How rare is Radiated Tortoises?

Justin Dinh

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Hi

I was planning to buy a pair of indian star tortoises to keep as pets but then saw an ad on craiglist selling radiated tortoises. And i find the 2 species very similar in looks and also know they are rare to come by. So I was wondering how rare are they and is it better to get the radiated tortoise instead of indian star. I will update more once the other person replies to me. Thank you
 

JoesMum

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If you get two tortoises they must be kept separately.

Sorry if you already know this, but it has to be said.

Tortoises are not social animals. They don't get lonely and they don't need, want or particularly like company. Another tort is competition for territory and food.

If you want to breed, introduce them to mate and then separate them.

Please read the following
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/pairs.34837/
 

wellington

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Either are more rare then a lot of the others. I would say the Stars are more rare then the Rads and harder to find for sale. They both need to have CBW permits I believe to It is to own. Not sure if it's needed if the tortoise does not cross state lines in the sale of it. @deadheadvet who sells Rads may be able to help here.
 

DPtortiose

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Hi


I was planning to buy a pair of indian star tortoises to keep as pets but then saw an ad on craiglist selling radiated tortoises. And i find the 2 species very similar in looks and also know they are rare to come by. So I was wondering how rare are they and is it better to get the radiated tortoise instead of indian star. I will update more once the other person replies to me. Thank you

I would recommend to rethink buying any of those species.

Both require an great deal of dedication and if your already changing your planning only based on an ad on craiglist it might not be wise to buy an animal that requires between 40 and 80 years of commitment, large amounts of space and a good deal of money.

I don't know you and I'm not judging you. But based on the post in which ask if it's better to get another species purely based on your rarity you might get way people might get the wrong impression. The impression that you’re only interested in a 'rare' pet and not in the natural behavior and husbandry of the species. The novelty value of these animals tend to diminish pretty quickly however and you'll be stuck with a pretty costly long term commitment. This isn't a nice situation for you or the animal. Perhaps I'm getting the completely wrong impression from this post, so please take this as a well-intended advice and not an personal attack.

To answer your question; go for Indian stars. Radiated tortoises need to go to breeders with preferable large breeding groups and large outdoor enclosures. It's very important that they do not become pets, this species needs a good breeding base!
 

Justin Dinh

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Sorry that I gave that impression it's just im looking to expand my tortoise collection. It's just im looking for that next step forward as a tortoise hobbyist and have seen many people saying how the radiated tortoise is such a rare animals and now given a chance to work with them it would be an honor. I actually have already researched about them prior to making this post but just for more experts opinion. Before I make myself sound any worse let me tell a little about my myself and how I take care of my tortoises. I have 2 sulcatas and 2 leopard tortoise right now. At the moment the sulcatas are around 15in and living in my backyard that i estimated around 30x30ft. I live in california so there are rarely any rainy or cold weather therefore I let them live outside. I also built a shade area for them (8x10ft) for obviously reason like shade and growing plants that they can eat that requires more shady areas than others ex. Alove vera. In the entire back yard I also planted grape vines, fig tree, elephant grass, prickless pear cactus, mual berry tree, etc. And some goes for the leopard tortoise but since they are a little smaller I built them an outside pen and indoor pen in the garage. All of them I got at very young age so I trust in myself that I will be able to care for them.
 

SarahChelonoidis

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Rareness depends on where you are, but Radiated would be much harder to come by most places. Radiated are critically endangered and listed as CITES I animals while Indian Star tortoises are CITES II. Radiated tortoises are only for series collectors who plan on participating captive breeding programs, in my opinion. Indian star tortoise populations aren't currently threatened (but may be in the future) so there is less urgency in keeping the ones already in captivity in professional hands and far greater numbers available in the pet trade. They are really not in the same class of tortoise, in my books (but what is rare is dependent on your country and local laws).
 

JoesMum

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Is your yard 30'x30' or is that the current enclosure size? Your sullies alone are going to need a lot more space. If they're cohabiting well at the moment, be prepared for that to change. They're among the worst for fighting.

