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Should Floomby get a hatchling?


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    3
  • Poll closed .

Floomby

New Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2014
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Southern California
Dear Tortoise Forum,

Hello! My screen name is Floomby and I've been thinking of getting a tortoise.

This is my story. I've owned plenty of dogs and cats. I've always loved herps: when I lived in upstate NY, I had an informal frog and toad breeding program going on, and I'm proud to say that with the help of a friend, we re-populated a Baltimore neighborhood with bufo americanus, so now you hear them singing every spring, and every summer, they go on pest patrol in local gardens.

After we moved to Los Angeles, I started collecting tarantulas. The landlady in my current building put the kibosh on that, so my 8-legged babies and my hissers are with friends at the moment. I do get to have pets, fortunately; it's just that spiders weird everybody out, go figure.

Last winter, my neice had me babysit her hibernating Eastern Box hatchling, since when I've fallen in love with turtles and tortoises. I've been informing myself, and I'm trying to figure out if it would be ethical for me to keep a box turtle or small tort. Here are my circumstances, and I would welcome the Tortoise Forum's wisdom on the matter.

I live just East of Los Angeles. The weather out here is pretty much in line with the weather in the city proper: in the summer, lows 60s - 70, highs 80s - 100; in the winter, everything is only about 10 degrees colder: lows from 50s-60s, highs 60s - 80s. It almost never rains.

Our apartment is not so big, but we do have a NE facing balcony that is 7' x 13' (2.1m x 4 m). It reliably gets sun for 2-3 hours every morning.

I'm taking action to improve my earnings so that we can buy a house with a yard, This could take up to a couple of years.

So my question is, given the constraints of my living space, would it be ethical for me to keep a hatchling of one of the smaller species in a properly constructed enclosure on my balcony? (I have the room to bring it in during the winter).

Meanwhile, please enjoy pictures of some torts and other adorable animals I have run into.
 

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puffy137

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As long as you can provide at least a 3ft x 3ft enclosure with a depth of at least 6 inches of sand or dirt, one tortoise should be ok. My adult tortoises hibernate during the winter months . So no need to bring them indoors .
 

Nancy C

New Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2014
Messages
4
Hi, Floomby. I live in Sylmar where it is HOT, similar to ELA for sure. My desert tortoise, Agatha, has dug a burrow in the backyard. She spends most of her time in the burrow where it is cooler. The advantage to living in LA is that it never gets cold, so tortoises don't hibernate generally. Can you start with a little guy? They will need some shelter, they need to bask in the sun and they need a shallow pool to get wet. I do think you can manage it in your circumstances, and your landlord may be happier...
 

Grandpa Turtle 144

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Hello and welcome to the TFO from AZ . Your balcony is 7x13 my Greek enclosure is 8x 6 and my Greek is a adult tort . Well have a great tort day !


Sent from my iPhone using TortForum
 

T33's Torts

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Neverland!
The issue obviously (with other posts) isn't the problem. Tortoises (especially little guys!) need sunshine.
 

Floomby

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Southern California
As long as you can provide at least a 3ft x 3ft enclosure with a depth of at least 6 inches of sand or dirt, one tortoise should be ok. My adult tortoises hibernate during the winter months . So no need to bring them indoors .

I was going to get a baby for space purposes. Then the next question would be, to get a hibernating or non-hibernating species.
 

Floomby

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Hi, Floomby. I live in Sylmar where it is HOT, similar to ELA for sure. My desert tortoise, Agatha, has dug a burrow in the backyard. She spends most of her time in the burrow where it is cooler. The advantage to living in LA is that it never gets cold, so tortoises don't hibernate generally. Can you start with a little guy? They will need some shelter, they need to bask in the sun and they need a shallow pool to get wet. I do think you can manage it in your circumstances, and your landlord may be happier...

I was definitely going to get a hatchling or juvenile of a smaller species, such as a redfoot or a Russian. Of course, I would have to be very attentive to the moisture needs of a redfoot were I to get one, especially in dried up SoCal.
 

Floomby

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As long as you can provide at least a 3ft x 3ft enclosure with a depth of at least 6 inches of sand or dirt, one tortoise should be ok. My adult tortoises hibernate during the winter months . So no need to bring them indoors .

Wow, that's good news!
 

Team Gomberg

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So, if I understand correctly, you're saying that the 2-3 hours of morning sunshine on the balcony wouldn't cut it?

--Floomby

I think morning sunshine will be just fine.

Morning is the best time for basking, warming up to start the day.
Tortoises retreat during the heat of the day (so mid day sun wouldn't matter) and evening sun is a plus but if I had to choose, morning sun is the best.

UV bounces around, even in shade. So it's my opinion that a young tort in a tortoise table on the NE balcony would do just fine.
 

Tom

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Here's what you can do: Build a large indoor enclosure so your tortoise has a warm climate controlled retreat whenever you need it. Then build a large outdoor enclosure so your tortoise can get sun, grazing and exercise on fair weather days.

I would make each enclosure are large as you can, but 4x8' is a good minimum for adults of the Testudo genus.
 

Yvonne G

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Hi and welcome to the Forum!

If your baby can get three or four hours of sunshine, that would be fine. I think building a large habitat on the balcony is a great idea. Just make sure there are plenty of hiding places and plants to provide shade. Sometimes that morning sun can get pretty hot and you don't want to cook your baby.

I would go with a baby or young box turtle. You can make a real nice habitat with lots of house plants in it for a box turtle...a little swimming pool, a couple hiding places and a feeding tile and there ya go!

Just a word of advice - don't use sand as a substrate. It might be accidentally ingested and cause a big problem. If you do go with a box turtle, dirt from the yard is just fine.

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Floomby

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Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
In my opinion, no.

What if I threw a UVB into the setup?

(Well I wouldn't actually throw it in there...I'd hook it up with a clamp and a timer.)

Here's what you can do: Build a large indoor enclosure so your tortoise has a warm climate controlled retreat whenever you need it. Then build a large outdoor enclosure so your tortoise can get sun, grazing and exercise on fair weather days.

I would make each enclosure are large as you can, but 4x8' is a good minimum for adults of the Testudo genus.

Well that's the thing...I don't have a big enough living space for a large enclosure. I could realistically accomodate a tortoise table of up to 3' x 4' (Zoo Med sells a 2' x 3' and Penn Plax sells one for 2 1/2' x 4'). I would buy a hatchling of a smaller species such as Redfoot or Russian. This should give me about 2 years to get my housing act together.
 

Tom

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I think 3x4' would be fine for a hatchling or young tortoise. I don't like either of those ready made houses. I think you can do a much better job designing and building it yourself, or getting some help if you don't feel like you are handy enough. 3x4' inside will be plenty if you also have the 7x13' balcony as an enclosure.

And 2-3 hours of daily sun will be plenty. No need for any UV lights outdoors, or indoors for that matter. A half hour of sun 2 or 3 times a week is enough to meet their UV needs. More is better though. So 2-3 hours daily will be great.

I don't think you have the room or the climate for a redfoot, but a russian, hermanni, greek, or box turtle should do great with the space you have.

Here is a russian care sheet and some tortoise tips:
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/russian-tortoise-care-sheet.80698/
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes.45180/
 
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