Hard decision (for me)

Ghosti20

New Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2024
Messages
9
Location (City and/or State)
Philadelphia, PA
Today I made a really tough decision. I’ve decided I’m not going to be getting a Sulcata tortoise or a leopard tortoise. It simply wouldn’t be fair for the tortoise to live in my situation and climate.
I know this decision might be seen as easy for someone more experienced, but for me, who had my heart set on a giant tortoise, it was hard. But it’ll be good knowing that I’m doing some large tortoise a favor by not getting them.

I’ve decided I’m going to be getting a Russian instead. They’re more suited for my situation, and although not my first pick, I know I’m going to be overjoyed to even have a tortoise in the first place.
 

zovick

Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Joined
Nov 17, 2013
Messages
3,440
Today I made a really tough decision. I’ve decided I’m not going to be getting a Sulcata tortoise or a leopard tortoise. It simply wouldn’t be fair for the tortoise to live in my situation and climate.
I know this decision might be seen as easy for someone more experienced, but for me, who had my heart set on a giant tortoise, it was hard. But it’ll be good knowing that I’m doing some large tortoise a favor by not getting them.

I’ve decided I’m going to be getting a Russian instead. They’re more suited for my situation, and although not my first pick, I know I’m going to be overjoyed to even have a tortoise in the first place.
Even though it was difficult for you, this was a very wise decision. I commend you on your foresight.
 

JoJosMom

Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Mar 27, 2024
Messages
53
Location (City and/or State)
Canebrake, CA
Today I made a really tough decision. I’ve decided I’m not going to be getting a Sulcata tortoise or a leopard tortoise. It simply wouldn’t be fair for the tortoise to live in my situation and climate.
I know this decision might be seen as easy for someone more experienced, but for me, who had my heart set on a giant tortoise, it was hard. But it’ll be good knowing that I’m doing some large tortoise a favor by not getting them.

I’ve decided I’m going to be getting a Russian instead. They’re more suited for my situation, and although not my first pick, I know I’m going to be overjoyed to even have a tortoise in the first place.
Very admirable to choose the tortoise over your own wants. I assure you that you are making the right decision. Our rescue is filled with tortoises that someone like yourself had an urge to get one, yet found out very quickly that it wasn't the right move. So the tort ends up at our place malnourished, under weight, pyramiding beyond repair, impaction near death or half eaten by a predator because it was not in a secure enclosure and got out. All reasons why we exist and have dedicated our life now to rehoming unwanted homeless tortoises and turtles.
I understand completely the decision you made was difficult for you, but you really did make the right decision for the sake of the tortoise. A tortoise owner who makes their priority the sole interest of the tort is a well rounded individual in my opinion. Kudos to you!

Please share your new member once you have obtained one. We'd all love to see what you have.
 

SinLA

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Apr 19, 2022
Messages
2,177
Location (City and/or State)
Los Angeles
Excellent! As a Russian owner I applaud your choice, but I may be a little biased. Fortunately they are very hardy and forgiving of beginner mistakes.

Your next decision will be on where to get one. If you decide on a baby, there are some breeders on this list. It *is* harder to find Russian babies because my understanding is they don't breed very easily, unlike Sulcata which breed like rabbits. If you decide on an adult (in my opinion easier to care for, you'll need an enclosed chamber for a baby), you will have the "easy" choice of walking into a petsmart or other pet store, but I strongly recommend against that because you'll be getting a wild caught one and perpetuating a terrible industry, and so many Petsmart/Petco tortoises end up on Craigslist, you might as well go on Craigslist or from a local rescue. There are a number of rescues on the east coast that get Russians, and I know @DoubleD1996! has rescued several recently, so if you're willing to be patient, some in need will definitely come along for you. @Cathie G has a Russian in PA and may also know of rescue options just in the sense of once someone has a tortoise, they end up hearing about others in need.

Example: here is one in NY: https://longisland.craigslist.org/for/d/ronkonkoma-russian-tortoise-and/7736750731.html I would not pay $400 for it, but it gives you an idea that they are out there. If getting a rescue does interest you, i can flag some of my east coast rescue groups to keep an eye open
 
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The_Four_Toed_Edward

Active Member
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Apr 6, 2024
Messages
307
Location (City and/or State)
Finland
For me the Russian tortoise was the perfect pick! Hope you will fall in love with yours, I find them often quite personable and fearless. It is just a fact (and a huge pro in my opinion) that because of their small size, everything is more affordable, thus easier for you to provide your tortoise the best life possible. Enclosures don't have to be as large as with bigger tortoises, you will need less food and even vet and medicine fees are cheaper because of the weight! Providing a smaller tortoise with best possible care is just more feasible than with a bigger tortoise :)
 

Ghosti20

New Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2024
Messages
9
Location (City and/or State)
Philadelphia, PA
Excellent! As a Russian owner I applaud your choice, but I may be a little biased. Fortunately they are very hardy and forgiving of beginner mistakes.

