1. Welcome! Are you interested in tortoises? If so, we invite you to join our community! Our community is the #1 place for tortoise keepers to talk online. Once you join you'll be able to post messages, upload pictures of your tortoise and enclosure, and discuss any tortoise topic with other tortoise keepers. Get started today!

Is owning a tortoise cruel?

Discussion in 'Debatable Topics' started by Buddybenj, Jun 8, 2016.

  1. Buddybenj

    Buddybenj Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2016
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Is it cruel to take a creature which is meant to live in the wild and make it live in a glass cage for our own enjoyment?
  2. Rue

    Rue Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2016
    Messages:
    1,259
    Likes Received:
    912
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location (City and/or State):
    Canada
    (These ads do not appear for registered members.)
    All creatures are meant to live in the wild. Having said that though there is a difference, IMO, between captive bred and wild caught. I wouldn't do it to a wild caught animal, but a captive bred (and raised) animal has experienced captivity from the start and it's part of the animals 'normal' environment.

    I think you do, as a pet owner, have to do your best to provide the animal with an 'acceptable' living situation.

    So yes, sticking a tortoise in a small aquarium for its entire life is cruel. But housing a tortoise in the best environment you can provide to meet its needs is acceptable.

    And regarding keeping an animal for our own amusement or enjoyment? Again, I don't have a problem as long as the animal's needs are met and it isn't stressed unnecessarily.
  3. Sara G.

    Sara G. Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2016
    Messages:
    526
    Likes Received:
    239
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location (City and/or State):
    Long Island, New York
    Well that's a tricky question.
    Definitely a debatable one.
    Personally, I won't buy a wild caught tortoise.
    And I do see your point. I'm not entirely a fan of the idea of exotic species being owned as pets (that being said I own some myself), HOWEVER since they are going to be put into the pet trade regardless, I agree with the sale/purchase of captive bred species.
    I'm still not supporting wild caught animals, I feel that there's no need at this point to take them out of their environment for retail purposes. But it is going to happen regardless.

    There's a lot of little "if" moments and situations to be thought through as well.
    My viewpoint on exotic species and that they shouldn't be owned comes from seeing too many of them being improperly kept in captivity. IF the species is going to be kept properly and have a "good" life then that's entirely different. And that's what I try to do, and I'm sure other owners try to do.

    Plus, when owning a tortoise--most, if not all of us as keepers--do our very best to mimic their natural environment (to the best of our abilities) but there's no way to do that to perfection.

    Ah, I'm rambling here. I don't know if that helped your question or not but there it is from me. :D
    Tidgy's Dad and Rue like this.
  4. Linhdan Nguyen

    Linhdan Nguyen Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2016
    Messages:
    1,803
    Likes Received:
    3,008
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location (City and/or State):
    Maryland
    It depends how you house the tortoise and care for them. But for some its not entertainment. I really love & obsess over my tortoises. My boyfriend and parents think im crazy
    Tidgy's Dad, debz, Fredkas and 6 others like this.
  5. Team Gomberg

    Team Gomberg IXOYE 5 Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2012
    Messages:
    7,601
    Likes Received:
    3,017
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location (City and/or State):
    Southern Oregon
    There is nothing cruel going on over here. :cool: :tort:
    My captive born leopard is well fed, protected from dangers, has an entire yard to himself and won't get eaten by lions or leopards...just sayin...
    0607161727e.jpg
    :cool:
    Tidgy's Dad, debz, Maro2Bear and 13 others like this.
  6. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2010
    Messages:
    43,323
    Likes Received:
    21,915
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location (City and/or State):
    Southern California
    Wow is that a loaded question…

    The answer depends on the species and the care given. Done right it is not cruel in the least. In fact, I would argue that when done reasonably well, a captive animal will have a much better life than a an animal of the same species living in the wild. Think about it: Predators and the ever-present danger of literally being eaten alive, parasites inside and out, no vet care, weather extremes and droughts with no protection, hungry and/or destructive local humans, dangerous terrain, venomous insects, floods, etc… Done wrong, any captive environment can be a cruel place for any animal regardless of where anybody thinks they are "meant" to live.

    A captive animal always has clean water, good food, proper temperatures, protection from predators, weather extremes and the elements, protection from other territorial members of its own species, vet care and medicine when needed, freedom from parasites, etc…

    In general most animal species live twice as long in captivity as they do in the wild. Given that fact, I have no problem with removing some species from the wild and keeping them in captivity. The species I have are all very adaptable and do very well in captivity. The problem occurs when too many animals of a given species are removed from an area. As long as the numbers are low enough to not effect the sustainability of a given species, I have no problem with harvesting a few animals from the wild to make captive breeding populations to meet the demands of the pet trade. People keeping these sorts of pets is one of the ways love of the wild is engendered. How many kids grew up loving animals and wanting to learn more about them and the environments that they come from because they were exposed to somebody's cool pet as a child. That is exactly what happened to me.

    Also, none of my tortoises live in glass cages. They live outside in safe enclosures that are designed and built with their needs in mind.

    And who says they are "meant" to live in the wild? What does that even mean?
    striker, TammyJ, motero and 5 others like this.
  7. crimson_lotus

    crimson_lotus Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2013
    Messages:
    1,000
    Likes Received:
    490
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location (City and/or State):
    Massachusetts
    Both my turtle and tortoise are rescues, neither of their original owners seemed to want or care for them. I think the situations they once were in could be considered cruel (unintentionally for one of them), but right now all I can do for them is provide them with the right care and make their lives better the best I can. They are certainly healthier and I hope they are happier as well. Owning a tortoise is not cruel, but subjecting them to an inadequate living environment and not giving them the things they need certainly is.

    I think the bigger issues are some of the wild caught methods in which the tortoises are collected/transported, pet store availability and misinformation of any tortoise or turtle they may sell, and not enforcing laws on protecting endangered species from extinction. Not that these issues can be cleaned up overnight, but I think educating people like this forum does is a step in the right direction.
    cmac3 and Sara G. like this.
  8. wellington

    wellington Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2011
    Messages:
    36,555
    Likes Received:
    12,787
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location (City and/or State):
    Chicago, Illinois, USA
    To answer your question. Yes, if you are going to make it live in a glass aquarium/cage it's whole life. Is it cruel if you take care of one properly, with a big enclosure inside and outside. Feed, water, hydrate, heat properly and house it properly, then NO, I don't think it is!
    Paul Richardson and JoesMum like this.
  9. Buddybenj

    Buddybenj Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2016
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Thanks for your replies! Your arguments are convincing.

    Sorry if my question was loaded.
  10. Hector108

    Hector108 Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2016
    Messages:
    150
    Likes Received:
    60
    Trophy Points:
    28
    I myself would never house a tortoise in a glass cage. That in my opinion does seem cruel.... I would rather have it in a tortoise table or something of that sort. Tortoises actually do better in captivity than in the wild (if well cared for). Anyways a tortoise in my point of view should also be housed outside if you can provide the needs the animal will require.

    If the tort is wild caught i would have it it outside full time as for it is not used to being in really small spaces.

    So on my opinion if well cared for and needs are met it is not cruel it can actually be better for the animal itself. As long as the animal is thriving in its home provided then its not cruel, but i think having it in a glass cage would be pretty unsatisfying.
  11. Gillian M

    Gillian M Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2014
    Messages:
    14,591
    Likes Received:
    19,941
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location (City and/or State):
    Jordan
    People here (in Jordan) think the same of me: "Why would she chose a tort as a pet and keep it "imprisoned" in an apartment, no matter how big the enclosure?"I hear them say when Oli and I are outside.:(
    Tidgy's Dad likes this.
  12. Gillian M

    Gillian M Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2014
    Messages:
    14,591
    Likes Received:
    19,941
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location (City and/or State):
    Jordan
    I believe that if the pet owner is taking good care of the animal, with: enclosure/home, diet, warmth and so on, then it is not at all cruel. Actually, the animal could live better and be more healthy.

    An interesting question.
    Linhdan Nguyen likes this.
  13. Rue

    Rue Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2016
    Messages:
    1,259
    Likes Received:
    912
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location (City and/or State):
    Canada
    The other thing you can think about (or debate, or philosophize, etc.,) if you want to - is keeping a pet, even in the best conditions, right? Is a safe environment a good environment? Should we bubble-wrap our pets?

