-10 weeks in the wild so keeping them in a box for much more than this may have a detrimental effect on their health.
The wind down period before hibernation is most important. Our vet said most tortoises die in hibernation because they still have food in the gut which basically rots and poisons them. You basically need to starve them for a week of so before hand to ensure the stomach and gut are empty. This is exacerbated by not properly hydrating them before hibernation and hibernating for too long.
The only issue with over wintering is that they can grow too quickly causing pyramiding of the shell which in itself is not too much of a problem unless very severe.Posted 6 months ago
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