Guess I should stop stalking you all now...

Pistachio's Pamperer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2019
Messages
253
Location (City and/or State)
New Mexico
Wanted to say hello finally. Howdy!!
I have been lurking the forum for a long time, you all have quite the google presence. Decided to finally become legit a little over a week ago and finally register. The reason for this being that I finally quit just thinking about turtles and tortoises and “rescued” one. I have been pretty fascinated since childhood. My “hippy” farm owning parents always took in hurt, lost, ‘runt’, etc type animals when I was a kid. Squirrels, birds, raccoons, opossums, skunks, etc and then even domesticated/farm animals. So I grew up bottle feeding and learning rapidly. I also had ferrets, hamsters, rabbits, etc in the house. But some of my most memorable moments were involving reptiles. We had a snapping turtle in a cattle water tank for awhile-boat damage. A box turtle who met with a belly mower. And a few others.
Turtles and tortoises have always held a somewhat spiritual meaning for me as well.
Then enter Pistachio over two weeks ago.
Pistachio is a very MALE Russian tortoise who I am assuming is wild caught and probably full grown. He was in my opinion in a pretty crappy situation in a pet store. I will share more later about this and update with some pictures. As I have already been extremely verbose.

Thanks for reading. And thanks to all the members who have already helped more than you will ever know. I am sure I will now be annoying you with posts when I get hung up about his care.

-Meg
 

Pistachio's Pamperer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2019
Messages
253
Location (City and/or State)
New Mexico
Thank you Yvonne G.
Ooooh! More peoples I have stalked. Thank you!!!
I feel like I have just met celebrities... Star struck!!

So on to Pistachio’s story. I will post my setup and more pics later.
I am the crazy lady that goes into the pet store or the grain store and buys all the $4-$20 dollar bag of discounted stuff and either goes to the local animal shelter or uses it at home to take care of my dogs and cats. I am this person and I own it.

So there I am with my daughter at the local pet store looking for ‘goodies’ when I hear a lot of excitement. So we check it out. One of the pet store workers is showing a bunch of kids a tortoise. Unknown species but kids are being told he is a dessert tortoise and will grow to be bigger than a tire and weigh more than 50lbs. I immediately know all of this wrong. Tortoise is out of 20 gallon tank and being shown around. He is retracted into shell and trying to use legs to get a grip off and on. Kids are being told that he is just fed same as other reptiles - fruit(a lot), some greens, dry hay(rabbit food), has crickets and other bugs to choose from, etc. I get very angry, but keep calm. I find another employee that I am more familiar with and start asking questions. Lights are wrong. Enclosure is wrong: size, lack of hide, plastic plants(sorry I am not a fan-no offense to those who like them), etc. Food is wrong. Heat and lights are on 24/7. Humidity not monitored. Substrate in the enclosure is wrong. Reptile dishes are wrong- drowning possible, flipping possible, and unable to easily get out of.((And yes he was hiding in these...))

Now this place does do a good job for most of their rodents, rabbits, ferrets, etc. and usually don’t have a bunch of reptiles but what they do have is pretty well cared for and looks good. I am not an expert, but I like to think I have good common sense and descent intuition.
I tell employee #2 that show and tell time needs to be over before he is hurt and he needs to be placed back in his enclosure. This happens.
I call the owner and set up an appointment for a chat. Yes I know this person as he and his wife have called me at 3am to help them out. Sugar Glider abandoned. Long story, but it ended well.

I spent the evening thinking about this situation. I have talked myself out of ownership for years although recently I had been looking at breeders and such AGAIN. I didn’t want to take on 20+ years of being a mommy and then worry about after..... I didn’t know if I was/am able to do this properly. We have college and high school aged kids. We have two spoiled bettas, dogs, and cats. We have also moved a few times in our life due to the company we both work for which is scary when thinking of moving ‘my’ babies. I wanted to continue to lurk here on your forum and a few other places. Smile and laugh from the safety of my phone/computer and enjoy through --your-- experiences. But fate is a somewhat fickle critter sometimes.

