Desert tortoise as a commercial pet species.

innocent

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I was wondering if a desert tortoise Gopherus agassizii or Gopherus morafkai is a species that has any commercial value? This would assume that a legally obtained and proper genetically diverse captive population existed outside the States they are naturally from. The tortoises would not be available for export to the states they have natural habitat in but may be available world wide otherwise. What makes a species of tortoise a keepable species? What makes a species not keepable? Would it be financially successful to breed Desert Tortoises and make money but should not be done for moral or ethical reasons?

I in no way am asking this with a venture in mind and do not breed any animals. I am simply curios at what tortoise keepers think because I have only had (rescued) Desert Tortoises and live in their natural habitat. They are wonderful and fun animals and I am very happy to have the opportunity to care for them. I know very little about other species or keeping them outside their natural environs.

I look forward to answers in this if anyone has any opinions.
 

wellington

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It is illegal in some states if not all their native states to breed them. It's also illegal to move them cross state lines.
 

ZEROPILOT

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It is illegal in some states if not all their native states to breed them. It's also illegal to move them cross state lines.
That's true of the native Florida gophers. And I'm not aware if there is a permit or a state program that allows an individual to do much of anything with them.
The penalties are also supposed to be very expensive
 

innocent

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It is illegal in some states if not all their native states to breed them. It's also illegal to move them cross state lines.
If hypothetically a legally obtained and proper genetically diverse captive population existed outside the States they are naturally from. The tortoises would not be available for export to the states they have natural habitat in but may be available world wide otherwise.
 

wellington

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If hypothetically a legally obtained and proper genetically diverse captive population existed outside the States they are naturally from. The tortoises would not be available for export to the states they have natural habitat in but may be available world wide otherwise.
It's a bunch of ifs. Ifs that likely would never happen. If all the ifs happened then I do believe there would be a market for them. Likely not a real big market though.
 

Yvonne G

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I'm not the expert to talk to, but perhaps someone who is more versed about the subject can reply: Take the western pond turtle as an example. Here on the west coast, where the turtle occurs naturally, it is illegal for anyone to have one. However, they are available in the pet trade in other states. I imagine it would be the same with the desert tortoise.
 

innocent

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I'm not the expert to talk to, but perhaps someone who is more versed about the subject can reply: Take the western pond turtle as an example. Here on the west coast, where the turtle occurs naturally, it is illegal for anyone to have one. However, they are available in the pet trade in other states. I imagine it would be the same with the desert tortoise.
Do you think the Desert Tortoise is a good pet species? Besides the legalities is this species suitable as a pet available to buy?
 

Tom

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Do you think the Desert Tortoise is a good pet species? Besides the legalities is this species suitable as a pet available to buy?
They are a great pet species. One of the best.

...BUT they are Federally protected. The whole genus is. They cannot be moved across state lines. Not any state. It is not legal to have them in any state they are not native to, and there is no permit or license available to make it legal. They cannot be removed form their state of origin, so any outside of the state of origin are federally illegal.

They cannot be legally bred, and if they accidentally breed, we are not allowed to interfere with the eggs in any way. If they somehow hatch on their own, we are allowed to care for the babies. The species can be given away for free, but there can be no commerce of any kind. No money can change hands, and nothing can be traded for them. They cannot be removed from the wild or disturbed in any way in the wild. Possession with in their state of origin is legal with a free, easily obtained license.

Given the above, they have absolutely no commercial value in any way. Anyone working with any species in the genus does so out of pure love for the species and the enjoyment they derive, and I'm fine with that part.

It makes me angry and resentful to type all of the above. This is an amazing species and people should be able to enjoy them, IN A SUSTAINABLE WAY, all over the country and the world through breeding of animals that are already in captivity and cannot ever be returned to the wild. I understand and support the goal of protecting wildlife in the wild, but these laws are stupid, do nothing to help the species, hurt the species by preventing reproduction, and are a shining example of government overreach, tyranny, and the trampling of our freedom. You want to save the species, stop having the military set up their bombing practice ranges in prime DT habitat. Move it over 10 miles where DTs don't occur. Allow breeding, for no money, of individuals that are already captive. Or... god forbid, let humans do what humans do and make money to the BENEFIT of the species in question, in a practical and sustainable way. Anyone remember the Peregrin falcon, Louisiana alligators, or for something closer to home, how about the Burmese star tortoises? Functionally extinct in the wild, but bred here in the USA by the thousands because the stupid government leaves us alone to do what we do best. Innovate, learn, and perfect the techniques to SAVE species. Our government nearly exterminated the Peregrin with their idioacracy and ineptitude. It wasn't until they ALLOWED falconers to do what falconers do, that the species was saved. Literally. Same thing with the American alligator in Louisiana. There are more now than ever before in the history of time because someone in government had the wisdom to make it commercially profitable to save the species and meet the demand for hides and meat that was going to be met one way or another either legally or illegally. We have example after example of success stories, yet the morons that have somehow found themselves in charge keep finding new and clever ways to NOT do what needs to be done.
 

