an almost tortoise owner

punkydub

New Member
Joined
Oct 20, 2014
Messages
2
Location (City and/or State)
Seattle
Hi everyone!

I'm not yet a tortoise owner, but it's happening this week!

I've got sort of long story of how the little guy (?) is coming to live with me:

My neighbor recently found a tortoise at a city park (Seattle, WA, USA) very near our homes. He actually thought it was a species of turtle (the park has a large red eared slider population) and took it to the zoo for identification purposes.
At the zoo he was told that is was most likely a Russian tortoise and that it was likely an abandoned pet, but my neighbor is uninterested in making a permanent home for the tortoise. Which is where I come in. :)

I have a vet appointment set up for Thursday so that I can get a positive species ID, gender ID, and general health check up. I'm also hoping to pick the vet's brain for a local reptile store or local owners that might be interested in giving regional specific advice. Since Saturday I've been up to my ears in researching housing options, food requirements, heat lamps, uvb light bulbs, substrate varieties...

In the short term, this tortoise will need to live in the house. At least until my husband and I have a chance to build an appropriate outdoor pen. (And go through the garden plant by plant to make sure everything is tortoise-safe).

I will post an update/proper tortoise intro after our appointment on Thursday.
 

wellington

Well-Known Member
Moderator
10 Year Member!
Tortoise Club
Joined
Sep 6, 2011
Messages
50,865
Location (City and/or State)
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Hello and Welcome:). I hate to sound like the mean one here, but you or your friend should first post signs and try to find the rightful owners. The Zoo, really gave bad advice. If it is a Russian, they are escape artist and could have just gotten away from the owners. They could be looking for him. If after trying to find the owners and after a good amount of time, you don't find them, then you should consider him/her as your own. If you or I lost our pet, we would want the person that found it to give us a chance to get it back. It's the right thing to do.
In the mean time, post a pic and we can ID it for you and tell you how to set him up until the owners are found or not.
 
Last edited:

Grandpa Turtle 144

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2013
Messages
10,853
Hello and welcome to the TFO from AZ . They are right I hope you look for the ouner .


Sent from my iPhone using TortForum
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
93,598
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
Hi, and welcome to the forum!

What Wellington told you is spot on!!!

And I hate to sound holier than thou, but vets rarely know tortoise species by sight unless you happen on one that keeps tortoises him/herself.

Your best bet is to post pictures here of the tortoise. We'll be glad to I.D. it for you. But please try to find his owner.
 

punkydub

New Member
Joined
Oct 20, 2014
Messages
2
Location (City and/or State)
Seattle
Hi everyone, thanks for the welcomes.

I do understand the advice to find the original owners, and my neighbor has tried. If someone contacts him now that the tortoise is living with me, he will let me know and I will gladly hand her back. I am highly skeptical of that being the case, though. Based on her condition and the location she was found, it would be a miracle for her to have gotten herself to the park. This park is a notorious dumping ground for pets (we're talking reptiles of all sorts, fish, rabbits and other small mammals) and has been as long longer than I've been alive. It's also surrounded on all sides by busy, multi lane roads, which makes tortoise crossing particularly unlikely.

I'm well aware of the issue with conventional vets- in my stress of trying to gather as much information as possible I forgot to mention that the appointment was with an exotics vet. The vet I met today has a few Russians of her own, so I feel like we're in safe hands.

Here are the updates-
  • Mr Hoppy (as the neighbors were calling him) is actually a girl
  • She is a Russian tortoise
  • There is a crack that will require surgery, but is not life threatening. As she was cleaning it, the vet said that it looked older than she originally thought. I think because it has started to heal, but is too big/wide to heal fully on its own
  • Something caused a shell deformity- she's really very flat. The vet said it's possible that as she continues to grow, she will develop more of a dome, but she'll always be a little flat
  • She also has two fairly deep wounds in her back legs that required flushing today and 14 day antibiotic course
  • We'll be doing a fecal sample as soon as possible because it's highly probable that she's chock full of parasites
  • And quick nail trim to round out the visit
Here she is, hiding her face. You can see the crack that will require surgery. It actually goes all the way to the end of that scute (I think that's the right word?) and then splits both left and right (the entire width of that scute). This angle also shows how flat she is.
hoppy.jpg
Anyway, I'm wiped out from information overload, so I'm going to go rip up some dandelion greens to give her (from our pesticide free yard). It's pouring or I'd let her out for a supervised backyard exploration. :)
 

HuyckB04

New Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2014
Messages
26
Location (City and/or State)
Iowa
Sounds like you and (Ms.) Hoppy(?) have a long road ahead, but I admire you for taking such care. Any number of people would have just decided to let natural selection run its course, but you're doing a tremendous thing. I'm looking forward to reading more of the story as it develops!
 

leigti

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2013
Messages
6,972
Location (City and/or State)
southeast Washington
Poor little thing! I'm glad that you have taken her in. you were giving her a chance at a good life. When the weather is warm they actually like rain.please keep us updated.
 

johnsonnboswell

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2012
Messages
2,226
Poor thing! It takes a long time of bad care to get to that shape.

What kind of surgery is the vet planning? Shells are not repaired surgically.
 

the_newzie

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2014
Messages
368
Location (City and/or State)
las vegas
Oh wow! What a poor little gal!! Good thing she found you! Best of luck for her rehab!
 

New Posts

Top