New to the forum - Hello! and Help? (with New Jersey laws)

theboardwalkbody

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Hello everyone! The name's Manda. I've been in love with reptiles, and turtles/torts specifically, since I was 10 years old and a man known as The Crocodile Hunter appeared on my TV screen one day. Thanks to him I know have a severe love for turtles and torts as well as snakes and all other kinds of reptiles. Unfortunately due to living with parents who are less than thrilled about reptiles I was unable to get a tort for myself (something about 'blah blah salmonella' and 'blah blah they smell'). Now however I have busted out on my own - living the bachelorette life (sorta - I've moved in with my grandma to be closer to the university I'm going to since I can't afford a dorm - but hey it's hard makin' a livin' nowadays!). Anyway, I've got a huge yard and an entire room in the house to dedicate to a tort of my own but now my only problem is....I'VE GOT NO TORT. :(
I spent all my July paycheck on a tort enclosure including food dishes, hides, substrate, heat lamps - the works (13 years of research under my belt, mind you) - and now I've settled into my new "sort of bachelorette" life. I've got a stable job set up and now I just need to get myself a little baby tort.
I stumbled upon this forum and decided to sign up for the following reason: I get really paranoid in animal care. I need to make sure I am doing everything right so that I am taking the best possible care of my pets and I am undoubtedly going to have hundreds of questions. Research or no. I realize that research doesn't mean you know what you're going to expect upon receiving a tort and that both the tort and I are going to take months to get accustomed to one another. Sure I'll know that 'oh he'll need to eat this and that and he needs to be this temp' but when it comes to behavior every animal is different. There's probably going to be a day when I wake up, check up on my tort and he's going to be sitting there looking at the ground, which is probably the most common thing ever, and I'm going to FREAK out and think SOMETHING MUST BE WRONG - I NEED TO ASK SOMEONE! (ok maybe not for that but I mean, until I learn what is and isn't normal behavior I am going to ask LOADS of questions until someone reassures me that nothing is wrong and that the behavior I am seeing is normal). Which is why I feel like this is such a good place. I'll have people to ask - people who are more experienced than I am. I get really attached, see, and I really want my babies to grow and be healthy. Healthy and Happy is my top concerns.

Now on for my next problem: Why don't I have a tort yet? I simply have no idea where to get one. I live in NJ and have read so many conflicting things about what the laws are that I don't know which end is up anymore. Some places say it's illegal to sell them IN the state and others say it's only illegal to sell them TO RESIDENTS. Which are two completely different things, one of them being a problem for vendors and the other being a problem for ME. I am hoping that this thread will help me sort out which is the correct version and help me find out WHERE I can legally get a BABY tort? Any insight would really help me because I may know my basics for tort care but I lack the basics of the LAW (woah boy not good).

As for which tort I am planning on getting: I've been looking into the Greeks recently. More specifically the Ibera or Jordanian Greeks. The only thing is when I was skimming this forum before joining I read that they are very difficult to own and are very prone to illness. