indoor cageless housing

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MissKk

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I want to get a Leopard tortoise but I don't want to keep him in a cage or turtle table. I have seen one family that let their tort run free around the house, he seemed fine with the set up. Have any of you ever done this? How do you handle the bathroom issue? They said they soaked him for about 10 mins every morning and he just went in there. Any tips or suggestions would be helpful, Thanks!

-K
 

PeanutbuttER

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I've heard of people training their tortoises and box turtles to go to the bathroom every morning like this and then letting them free-roam. It seems like a good idea at first and when I got my first tortoises I thought that's what I'd like to do. However, after learning more about what habitats they require and conditions they need I don't think it's really feasible nor a good idea. For one thing, he/she's going to need a heat lamp and a UVB lamp (which you could get away with not having if you just kept your tort outside:)) Indoors it'd be a HUGE fire hazard to just leave a heat lamp on all day over carpeting, or near anything flammable.

Plus, tortoises tend to come in contact with the floor a whole lot more than we do. They'll often more or less "drag" their shells on the floor when they skooch about. This means that anything on the floor that would normally not be a problem could get caught on them and cause them some harm.

Then you have to take into account that tortoises explore the world with their mouths. When something seems "interesting" it's not uncommon for them to nibble it and see what it is. Anything laying around the house that is toxic, small enough to be ingested, or otherwise dangerous would become a hazard to their health. Imagine for instance if your tort ate a bunch of bobby pins. He/she would likely be able to get it "down the hatch" but it would lay waste to their inside and could kill them. In this respect it would be like having a permanent toddler for the next 50+years.

My opinion is that keeping them outside is the best option. They get all the UVB they need from the sunlight. Heat is usually not a huge issue unless you're from a colder climate, and then you would supplement with an outdoor "house" and a heat source.
 

Missy

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I agree with Peanutbutter. But that does not mean that you cant take him out and play with him as often as you like:)
 
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Maggie Cummings

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Welcome to the forum, but I disapprove of leaving a tortoise to roam on the floor, especially a hatchling... Take off all your clothes then go lay on the kitchen floor or the wooden dining room floor. They're cold! Just because the ambient air is warm doesn't mean the floor is warm. And then he'll find that safety pin you lost last month and he'll taste dust bunnies with his mouth. He'll swallow that cat toy that Kitty was batting around a couple of months ago. The tortoise needs to be kept at 85 degrees or higher and I will guarantee that your floor is not that warm. A tortoise needs to be kept in a tort table or vivarium. It's my personal opinion that chelonia need to be kept in a certain way and if you can't provide that for him you shouldn't get him. That's like saying you like Betta fish but you don't like the way the fish tank looks so you aren't going to keep him in a fish tank. I don't mean any disrespect but I don't think what you want to do is a good thing.
Hatchlings are very fragile and if you have been reading the posts you should have seen how many are dying lately. As keepers we need to keep them in a way that is best for them, not in a way we want that is so different from what they need...please reconsider...
 

BuffsTorts

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I think it is a common misconception of tortoises that many people hear which draws them to one as a 'house' pet.
I too first thought oh this is what I want, but with a little thought it becomes clear it is not a good idea.
It is too bad that so many hear this and think it is a good idea.
Thats why I got a RUSSIAN!
 

elvis

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I agree with Maggie, plus if I didnt step on the tort someone eventually would.
 

Yvonne G

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Hi MissKk:

Welcome to the forum!!

I mirror Maggie's thoughts in her previous post.

It is my opinion that tortoises are wild animals, and as such, should be outside. While they are small they should be kept in a tort table. When they get big enough they should go outside.
 

Rhyno47

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If only it were that easy. I sometimes let mine roam my room for short periods. Some seem to enjoy it and explore while others only want to hide. But overall they seem to like familiar surroundings. Also leopards like sulcatas need specific humidity and temps which your house wont have.

Also leopards poop a lot and it would probably take years and years to get them to go outside when you took them out, if they're trainable at all.
 

Terry Allan Hall

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MissKk said:
I want to get a Leopard tortoise but I don't want to keep him in a cage or turtle table. I have seen one family that let their tort run free around the house, he seemed fine with the set up. Have any of you ever done this? How do you handle the bathroom issue? They said they soaked him for about 10 mins every morning and he just went in there. Any tips or suggestions would be helpful, Thanks!

-K

My 1st Hermann's, the one I inherited upon my grandfather's passing, had the complete run of my home, as she did when Grandfather had her, and both of us, too, soaked her every morning, so only rarely encountered her poop. Keep on mind she was a full adult, possibly 50+ yoa by that point...this would not be a good idea for a baby tort.

She already understood that, by sitting in front of the 'fridge, breakfast would be forthcoming (she taught Grandfather that trick, too ;)), had a small pillow on the floor level shelf of the bookcase for her snoozing spot (w/ a heating pad underneath that would come on when the temperature dropped), I rigged up a swinging door so that she could go out to the terrace of my apartment to catch some rays and always kept a water dish full, next to her feed dish.

And, as often as possible, she accompanied me to my Aunt's house, where she could roam the back yard...more sun.

Worked out great for many, many years.

My wife, otoh, has a little chi-pom that is a chewer, so my current torts live outside, in covered enclosures, during the warm part of the year and will come inside and live in sweater boxes during the cold part.
 

MissKk

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BuffsTorts said:
I think it is a common misconception of tortoises that many people hear which draws them to one as a 'house' pet.
I too first thought oh this is what I want, but with a little thought it becomes clear it is not a good idea.
It is too bad that so many hear this and think it is a good idea.
Thats why I got a RUSSIAN!

I've looked at Russian's before. My boyfriend didn't like the way they look lol! Why are they different? Are they easier to keep?

Terry Allan Hall said:
MissKk said:
I want to get a Leopard tortoise but I don't want to keep him in a cage or turtle table. I have seen one family that let their tort run free around the house, he seemed fine with the set up. Have any of you ever done this? How do you handle the bathroom issue? They said they soaked him for about 10 mins every morning and he just went in there. Any tips or suggestions would be helpful, Thanks!

-K

My 1st Hermann's, the one I inherited upon my grandfather's passing, had the complete run of my home, as she did when Grandfather had her, and both of us, too, soaked her every morning, so only rarely encountered her poop. Keep on mind she was a full adult, possibly 50+ yoa by that point...this would not be a good idea for a baby tort.

She already understood that, by sitting in front of the 'fridge, breakfast would be forthcoming (she taught Grandfather that trick, too ;)), had a small pillow on the floor level shelf of the bookcase for her snoozing spot (w/ a heating pad underneath that would come on when the temperature dropped), I rigged up a swinging door so that she could go out to the terrace of my apartment to catch some rays and always kept a water dish full, next to her feed dish.

And, as often as possible, she accompanied me to my Aunt's house, where she could roam the back yard...more sun.

Worked out great for many, many years.

My wife, otoh, has a little chi-pom that is a chewer, so my current torts live outside, in covered enclosures, during the warm part of the year and will come inside and live in sweater boxes during the cold part.



That sounds like the same thing my friends did. I don't think I would want a baby or juvenile but I see your point about his 50 years of training. Sounds like you have a spoiled little baby! :)
 

Terry Allan Hall

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MissKk said:
BuffsTorts said:
I think it is a common misconception of tortoises that many people hear which draws them to one as a 'house' pet.
I too first thought oh this is what I want, but with a little thought it becomes clear it is not a good idea.
It is too bad that so many hear this and think it is a good idea.
Thats why I got a RUSSIAN!

I've looked at Russian's before. My boyfriend didn't like the way they look lol! Why are they different? Are they easier to keep?