Your next decision will be on where to get one. If you decide on a baby, there are some breeders on this list. It *is* harder to find Russian babies because my understanding is they don't breed very easily, unlike Sulcata which breed like rabbits. If you decide on an adult (in my opinion easier to care for, you'll need an enclosed chamber for a baby), you will have the "easy" choice of walking into a petsmart or other pet store, but I strongly recommend against that because you'll be getting a wild caught one and perpetuating a terrible industry, and so many Petsmart/Petco tortoises end up on Craigslist, you might as well go on Craigslist or from a local rescue. There are a number of rescues on the east coast that get Russians, and I know @DoubleD1996! has rescued several recently, so if you're willing to be patient, some in need will definitely come along for you. @Cathie G has a Russian in PA and may also know of rescue options just in the sense of once someone has a tortoise, they end up hearing about others in need.
Thank you so much for all that information!! Do you think a reptile expo would be a good place to get a Russian or should I stick to finding someone on this form who has one available?
 

The_Four_Toed_Edward

Active Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2024
Messages
307
Location (City and/or State)
Finland
Excellent! As a Russian owner I applaud your choice, but I may be a little biased. Fortunately they are very hardy and forgiving of beginner mistakes.

Your next decision will be on where to get one. If you decide on a baby, there are some breeders on this list. It *is* harder to find Russian babies because my understanding is they don't breed very easily, unlike Sulcata which breed like rabbits. If you decide on an adult (in my opinion easier to care for, you'll need an enclosed chamber for a baby), you will have the "easy" choice of walking into a petsmart or other pet store, but I strongly recommend against that because you'll be getting a wild caught one and perpetuating a terrible industry, and so many Petsmart/Petco tortoises end up on Craigslist, you might as well go on Craigslist or from a local rescue. There are a number of rescues on the east coast that get Russians, and I know @DoubleD1996! has rescued several recently, so if you're willing to be patient, some in need will definitely come along for you. @Cathie G has a Russian in PA and may also know of rescue options just in the sense of once someone has a tortoise, they end up hearing about others in need.
I also own a rescue Russian tortoise, and strongly recommend one. Also if they are adult they are not going to be a commitment for the next 100 years, but instead maybe for 50 or 30 etc., that could be a pro for you
 

SinLA

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Los Angeles
Thank you so much for all that information!! Do you think a reptile expo would be a good place to get a Russian or should I stick to finding someone on this form who has one available?

Its not very common that people come to this form to place, though it does sometimes happen (check out the adoption thread: https://tortoiseforum.org/forums/adoptions.12/ ).

personally I hate reptile expos, but that said, there are rescue groups who exhibit there. If you can stomach them, then yes it would be a good place to go so long as you make sure you don't just "fall in love" with something you see there from a not good breeder. Its going to be very hard to resist. If you can find rescue groups operating there, then yes that is a good thing.

Also here is a pet store in Fishkill NY that gets in rescues: https://www.instagram.com/animabilia_inc/ and also you can follow House of Pancakes: https://www.instagram.com/house.of.pancakes/ also in NY that is a rescue and I know has done courtesy postings of Russians (@DoubleD1996! got one that way)

I've PMed HOP to see if they know of any at the moment...
 

SinLA

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Also @HermanniChris - do you guys adopt out any adults/rescues you take in? I am guessing not as I don't see that on your website, but since this OP is near-ish to you could be an option for them if you did... or do you know any local rescues you can recommend?
 
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Littleredfootbigredheart

Active Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2023
Messages
526
Location (City and/or State)
UK
Today I made a really tough decision. I’ve decided I’m not going to be getting a Sulcata tortoise or a leopard tortoise. It simply wouldn’t be fair for the tortoise to live in my situation and climate.
I know this decision might be seen as easy for someone more experienced, but for me, who had my heart set on a giant tortoise, it was hard. But it’ll be good knowing that I’m doing some large tortoise a favor by not getting them.

I’ve decided I’m going to be getting a Russian instead. They’re more suited for my situation, and although not my first pick, I know I’m going to be overjoyed to even have a tortoise in the first place.
You’ve made such a wonderful selfless decision! Although undoubtedly difficult because you had your heart set, it would have definitely caused you more heartache down the road getting attached and then realising it’s not working out. There’s so many people out there that simply don’t think it through and impulse buy, it’s honestly so refreshing to see when someone puts their well being first.
I have to say, little Russians are absolutely wonderful pets, such personalities, you’ll honestly love owning one, I’d definitely recommend rescuing if you can cause there’s so many out there that desperately need a caring home like yours, but I also understand wanting to raise your own baby, though as members have said it’s more tricky, but I don’t doubt with the proper research and dedication you’ll do a great job, I wish you the best on this journey❤️
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
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63,596
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Southern California
Thank you so much for all that information!! Do you think a reptile expo would be a good place to get a Russian or should I stick to finding someone on this form who has one available?
Most of the ones found at expos are not started correctly, fed correctly, or housed correctly. Unless you attend one of the expos that a good breeder is going to, like Tortoisesupply.com for example.