Leopards aren't exactly small either. Again you need to plan for separate enclosures outdoors.

I am concerned about space and your talk of pairs. Please make sure that you don't get yourself into a problem with 6 tortoises all requiring separate enclosures and insufficient space. @Tom's thread on pairs that I linked to earlier explains the problem and there are far too many threads around about the results of bullying.
 

deadheadvet

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Both species are what I consider great choices. Indian Star Tortoises do not need a special permit other than knowing the laws of your state. Radiated Tortoises require a federal CBW permit to purchase outside of your own state. Since I have and had both species, I can comment on the two in question. Both are hardy species and require similar environment. 90F during the day, low 80's high 70's at night. 40-50% humidity. They eat similar diets and once started will do well. I got rid of all of my Indians due to Mycoplasma. They are very sensitive to it,and a lot of the ones sold have it or carry it. Just about impossible to clear completely. Radiated Tortoises are very hardy and fairly easy to take care of. The biggest issue in Rads in collections is the threat of Intranuclear Coccidiosis. Unless you are absolutely sure that the breeder's collection is clean, Very likely a fatal disease and complete contamination of the entire collection. There is some new data with hope of resolution if an animal is affected. We are currently working on dosing at 4X the recommended treatment. Ponazuril has shown effect at 4X the dose that was originally recommended. There must be some inroads on the Radiated Tortoise demise. They have recently moved down to # 40 on rare tortoises in the world. Encouraging news but still a very long way to go. They by far are my favorite tortoises. I have had all kinds (Leopards, Indians, Pancakes,Burmese) Nothing even comes close to their unique pattern and color. If it is in yopur budget, go for it. Also be very wary of scams when seeing ads on Craig's List.
 

Tom

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Before I make myself sound any worse let me tell a little about my myself and how I take care of my tortoises. I have 2 sulcatas and 2 leopard tortoise right now. At the moment the sulcatas are around 15in and living in my backyard that i estimated around 30x30ft. I live in california so there are rarely any rainy or cold weather therefore I let them live outside. I also built a shade area for them (8x10ft) for obviously reason like shade and growing plants that they can eat that requires more shady areas than others

Some constructive criticism:
1. Tortoises should not be kept in pairs. It is already a problem, even if you don't realize it, and it will become a larger problem as time goes by.
2. 30x30' is too small of an area for a single 15" tortoise, much less two. Plus, they are going to get bigger really quickly.
3. Do you have a heated shelter for your sulcatas? You should.

About your star/radiata question. I know more keepers keeping radiata than stars. Radiata are not nearly as endangered as it has been made out to be. There are still and estimated 6.5 million in the wild. I have no idea how many are in captivity, but just from the hundreds of breeders that I've personally seen, this species will never go extinct. Indian stars are a smaller milder mannered species. Easier to manage with space constraints, but I find the radiata more attractive and more personable.

Just to be clear about the permit question. No permits are needed to buy, sell or possess Indian Stars. CBW permits are required only to buy or sell radiata across state lines. If you buy them in your own state, no permits are required for purchase, sale or possession. There are many breeders in CA. Rather than use CL, I can put you in touch with a couple of reputable sellers if you like.
 

DPtortiose

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About your star/radiata question. I know more keepers keeping radiata than stars. Radiata are not nearly as endangered as it has been made out to be. There are still and estimated 6.5 million in the wild.

Very interesting, could link the source of the study that conducted this population estimate?

I'm not very familiar with this species, but what I’ve read on the species from the BCG (British chelonia group) it has disappeared over half of its distribution range in twenty years. An 2009 internet survey showed that less than 50% of the population was CB animals. In any case, these animals still fetch far too much on the open market. That makes them very attractive for smuggling. I think this is an species that really should be bred more readily before it can be considered a 'pet tortoise'. Let the price go down for a fair bit and let the CB animals catch up to the demand a bit.
 

Tom

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Very interesting, could link the source of the study that conducted this population estimate?

