Best tortoise for southern california?

chefryan

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Nov 21, 2023
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Newport Beach
Hi I’m wondering what the best tortoise is for raising in southern california? I’ll raise the tortoise indoors but eventually I would like to have an outdoor enclosure setup in my backyard for the spring and summer months.
 

G-stars

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Hello and welcome.

There are lots of good species that will do well in our Southern California climate. But more specifically it says you are in Newport, so I would rule out the California desert tortoise. Russian and Burmese stars would do well in your climate and outdoors. Russians do want to hibernate though in the cooler months, so you would have to deal with that. Burmese stars do get a bit larger but still a manageable size and are nicer in my opinion.
 

chefryan

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Nov 21, 2023
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Newport Beach
Hello and welcome.

There are lots of good species that will do well in our Southern California climate. But more specifically it says you are in Newport, so I would rule out the California desert tortoise. Russian and Burmese stars would do well in your climate and outdoors. Russians do want to hibernate though in the cooler months, so you would have to deal with that. Burmese stars do get a bit larger but still a manageable size and are nicer in my opinion.
That was something I forgot to mention, I wouldn’t want a tortoise that hibernates so I’ll check out burmese stars, thank you!
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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Yes, I was thinking about stars too. Tom made a great outlining post a while ago: https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/introduction-to-the-burmese-star-tortoise.199007/

Redfoots and Yellowfoots are no-go - they need high humidity and stable temperatures all year round. And huge space when kept indoors.

Sulcatas - they just grow very big. It's a lifetime commitment (for you kids and grandkids, perhaps). Because of their size they need huge outdoors space, hardened and well-planned. Doable, but I'm afraid not for the new keeper (too many sulcatas end in rescues and that's really sad).

Most of the temperate or desert species should be fine. Brumation (hibernation) is not a necessary, however beneficial for tortoises. And if they decide to brumate despite all your efforts - you'll have to deal with it.
 

Tom

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Hi I’m wondering what the best tortoise is for raising in southern california? I’ll raise the tortoise indoors but eventually I would like to have an outdoor enclosure setup in my backyard for the spring and summer months.
How close to the coast are you? Do you want a big tortoise or a smaller species?

Burmese stars, Manouria, South African leopards, radiata.

If you'd be willing to deal with brumation, then hermanni would be great for your area.
 

Radnoisseur

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If your area is drafty and you are willing to spend, you can always do a 20'x50' full enclosed temp controlled green house and they should be happy 99% of the time based on what the experts here said so far :)
 

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