Terry Allan Hall said:
MissKk said:
I want to get a Leopard tortoise but I don't want to keep him in a cage or turtle table. I have seen one family that let their tort run free around the house, he seemed fine with the set up. Have any of you ever done this? How do you handle the bathroom issue? They said they soaked him for about 10 mins every morning and he just went in there. Any tips or suggestions would be helpful, Thanks!

-K

My 1st Hermann's, the one I inherited upon my grandfather's passing, had the complete run of my home, as she did when Grandfather had her, and both of us, too, soaked her every morning, so only rarely encountered her poop. Keep on mind she was a full adult, possibly 50+ yoa by that point...this would not be a good idea for a baby tort.

She already understood that, by sitting in front of the 'fridge, breakfast would be forthcoming (she taught Grandfather that trick, too ;)), had a small pillow on the floor level shelf of the bookcase for her snoozing spot (w/ a heating pad underneath that would come on when the temperature dropped), I rigged up a swinging door so that she could go out to the terrace of my apartment to catch some rays and always kept a water dish full, next to her feed dish.

And, as often as possible, she accompanied me to my Aunt's house, where she could roam the back yard...more sun.

Worked out great for many, many years.

My wife, otoh, has a little chi-pom that is a chewer, so my current torts live outside, in covered enclosures, during the warm part of the year and will come inside and live in sweater boxes during the cold part.



That sounds like the same thing my friends did. I don't think I would want a baby or juvenile but I see your point about his 50 years of training. Sounds like you have a spoiled little baby! :)


On the contrary...she had well-trained humans. :cool:
 

moswen

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My greek tula is 6 inches, and I've had her for 2 years and she lives under our pool table and has free roam of the house and I believe she loves it and I absolutely love having her come visit me and check out what I'm doing if I stay in one place too long. She comes out every morning from her hide and climbs up on her large flat rock under her heat lamp, gets warm, and moves to her tile to await breakfast. Then she gets a soak every other morning after breakfast and usually does her business then, but there are obviously accidents every now and again. Every month, just like changing out substrate, I wash the rug under the pool table for her health and ours. Tula is a curious girl and I believe she loves being able to explore and come check out the commotion and beg for food and she's stimulated by her environment around her, which I believe is a good thing!

We have hardwood and our floors are obviously colder but in the winter tula has two more ceramic heat emitters and she still gets warm enough to want to excersize and explore. Throughout the day when I find her and she's cold I will move her back to her heat lamp but she usually moves away again when she gets warm. We put her near her hide at night and she climbs right in. She is healthy and happy I believe, she's active and she has enough space to keep her from pacing walls like my babies do. However, she's not a baby and she wasn't when I got her and I do believe a hatchling might get too cold, but when your baby gets older I guess I'm the only one who sees no problem with it lol!
 

reptylefreek

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I have a leopard that I took in from a family that didn't want her anymore,she is an adult. I have had her poop in the tub while soaking her. This is not an easy task to clean up after. Although my living arrangements aren't ideal for her because i have her wandering the house, i would not reccomend this lifestyle. Torts like to hide and claw and pee (alot) and be an animal. Please make sure you have other arrangments if the house doesn't work. We love to hear that when people aquire a tort, they keep it as a forever pet and dont give up in hard times. WELCOME
 

MissKk

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Yourlocalpoet said:
Hi MissKk, welcome to the forum. Can i ask why you don't want to keep your tortoise in a tortoise table set up?