I met with the owner and got the story. They were getting some snakes from their supplier and a couple of iguanas. I have met this supplier and have told them I think this guy is shady and I wouldn’t do business with him. He “accidentally” had the tortoise in the bottom of one of the crates he brought with snakes in it. He gave a sob story of transporting him 4 hours back and offered him up to the pet store for $50 and told them to sell him for $200-250 and then told them a bunch of crap about what he was and how to care for him. And that they should sell quickly because he will get big. They had already had him a couple of weeks.

Ignorance and greedy people. Don’t get me started. (With age and maturity I try to stay calm and educate rather than fly off the handle, so I am getting "better".)

So I said. $100 bucks. A 40% discount on supplies I need for him today. And a promise never to take an animal/reptile/whatever again that they were not familiar with or educated about. Which was accepted. I got substrate. Food-Mazuri, zoo med natural grassland tort food, zoo med gourmet tort food. Vitamins and calcium powder. Cuttle bones. His lights which will eventually get switched out. Then a trip to the hardware store for a infrared thermometer. A 65 gallon tote. Terra Cotta saucers and pots. Hardware cloth/chicken wire. I keep plants and succulents year round so we have fresh food. ((AND I have read and read and read on here for years and a couple of other sites like tortoise table(although I don't always agree)))

I came home and had him setup and ready to go within an hour, while he had a long soak in some carrot puree. I monitored his humidity, temps, mobility, activities, potties, etc like a crazed woman for the first week. He flashed me within the first week and continues to do so as he likes bath time-so confirmed male although I was pretty sure anyway based on size, shell, feet, and tail. No parasites, clean bill of health-from a vet. Other than maybe slightly lean/malnourished and dehydration issues.

And somehow or the other I hear the Smeagol voice in my head for his personality. LOL " We hates the pellets!"
So yeah doesn't eat pellets, no matter what. Soaked in aloe juice. Soaked in warm water. Mixed in with other food. Doesn't matter he doesn't like it. I will keep trying. Had to wean him off the sugars and fruits which was fun. He was a grumpy for awhile and turned his nose up at everything in the food dish. I have learned with him, he does better if I don't do much to his food. No chopping or mixing. I drilled holes in the bottom of a pot and stick the stalks of cut plants upwards so it appears fresh and natural, and he attacks. Giving him a whole "living" plant results in plant death almost immediately, so I don't do that every day. I am trying right now to 60%grown food. 40% store bought food. We shall see.

"Table" in the works, so he has plenty of space. And maybe next year my mommy separation anxiety will allow for us to do an outdoor enclosure at least part time. We go out now supervised in a modified dog crate while he basks I work on the fenced in back yard minus the dogs. His current tub is in my room which is the most temperate in the house and behind dog gate and a standard door. Don't even want to take a chance on a dog "accident", I have read about too many of them.

I have had this pending on my phone for hours today trying to get it written as I could. So I am going to finally post it. I will try to post pictures tonight when I have time.

Thanks again for the big welcomes!
-Meg
 

MPappagallo

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2019
Messages
369
Location (City and/or State)
Myrtle Beach, SC
Welcome to you and Pistachio! And thank to you for saving him from the obviously unsafe pet store situation he was in before. Sounds like you are well on your way to becoming tortoise obsessed like the rest of us!
 

EllieMay

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Joined
Jun 23, 2018
Messages
6,587
Location (City and/or State)
East Texas
Welcome! That’s an awesome story and I’ll be looking forward to pics!
 

Pistachio's Pamperer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2019
Messages
253
Location (City and/or State)
New Mexico
I have added a bunch more substrate(coconut stuff- as it was soaking and being strained at that time) since these pictures were taken, the food bowl ones were day one with him.

The whole plant ones were his first day getting a whole plant.

These will have to tide you’all over til I get home.

-Meg
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
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Jan 23, 2008
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Pastel Tortie

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Tortoise Club
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Joined
Jul 31, 2018
Messages
3,140
Location (City and/or State)
North Florida
As someone who lurked on TFO for more than a year before I got around to registering so I could finally join the conversation... WELCOME HOME! :D We all have to break down and sign on sometime... ;) :p
 
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