I'm not very familiar with this species, but what I’ve read on the species from the BCG (British chelonia group) it has disappeared over half of its distribution range in twenty years. An 2009 internet survey showed that less than 50% of the population was CB animals. In any case, these animals still fetch far too much on the open market. That makes them very attractive for smuggling. I think this is an species that really should be bred more readily before it can be considered a 'pet tortoise'. Let the price go down for a fair bit and let the CB animals catch up to the demand a bit.

This info is from several speeches given at the TTPG conference in Phoenix AZ by people who have been doing field research over there for over a decade. Initial population studies from the 70's were all wrong due to faulty methodology. Initial population estimates of 20-22 million were more likely 10-12 million. Over a stretch of more than 40 years we've seen the population drop to around 6.5 million by the latest estimates. This is alarming to be sure, but not surprising given the population growth and political turmoil of Madagascar over the last 4 decades. Frankly, I think we are all pretty surprised it is not far worse.

For whatever reason the alarm bells were rung, laws were passed, and designations were assigned by a variety of governments and organizations. Now commerce in this species is greatly restricted internationally, and somewhat restricted within the USA. This makes it more difficult to manage the myriad assurance colonies around the world. There is an island in the Seychelles, if I recall correctly that has thousands of breeding adults and uncountable numbers of babies running around, with more born every year, the the respective governments will not let them move any off the island. This is a HUGE, self-sustaining, captive bred population that could easily satisfy the world market, and create untold numbers of assurance colonies all over the world, but they are stuck on that island with 1000s more hatching every year.

Now I don't know about you, but 6.5 million does not sound all that endangered to me. I bet there aren't 6.5 million Chersina left in the wild and they aren't considered endangered at all. Probably not 6.5 million pancakes. The sulcata population was down to 40 in Senegal. Thats four zero. 40. If those 40 had died, the species would have been extinct in yet another country of origin. Through captive breeding efforts and re-intorductions by the African Chelonian Institute, there are now about 200 running around out there in Senegal. Compared to 6.5 MILLION radiata.

I don't have the stats, but I would bet that a lot of species are wayyyyyy below 6.5 million. Western hermanni, anyone? Marginata? Hingebacks? Forstens? Elongated? And don't even get me started on the turtle species of the world… I would believe there might be 6.5 RFs in the wild. Maybe 6.5 million leopards over their huge range too. There might be 6.5 million sulcatas in the US, but there are hardly any left in the wild.

Another species that is near and dear to me is the Burmese Star. Geochelone platynota. They are believed to be extinct in the wild as of 2010 when the last expedition to find the remaining wild population came up empty. The last study before that estimated the remaining wild population to be around 90. As I've been told, the story is that a couple hundred were imported from a captive breeding facility in their country of origin to the USA in the late 90's, and from these a captive breeding population has been built here in the US. I know lots and lots of breeders that are working with this species now all over the US, and I think extinction is VERY unlikely due to all the assurance colonies. The ease with which we can ship these around the country, and buy or sell them, creates an environment that makes this species attractive for breeders to work with. Like radiata, they are also fairly hardy, adaptable, easy to care for, and they don't get so huge ( like sulcatas…) that they are difficult to house and care for in a variety of climates. Their beauty and bold, outgoing personalities are added bonuses.

So in comparison, I really don't think radiata are endangered at all. Just a lot of typical government non-sense.
 

Yellow Turtle

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Both species are what I consider great choices. Indian Star Tortoises do not need a special permit other than knowing the laws of your state. Radiated Tortoises require a federal CBW permit to purchase outside of your own state. Since I have and had both species, I can comment on the two in question. Both are hardy species and require similar environment. 90F during the day, low 80's high 70's at night. 40-50% humidity. They eat similar diets and once started will do well. I got rid of all of my Indians due to Mycoplasma. They are very sensitive to it,and a lot of the ones sold have it or carry it. Just about impossible to clear completely. Radiated Tortoises are very hardy and fairly easy to take care of. The biggest issue in Rads in collections is the threat of Intranuclear Coccidiosis. Unless you are absolutely sure that the breeder's collection is clean, Very likely a fatal disease and complete contamination of the entire collection. There is some new data with hope of resolution if an animal is affected. We are currently working on dosing at 4X the recommended treatment. Ponazuril has shown effect at 4X the dose that was originally recommended. There must be some inroads on the Radiated Tortoise demise. They have recently moved down to # 40 on rare tortoises in the world. Encouraging news but still a very long way to go. They by far are my favorite tortoises. I have had all kinds (Leopards, Indians, Pancakes,Burmese) Nothing even comes close to their unique pattern and color. If it is in yopur budget, go for it. Also be very wary of scams when seeing ads on Craig's List.
Just pay attention on this and then choose whatever you like.