Turtulas-Len

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They are a great pet species. One of the best.

...BUT they are Federally protected. The whole genus is. They cannot be moved across state lines. Not any state. It is not legal to have them in any state they are not native to, and there is no permit or license available to make it legal. They cannot be removed form their state of origin, so any outside of the state of origin are federally illegal.

They cannot be legally bred, and if they accidentally breed, we are not allowed to interfere with the eggs in any way. If they somehow hatch on their own, we are allowed to care for the babies. The species can be given away for free, but there can be no commerce of any kind. No money can change hands, and nothing can be traded for them. They cannot be removed from the wild or disturbed in any way in the wild. Possession with in their state of origin is legal with a free, easily obtained license.

Given the above, they have absolutely no commercial value in any way. Anyone working with any species in the genus does so out of pure love for the species and the enjoyment they derive, and I'm fine with that part.

It makes me angry and resentful to type all of the above. This is an amazing species and people should be able to enjoy them, IN A SUSTAINABLE WAY, all over the country and the world through breeding of animals that are already in captivity and cannot ever be returned to the wild. I understand and support the goal of protecting wildlife in the wild, but these laws are stupid, do nothing to help the species, hurt the species by preventing reproduction, and are a shining example of government overreach, tyranny, and the trampling of our freedom. You want to save the species, stop having the military set up their bombing practice ranges in prime DT habitat. Move it over 10 miles where DTs don't occur. Allow breeding, for no money, of individuals that are already captive. Or... god forbid, let humans do what humans do and make money to the BENEFIT of the species in question, in a practical and sustainable way. Anyone remember the Peregrin falcon, Louisiana alligators, or for something closer to home, how about the Burmese star tortoises? Functionally extinct in the wild, but bred here in the USA by the thousands because the stupid government leaves us alone to do what we do best. Innovate, learn, and perfect the techniques to SAVE species. Our government nearly exterminated the Peregrin with their idioacracy and ineptitude. It wasn't until they ALLOWED falconers to do what falconers do, that the species was saved. Literally. Same thing with the American alligator in Louisiana. There are more now than ever before in the history of time because someone in government had the wisdom to make it commercially profitable to save the species and meet the demand for hides and meat that was going to be met one way or another either legally or illegally. We have example after example of success stories, yet the morons that have somehow found themselves in charge keep finding new and clever ways to NOT do what needs to be done.

They are a great pet species. One of the best.

...BUT they are Federally protected. The whole genus is. They cannot be moved across state lines. Not any state. It is not legal to have them in any state they are not native to, and there is no permit or license available to make it legal. They cannot be removed form their state of origin, so any outside of the state of origin are federally illegal.

They cannot be legally bred, and if they accidentally breed, we are not allowed to interfere with the eggs in any way. If they somehow hatch on their own, we are allowed to care for the babies. The species can be given away for free, but there can be no commerce of any kind. No money can change hands, and nothing can be traded for them. They cannot be removed from the wild or disturbed in any way in the wild. Possession with in their state of origin is legal with a free, easily obtained license.

Given the above, they have absolutely no commercial value in any way. Anyone working with any species in the genus does so out of pure love for the species and the enjoyment they derive, and I'm fine with that part.

It makes me angry and resentful to type all of the above. This is an amazing species and people should be able to enjoy them, IN A SUSTAINABLE WAY, all over the country and the world through breeding of animals that are already in captivity and cannot ever be returned to the wild. I understand and support the goal of protecting wildlife in the wild, but these laws are stupid, do nothing to help the species, hurt the species by preventing reproduction, and are a shining example of government overreach, tyranny, and the trampling of our freedom. You want to save the species, stop having the military set up their bombing practice ranges in prime DT habitat. Move it over 10 miles where DTs don't occur. Allow breeding, for no money, of individuals that are already captive. Or... god forbid, let humans do what humans do and make money to the BENEFIT of the species in question, in a practical and sustainable way. Anyone remember the Peregrin falcon, Louisiana alligators, or for something closer to home, how about the Burmese star tortoises? Functionally extinct in the wild, but bred here in the USA by the thousands because the stupid government leaves us alone to do what we do best. Innovate, learn, and perfect the techniques to SAVE species. Our government nearly exterminated the Peregrin with their idioacracy and ineptitude. It wasn't until they ALLOWED falconers to do what falconers do, that the species was saved. Literally. Same thing with the American alligator in Louisiana. There are more now than ever before in the history of time because someone in government had the wisdom to make it commercially profitable to save the species and meet the demand for hides and meat that was going to be met one way or another either legally or illegally. We have example after example of success stories, yet the morons that have somehow found themselves in charge keep finding new and clever ways to NOT do what needs to be done.
The Sonoran Desert Tortoise doesn't have Federal protection. I just checked before posting this and found no updates since July 11 2021 on it's status. The Mojave wasn't deemed threatened until 1990 from what I've read. What about all of them that weren't in California or Nevada but were being kept by people in other states as pets at that time? I can remember when you could have sea turtles, gopher tortoise's and any of the desert tortoise's legally anywhere in the USA. I know this because I have had them and may still. It's called being grandfathered in.
 

