Need advice on tortoise choice

kaneki28

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Hi,
I’m a complete newbie to having a tortoise as a pet. I’ve had red ear sliders for years since I was 7. I never thought that I would want a tortoise but after visiting a reptile zoo and following down the rabbit hole of tortoise research I think I’m in love. I live in so cal so the weather stays pretty mild. I’m torn between the Russian or the Dalmatian as my first. Eventually I would love to own a red foot and a leopard when I’m more experience. Can you tell me which would be a better choice for me? Thank you all.
 

Ink

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Welcome to the forum. I have a leopard and an eastern Hermann. Please post once you get one.
 

Maggie3fan

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Hi,
I’m a complete newbie to having a tortoise as a pet. I’ve had red ear sliders for years since I was 7. I never thought that I would want a tortoise but after visiting a reptile zoo and following down the rabbit hole of tortoise research I think I’m in love. I live in so cal so the weather stays pretty mild. I’m torn between the Russian or the Dalmatian as my first. Eventually I would love to own a red foot and a leopard when I’m more experience. Can you tell me which would be a better choice for me? Thank you all.
choose between a dog or a tort?...that's easy... SUNP0100.JPG
 

Cathie G

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Hello and welcome 🤗 I know exactly how you feel. I fell in love with turtles as a young child also. Yet until I was actually around a tortoise I didn't understand that what I really wanted all along was a tortoise. I came to the decision either a Russian or a Hermans because they are a bit easier for your first one. Also I'm small and don't have the capability or room to take care of a large tortoise. Sapphire is a Russian. He's still a little handful though 🤣 😄
 

Tom

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Hi,
I’m a complete newbie to having a tortoise as a pet. I’ve had red ear sliders for years since I was 7. I never thought that I would want a tortoise but after visiting a reptile zoo and following down the rabbit hole of tortoise research I think I’m in love. I live in so cal so the weather stays pretty mild. I’m torn between the Russian or the Dalmatian as my first. Eventually I would love to own a red foot and a leopard when I’m more experience. Can you tell me which would be a better choice for me? Thank you all.
Where in SoCal? If you are out in Palm Springs, I'll suggest a Russian. If you are closer to the coast, then the hermanni will be better.

A leopard is just as easy as either of those, and you don't have to worry about brumation.

SoCal is not a good climate for RFs.

Read this for the correct care info for either a Russian or the hermanni BEFORE you get the tortoise:

Almost all of the info found on the internet and from pet shops is all wrong. The same wrong info has been repeated for decades.

Questions are welcome. :)
 

SinLA

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Whatever you do, don't get one at Petsmart... You can find Russians in need of homes on craigslist pretty easily, or use this forum for breeders. I had to choose between a yellowfoot and a russian after a rescue situation and chose a Russian b/c they are much hardier and easier to care for in SoCal. I'm in LA...

Like this guy, not saying worth this price, but this poor poor guy/gal is living a pretty miserable life in too small a cage, with a water bowl that's pretty much just waiting to kill him/her: https://bakersfield.craigslist.org/for/d/bakersfield-russian-tortoise/7543222636.html

another miserable setup:
 
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Cathie G

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Whatever you do, don't get one at Petsmart... You can find Russians in need of homes on craigslist pretty easily, or use this forum for breeders. I had to choose between a yellowfoot and a russian after a rescue situation and chose a Russian b/c they are much hardier and easier to care for in SoCal. I'm in LA...
I've seen a couple of adoption threads here on TFO today 🤗
 

kaneki28

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Thank you everyone for the advice and information. I would love to adopt a tortoise or buy one off of craigslist but I'm afraid that it may be sick and with my inexperience I wouldn't notice. I suppose adopting from here wouldn't be bad since it would be from a knowledgeable person. Or I would purchase from a reputable/humane breeder. I'm doing the research now and don't plan on getting one until I have a good housing system in place. Ideally, I would have two enclosures, one for night indoors and a daytime one outside in my yard. I live in the LA area of So Cal.

I'm still trying to navigate how to use this site. How would I see the adoption threads?
 

SinLA

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Just click on the "Home" page (where it says TortoiseForum in the top left corner) and scroll down to see threads, you'll see one "For Sale" toward the bottom and it has a sub thread on adoptions.