Thanks for the welcome! I love my pets and I like to keep them close to me and to be a part of the family. My cats sleep in the bed with me. I even had a snapping turtle that I used to cuddle with while we watched TV. I just feel like in a tortoise table he might become more of a knick knack than a pet. I know I would hate to have to pace in a big box all day. I think if he was acclimated slowly and only increasing the area little by little he might enjoy exploring. Obviously I would make sure he had easy access to a heated rock or something similar, drinking and soaking water, and his food bowl. The only problem I'm having is with the bathroom. What do you think?
 

tortoisenerd

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I hope you do the research as I strongly believe in Maggie's response--I think that it is harmful to the tort. A lot of the time the seemingly happy running around behavior you often see is actually fear--the tortoise is running around looking for a safe place to hide. It is cold for them and hazardous. There are many indoor housing options such as the wood tort tables, stock tanks, making something like a bookshelf into an enclosure, plastic tub, etc. What is best however is a safe outdoor enclosure--that is where torts really thrive. Let us know what questions we can answer, and welcome to the forum! An educated tort owner makes a happy tort. Just because people do something doesn't mean it is the right thing to do, so I'm glad you came here to ask. Torts can take a lot before they show symptoms of illness. I have heard of torts with horrible diets and care that live for decades, and then all of a sudden die because it finally catches up to them. They had been suffering internally for that whole time. I agree with the poster above--what is wrong with a tort table? It is a safe place to keep your tort and it is easy to watch and enjoy the tort.

I have my tort's table in the dining room area of our great room--we check in on him every time we walk from the kitchen to the living room. Some people even make a coffee table into a tort table so they can spend more time with their tort! I think it is very harmful to let your tort have the run of the house, and just providing heated areas, food, and water does NOT solve all the hazards. Even vacuuming daily would not ensure they couldn't ingest something. They need a place to call home that is safe. If you want a pet to cuddle with, sorry, but a tort isn't the pet for you. Torts are meant to be observed, and they actually do better when you don't handle them a lot as they get stressed. Cuddling with a snapping turtle sounds dangerous! Torts need to be kept away from all other animals as dogs like to use them as chew toys, even the dogs that interact fine with the tort 99 times, that 100th time might be deadly. When providing an indoor habitat, you do need to make it very large. If the tort is pacing all day, then the enclosure is way too small. When I say large, think of maybe 10 sq ft for a 6 inch tort at a minimum. Of course, outdoor is best, and where you will see the tort thrive. What pets do you currently have? To keep your tort safe and away from them, sometimes you have to be creative such as having a mesh over the enclosure. I'm sorry if my post comes across as harsh, but we all here just want the best for you and a potential tort.
 

Yourlocalpoet

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MissKk said:
Yourlocalpoet said:
Hi MissKk, welcome to the forum. Can i ask why you don't want to keep your tortoise in a tortoise table set up?

Thanks for the welcome! I love my pets and I like to keep them close to me and to be a part of the family. My cats sleep in the bed with me. I even had a snapping turtle that I used to cuddle with while we watched TV. I just feel like in a tortoise table he might become more of a knick knack than a pet. I know I would hate to have to pace in a big box all day. I think if he was acclimated slowly and only increasing the area little by little he might enjoy exploring. Obviously I would make sure he had easy access to a heated rock or something similar, drinking and soaking water, and his food bowl. The only problem I'm having is with the bathroom. What do you think?

I'm going to be honest, I strongly suggest you don't get a leopard that roams free around your house. While I completely understand that you want to bond with your tortoise and for it to be part of the family, letting it be a 'house tortoise' isn't the way to go about it. Tortoises are not built for that kind of living and any tortoise you do get will be much happier outside or in a tortoise table.
I have an 8 year old Leopard and unfortunately I live in the north east of England so she can't live outside so she lives in an open topped table. This doesn't mean to say she isn't part of the family, she gets as much access to the garden as possible and when it's too cold she does roam the bathroom, (we have heated floor tiles) she is absolutely adored by all our family and is very spoiled! She definitely is part of the family and she always comes first. If you want a pet that you can cuddle/stroke, watch tv with, run around the garden with then I don't think a tortoise is for you. They are a huge responsibility and require a lot of looking after, letting a tortoise have the run of your house would make you worry a million times more, and everyone will tell you just how much we all worry already about our torts!
Please let us know what you decide either way.
 
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