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Tortoise owners....

(14 Posts)
bogiesaremyonlyfriend Fri 20-Jan-17 13:23:05

Can you tell me, please, what it is like to own a tortoise?? I've research all I can online but want real life stories. Do they bite?? Are the good for a cuddle? Do they smell? How much do they cost? Thanks!!

Papergirl1968 Tue 31-Jan-17 13:09:01

My mom has one. She's had it for more than 50 years,so they can live a long time! I suspect it's only middle aged now in tortoise years.
I don't think they have teeth but they have strong jaws for eating. I don't think they generally bite.
Not cuddly at all but mom's does come when it hears her voice.
Spring to autumn is spent in the garden, freely wandering but it can't get out. Like to eat beans, peas, dandelion leaves etc. From about October to March it hibernates in a big box filled with straw and covered with towels, newspapers etc, in the garage. Some people don't let them hibernate by putting them in a heated container for the winter but I think they live longer if allowed to hibernate.
They don't smell but their poo can. They don't seem to poo regularly and certainly not while hibernating. If they poo on the garden slabs it just needs washing off.
I've seen small ones for sale in the pet section of larger nurseries. Can't remember the cost though. The initial outlay may be expensive but there isn't much in the way of ongoing costs. I think mom's has only been to the vet once or twice.
Not the most interesting or interactive pet but a talking point!
Hope this helps...

user1486550809 Thu 09-Feb-17 08:43:43

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user1486550809 Thu 09-Feb-17 08:49:28

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Alfieisnoisy Thu 09-Feb-17 09:04:09

I have one ...ha hates me lol and will hiss at me if I pick him up. I do have to do this as they need to be bathed several times a week both to drink and also to absorb fluid.
Over the summer he lives in the garden and eats dandelion leaves and other weeds...don't feed tortoise pellets as they are too high in protein.

I have a Horsefield tortoise and he's 12 years old. He's about the size in length of a house brick and a bit wider...he won't get any bigger,

Avoid the Sulcata species....they get enormous and are the ones you see in zoos etc. Despite this many exotic pet stores still sell them which I think is irresponsible.

During winter I bring my boy in and he lives in a rabbit cage with a UVB light and a UVA basking lamp. I use top soil in the cage and spritz it down regularly ..Horsefields love to burrow and dig.

Don't use a vivarium...many pet stores sell them for tortoises but they get freaked out as they can see beyond the glass and cannot understand why they cannot get beyond it. You're better off with a tortoise table while the tortoise is small.

There are a couple of groups on FB which are dedicated to tortoises ...Tortoise Keepers UK and also the Tortoise Protection Group who re-home tortoises if you want an adult.

I love my boy. I also have two turtles....I refer to all three as my "shell monsters" I love the summer as all three spend it in the garden...the turtles have a paddling pool which I kit out with basking rocks for them. The tortoise has the whole garden and a burrow he dug for himself last summer.

Papergirl1968 Thu 09-Feb-17 09:04:30

Known to kill people?! Your average garden tortoise? I honestly don't think so...
Even the huge ones you sometimes see at zoos or abroad appear very gentle and of course slow!

ArchNotImpudent Thu 09-Feb-17 09:05:56

My parents have one - it's been in the family for over 30 years. It doesn't bite (or do anything very much!). It's been known to escape - they get really lively in hot weather and can climb surprisingly well - so if you get one, you'll need to get it microchipped. We had great fun when microchipping came in, trying to work out where the vet would put one on a tortoise.

You won't get far trying to cuddle a tortoise - it'll just retract into its shell. They learn to recognise you when you turn up with food, but that's about it for reciprocal affection.

They are fairly low-maintenance but you don't get much back in return. They can be interesting to watch - if you have a male and a female, mating is quite a spectacle (we used to have four at one time) but other than that, they don't really interact with one another. We're all fond of ours, though.

user kill people confused?

Alfieisnoisy Thu 09-Feb-17 09:10:19

My three shell monsters.

Rocky the Horsefield Tortoise.

Myrtle the Turtle (see what I did there grin) being sat in by Scooter the turtle. They are actually Terrapins but we call them turtles.

Alfieisnoisy Thu 09-Feb-17 09:14:01

Oh yes...mating behaviour from the males is hilarious. Anything that looks like it has a shell will do haha, there was a great video of one on our FB group last year as he jumped away at a beach ball.

My one also chases cats and will bite their tails or feet if he gets within range...my two have learned to give him a wide berth.

NomDePlumeReloaded Thu 09-Feb-17 09:16:50

DD's school friend has one. He lives in the house, is house trained and they adore him. He does nip ankles though, so you have to put your feet up.

Papergirl1968 Thu 09-Feb-17 09:51:36

My mom's tortoise hisses occasionally too.

doghairinmytea Thu 09-Feb-17 09:58:03

We have three and are still living to tell the tale...wink
They are great pets, fairly low maintenance and an interesting talking point. One is a little shit though and does bite the other two if they're all out together. As for giving affection- our male herrman's would shag your feet if you sat still long enough! Make sure you buy from a reputable breeder though- you should be given a license and have them microchipped as they are an endangered species.

user1486550809 Thu 09-Feb-17 10:23:57

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Alfieisnoisy Thu 09-Feb-17 15:25:40

Er....user, could you actually link something to prove that?

Tortoises can carry Salmonella but providing you wash your hands after handling them you should be absolutely safe.

I've NEVER heard of a tortoise related death...EVER.

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