Good thing about Russians, they are pretty hardy. Even if you got one off CL its probably as safe as just about anything. But yes, there are breeders to go thru on this forum, but I would ONLY trust ones on this forum, not anywhere else or breeders on CL. If you did a breeder on CL, then I'd just as soon get a rescue.

I'm in Burbank, and happy to show you my enclosure and share any info I've learned, though I'm also fairly a newbie but I've learned a LOT here in six months...
 

Tom

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I live in the LA area of So Cal.
In this case, you could keep just about any species you want. Russians and any of the hermanni will thrive in your area with the right care and set up. You could get a leopard too, if you want. South African leopards get a little bigger than regular leopards and tend to have very outgoing personalities as adults. The climate where they come from is very similar to ours. They are also grass eaters, so very easy to feed as adults.
 

kaneki28

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Just click on the "Home" page (where it says TortoiseForum in the top left corner) and scroll down to see threads, you'll see one "For Sale" toward the bottom and it has a sub thread on adoptions.

Good thing about Russians, they are pretty hardy. Even if you got one off CL its probably as safe as just about anything. But yes, there are breeders to go thru on this forum, but I would ONLY trust ones on this forum, not anywhere else or breeders on CL. If you did a breeder on CL, then I'd just as soon get a rescue.

I'm in Burbank, and happy to show you my enclosure and share any info I've learned, though I'm also fairly a newbie but I've learned a LOT here in six months...
Thank you so much. So do you have a Russian as well? How would I know who is a breeder on here? How big is your enclosure for your tortoise?
 

SinLA

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Thank you so much. So do you have a Russian as well? How would I know who is a breeder on here? How big is your enclosure for your tortoise?

Yup, @Tom or @Yvonne G or others can prob point you in a good direction for breeders, I only do rescue. mine is 10x12 but its bigger than it needs to be. Send me a DM if you want to come by at some point, I can give you a tour... I've definitely learned a few things since I built it
 

Cathie G

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You have to have so many posts here before you can sell here. So it is safer. I'm not sure what the rules are for posting for adoption.
 

Gijoux

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Thank you everyone for the advice and information. I would love to adopt a tortoise or buy one off of craigslist but I'm afraid that it may be sick and with my inexperience I wouldn't notice. I suppose adopting from here wouldn't be bad since it would be from a knowledgeable person. Or I would purchase from a reputable/humane breeder. I'm doing the research now and don't plan on getting one until I have a good housing system in place. Ideally, I would have two enclosures, one for night indoors and a daytime one outside in my yard. I live in the LA area of So Cal.

I'm still trying to navigate how to use this site. How would I see the adoption threads?
I am so happy to hear you say this, because it is really important to have your enclosures all ready to go. We are heading into winter around here, so an indoor enclosure should be first on your list. I agree with @Tom, Leopard Tortoises are not any more difficult if you have the set up correct before you get your new friend. I chose Leopard Tortoises when I was in your position, because I too live in So. California and I really liked the fact that Leopards don't burrow, tunnel, or hibernate/brumate. I just love the fact that they get somewhat large, but not beyond what I can lift. They are beautiful to look at and they can become quite familiar with their keeper, following me around in the yard. I love that you are doing it correctly, spending time figuring out what will work the best for you. I wish I knew how to post the link for the Leopard Tortoise Care Guide here so you can compare.
 

kaneki28

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Okay, so after hours and hours of research on here, YouTube and the internet. I feel like I have narrowed it down to what is needed. Can you please let me know if I'm missing anything or if there is anything wrong with what I listed? I was referred to torkstork by Carol from this forum and they have been very informative.

Lighting (1-3 hours/day) - Do not use coil
  • UVA/UVB
  • Basking Light (12-14 hours/day) 90-95 degrees
  • Temp Gun
  • Power Strip Timer
Humidity (70%)
Hide
Substrate
  • Lugarti Cypress Mulch
  • Lugarti Natural Reptile Bedding
  • Plain soil – No Guano, Perlite or other additives
  • Orchid bark
  • Coco coir
Feeding
  • Cuttlebone
  • Water – Terra Cotta 4 in planter dish
  • Food Slab - Flag stone, slate, Stepping stone
  • Supplements - MinerAll?
Housing
  • Baby/Juvenile -- Rubbermaid container – 40 – 100 gallon
  • Tortoise Table (2.5x 6 feet?) – when size 4 inches
 

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