    For example: What kind of a life would you rather live....that of a feral cat with an average lifespan of 3-5 years, or an indoor cat with an average lifespan of 12 years?

    People will argue that a 'cage', no matter how luxiouious...is still a cage.

    And of course, if you're debating that, you can also debate that animals that are used to the cage, prefer the cage. Example - we live on an acreage. My dogs want IN after being outside for a while...so they can stake out their favourite plush pillow to lie on. It's pretty funny.
    Sara G. likes this.
  14. Linhdan Nguyen

    Linhdan Nguyen Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2016
    Messages:
    1,803
    Likes Received:
    3,008
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location (City and/or State):
    Maryland
    My mom thinks the same. I think its more of a foreign idea. My mom once went to petsmart and tried to buy all the birds there. When the girl asked her why, she said she was going to let them all go and then my mom left without any birds. I think animals should be able to be free IF it is their native land and they are able to find good and shelter on their own. Captive animals become dependent on us for the most part.
    But yeah, my mom was going to let parakeets and all go and let them fly around in MD. I understand what she was going for BUT it doesnt work like that.
    In fact, many older asians think owning a pet (except a dog and cat) is a sin & cruel.
    Gillian M likes this.
  15. Hector108

    Hector108 Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2016
    Messages:
    150
    Likes Received:
    60
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Wow that's extreme. Actually like a month ago a saw a green parakeet with a group of finches in my backyard (since we own a chicken and a rooster there is some bird food on the ground sometimes).
  16. Will

    Will Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2012
    Messages:
    4,189
    Likes Received:
    3,053
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location (City and/or State):
    South of Southern California, but not Mexico


    When was the last time you went camping? Stayed out in the "woods" for some extended period of time. You are an animal and you are in captivity. How's that working out for you??

    Super dependent on the quality of care. Cruel is not where one lives but how one lives. That you get enjoyment out of it is not a concern of the tortoise.
  17. HappyHermanns

    HappyHermanns Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2016
    Messages:
    200
    Likes Received:
    76
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location (City and/or State):
    Rochester, Michigan
    LOOOOVE your Torts pic!! SOOOO CUTE!!
    Team Gomberg likes this.
  18. HappyHermanns

    HappyHermanns Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2016
    Messages:
    200
    Likes Received:
    76
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location (City and/or State):
    Rochester, Michigan
    It seems that I agree with what every one else says on this topic..

    "as long as we humans provide to the best of our ability"
    They are like my kids. I would never do anything that would jeopardize their saftey or happiness. :<3::<3::<3::<3:

    Someone mentioned having them just for entertainment..
    Cats and dogs have been kept as pets for how many years..?
    To be honest, I love these guys more than anything..
    but if I wanted something for entertainment I'd probably get a dog to walk or play fetch with, you know..
  19. Gillian M

    Gillian M Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2014
    Messages:
    14,591
    Likes Received:
    19,941
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location (City and/or State):
    Jordan
    I know what you mean Linhan Njuyen. Yes, very many people say/think it is cruel (or a sin as you put it) to own a pet in the Arab World.; including a cat or a dog. Mind you the millionaires here own dogs only for one reason: they buy dogs to guard and protect their luxurious cars, three/four floor villas and other property, in which case owning the animal is not a sin any more. Very contradictory, but true I am sorry to say.
  20. Linhdan Nguyen

    Linhdan Nguyen Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2016
    Messages:
    1,803
    Likes Received:
    3,008
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location (City and/or State):
    Maryland
    Yeah, BUT she knows im crazy about my tortoises. Since i dont have a nice backyard i always take them to her backyard thats pesticide free and has a good amount of weeds. When i start clipping weeds she goes "for your tortoises... AGAIN?!?!" Lol
    I think were doing great with caring for our tortoise. So no cruelty here :)
    HappyHermanns likes this.
Similar Threads: owning tortoise
Forum Title Date
Debatable Topics Is owning a tortoise 'cool' Dec 29, 2015
Debatable Topics Owning South African Leo's Sep 30, 2013
Debatable Topics Hibernating tortoise? Nov 21, 2018
Debatable Topics Leoparcata tortoise. Tell me what you think. Nov 19, 2018
Debatable Topics How many tortoises/turtles do we have on TFO ? Let`s count ! Sep 13, 2018

Share This Page