Your best best is to get one directly from a breeder like @Carol S or @HoosierTort that is starting babies optimally. Or get a rescue. Just be aware that a rescue is probably going to be a wild caught animal that was originally purchased from a pet store, and those can have health problems some of the time. Its a risk, and you will need to decide what sort of tortoise keeping experience you want to have, and what sort of risk you are willing to take. Since this will be your only tortoise, you don't have to worry about infecting your other tortoises with anything, so a rescue in need of a home might be a good way to go. Personally, I want the healthiest animal I can get with the best chance of success and least chance of hassles, problems and expenses. Other people get the most satisfaction from helping an animal in need. We are all different.

And good call on deciding on a manageable species that will work in your climate. I wouldn't keep giants if I didn't live in a warm climate.
 

SinLA

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Most of the ones found at expos are not started correctly, fed correctly, or housed correctly. Unless you attend one of the expos that a good breeder is going to, like Tortoisesupply.com for example.

Your best best is to get one directly from a breeder like @Carol S or @HoosierTort that is starting babies optimally. Or get a rescue. Just be aware that a rescue is probably going to be a wild caught animal that was originally purchased from a pet store, and those can have health problems some of the time. Its a risk, and you will need to decide what sort of tortoise keeping experience you want to have, and what sort of risk you are willing to take. Since this will be your only tortoise, you don't have to worry about infecting your other tortoises with anything, so a rescue in need of a home might be a good way to go. Personally, I want the healthiest animal I can get with the best chance of success and least chance of hassles, problems and expenses. Other people get the most satisfaction from helping an animal in need. We are all different.

And good call on deciding on a manageable species that will work in your climate. I wouldn't keep giants if I didn't live in a warm climate.

I think Tom is exactly right on this. The only caveat I'll add, is Russians seem to be very hardy, PLUS the conditions people keep them in isn't "as" awful for them (too small yes, but they seem to deal with unoptimized heat/light better), so if you get rescue Russian, I think its less likely to have health problems then what you'd see in a rescue Sulcata.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
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I think Tom is exactly right on this. The only caveat I'll add, is Russians seem to be very hardy, PLUS the conditions people keep them in isn't "as" awful for them (too small yes, but they seem to deal with unoptimized heat/light better), so if you get rescue Russian, I think its less likely to have health problems then what you'd see in a rescue Sulcata.
Rescued sulcatas are all captive born and bred and seldom have any health problems. If they live through the initial baby stage and don't die of dehydration or cold, they usually survive anything. Most rescue Russians are going to be wild caught and they come in with all sorts of hidden pathogens, parasites and diseases. Some of them die early on, some of them are just never quite right, but manage to survive for a while, and others seem perfectly fine and healthy and live for decades. The problem is that even with these survivors, they can harbor all sorts of bad stuff and be totally asymptomatic carriers that never succumb, or they seem perfectly fine until some stressor hampers their immune system and they come down with some unexpected disease, seemingly out of nowhere. Some diseases and parasites are self-eliminating over time, while others hide and wait for their opportunity.

All of them, and all of us are going to eventually die. Its really a question of time and risk. There is a greater risk of disease and death with a WC than with a CB. Rescuing is awesome and to be encouraged, but I want readers to know the full picture so they can decide for themselves which way to go.
 

Cathie G

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Today I made a really tough decision. I’ve decided I’m not going to be getting a Sulcata tortoise or a leopard tortoise. It simply wouldn’t be fair for the tortoise to live in my situation and climate.
I know this decision might be seen as easy for someone more experienced, but for me, who had my heart set on a giant tortoise, it was hard. But it’ll be good knowing that I’m doing some large tortoise a favor by not getting them.

I’ve decided I’m going to be getting a Russian instead. They’re more suited for my situation, and although not my first pick, I know I’m going to be overjoyed to even have a tortoise in the first place.
I picked a Russian for much the same reasons. But Especially since I'm a really small person. I can give him a better life if I can give him good care... And well they do have one little hiccup...🙃 you have to be a bit smarter than them 😜 They don't have the nickname Escape Artist for nothing.🤗
 

TammyJ

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Congratulations. You've made a mature and smart decision. And it's just the beginning for you, getting a small tortoise that's more likely to do well with you for now. Of course, you are young, and have before you a vast landscape full of possibilities... HUGE ones😁! Stay with us please!
 

zolasmum

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2,098
I do hope that ,now you have joined this forum, you will keep us updated on your eventual choice of tortoise - there are people here who will be happy to advise you on housing, food and all sorts of details, and will be able to help with any queries - and who will,of course, want to see photos ! Please do keep in touch!
Angie
 
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