My preference would be radiated tortoise, though. They are much more hardy than indian star in my personal experience. For intranuclear coccidiosis, among the imported radiated in my country, I really never heard hobbyists complaining about the symptoms here.

If you choose indian star, just better you buy a captive bred one, not really sure, you can still get imported ones to your country. Imported ones usually carries whatever parasites and unless treated well, they wouldn't last long after you buy them. But you couldn't get rid 100% of mycoplasma either...
 

Fredkas

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This info is from several speeches given at the TTPG conference in Phoenix AZ by people who have been doing field research over there for over a decade. Initial population studies from the 70's were all wrong due to faulty methodology. Initial population estimates of 20-22 million were more likely 10-12 million. Over a stretch of more than 40 years we've seen the population drop to around 6.5 million by the latest estimates. This is alarming to be sure, but not surprising given the population growth and political turmoil of Madagascar over the last 4 decades. Frankly, I think we are all pretty surprised it is not far worse.

For whatever reason the alarm bells were rung, laws were passed, and designations were assigned by a variety of governments and organizations. Now commerce in this species is greatly restricted internationally, and somewhat restricted within the USA. This makes it more difficult to manage the myriad assurance colonies around the world. There is an island in the Seychelles, if I recall correctly that has thousands of breeding adults and uncountable numbers of babies running around, with more born every year, the the respective governments will not let them move any off the island. This is a HUGE, self-sustaining, captive bred population that could easily satisfy the world market, and create untold numbers of assurance colonies all over the world, but they are stuck on that island with 1000s more hatching every year.

Now I don't know about you, but 6.5 million does not sound all that endangered to me. I bet there aren't 6.5 million Chersina left in the wild and they aren't considered endangered at all. Probably not 6.5 million pancakes. The sulcata population was down to 40 in Senegal. Thats four zero. 40. If those 40 had died, the species would have been extinct in yet another country of origin. Through captive breeding efforts and re-intorductions by the African Chelonian Institute, there are now about 200 running around out there in Senegal. Compared to 6.5 MILLION radiata.

I don't have the stats, but I would bet that a lot of species are wayyyyyy below 6.5 million. Western hermanni, anyone? Marginata? Hingebacks? Forstens? Elongated? And don't even get me started on the turtle species of the world… I would believe there might be 6.5 RFs in the wild. Maybe 6.5 million leopards over their huge range too. There might be 6.5 million sulcatas in the US, but there are hardly any left in the wild.

Another species that is near and dear to me is the Burmese Star. Geochelone platynota. They are believed to be extinct in the wild as of 2010 when the last expedition to find the remaining wild population came up empty. The last study before that estimated the remaining wild population to be around 90. As I've been told, the story is that a couple hundred were imported from a captive breeding facility in their country of origin to the USA in the late 90's, and from these a captive breeding population has been built here in the US. I know lots and lots of breeders that are working with this species now all over the US, and I think extinction is VERY unlikely due to all the assurance colonies. The ease with which we can ship these around the country, and buy or sell them, creates an environment that makes this species attractive for breeders to work with. Like radiata, they are also fairly hardy, adaptable, easy to care for, and they don't get so huge ( like sulcatas…) that they are difficult to house and care for in a variety of climates. Their beauty and bold, outgoing personalities are added bonuses.

So in comparison, I really don't think radiata are endangered at all. Just a lot of typical government non-sense.
Oh my god. Your knowledge amazed me!
 

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