Tom

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The Sonoran Desert Tortoise doesn't have Federal protection. I just checked before posting this and found no updates since July 11 2021 on it's status. The Mojave wasn't deemed threatened until 1990 from what I've read. What about all of them that weren't in California or Nevada but were being kept by people in other states as pets at that time? I can remember when you could have sea turtles, gopher tortoise's and any of the desert tortoise's legally anywhere in the USA. I know this because I have had them and may still. It's called being grandfathered in.
You tell that to the nice men when they come knocking on your door. Government officials are always fair and understanding, right?
 

Turtulas-Len

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You tell that to the nice men when they come knocking on your door. Government officials are always fair and understanding, right?
No they aren't, I dealt with them 49 years ago and the judge threw it out of court. All charges dropped and it wasn't due to a technically. If they do show up I'll be OK.
 

innocent

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They are a great pet species. One of the best.
I am surprised at this. I thought the over all consensus was going to be they are a bad pet species. I figured they needed larger space and weather would be a big factor. I am glad I asked.

I didn't really mean to get into the legalities of keeping and breeding the Desert Tortoises. I was pretty familiar with the California aspect of legal keeping of Desert Tortoise and a little of the other states where they occur naturally. I had actually thought of the angle of private ownership before they became illegal may have potential. How the Sonoran from Arizona isn't Federally protected as of yet and Desert Tortoise can be legal pets in other states if they have been there for decades. Then last night I spent a few hours reading about the Federal side of the Endangered Species Act and it didn't take long to see how government grew the tentacles of control to completely encompass all aspects of the pet industry. Not surprising as these tentacles are squeezing all areas of liberty and freedom I peer into.
 

TortoisesFLA

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They are a great pet species. One of the best.

...BUT they are Federally protected. The whole genus is. They cannot be moved across state lines. Not any state. It is not legal to have them in any state they are not native to, and there is no permit or license available to make it legal. They cannot be removed form their state of origin, so any outside of the state of origin are federally illegal.

They cannot be legally bred, and if they accidentally breed, we are not allowed to interfere with the eggs in any way. If they somehow hatch on their own, we are allowed to care for the babies. The species can be given away for free, but there can be no commerce of any kind. No money can change hands, and nothing can be traded for them. They cannot be removed from the wild or disturbed in any way in the wild. Possession with in their state of origin is legal with a free, easily obtained license.

Given the above, they have absolutely no commercial value in any way. Anyone working with any species in the genus does so out of pure love for the species and the enjoyment they derive, and I'm fine with that part.

It makes me angry and resentful to type all of the above. This is an amazing species and people should be able to enjoy them, IN A SUSTAINABLE WAY, all over the country and the world through breeding of animals that are already in captivity and cannot ever be returned to the wild. I understand and support the goal of protecting wildlife in the wild, but these laws are stupid, do nothing to help the species, hurt the species by preventing reproduction, and are a shining example of government overreach, tyranny, and the trampling of our freedom. You want to save the species, stop having the military set up their bombing practice ranges in prime DT habitat. Move it over 10 miles where DTs don't occur. Allow breeding, for no money, of individuals that are already captive. Or... god forbid, let humans do what humans do and make money to the BENEFIT of the species in question, in a practical and sustainable way. Anyone remember the Peregrin falcon, Louisiana alligators, or for something closer to home, how about the Burmese star tortoises? Functionally extinct in the wild, but bred here in the USA by the thousands because the stupid government leaves us alone to do what we do best. Innovate, learn, and perfect the techniques to SAVE species. Our government nearly exterminated the Peregrin with their idioacracy and ineptitude. It wasn't until they ALLOWED falconers to do what falconers do, that the species was saved. Literally. Same thing with the American alligator in Louisiana. There are more now than ever before in the history of time because someone in government had the wisdom to make it commercially profitable to save the species and meet the demand for hides and meat that was going to be met one way or another either legally or illegally. We have example after example of success stories, yet the morons that have somehow found themselves in charge keep finding new and clever ways to NOT do what needs to be done.
HEAR, HEAR!! Stupid overkill laws like that could be a sure path to extinction.
 

Tom

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I am surprised at this. I thought the over all consensus was going to be they are a bad pet species. I figured they needed larger space and weather would be a big factor. I am glad I asked.
They are hardy, if kept correctly, great personalities, easy to feed, etc... Their space requirements are the same as any other tortoise species.

I had actually thought of the angle of private ownership before they became illegal may have potential. How the Sonoran from Arizona isn't Federally protected as of yet and Desert Tortoise can be legal pets in other states if they have been there for decades.
I've never heard of any grandfather clauses for these species. As far as I have been told, it is not legal to have them in other states, regardless of how long they've been there, how they got there, or who owned them years ago. I would be happy to be wrong about this. That would actually be good news.
 

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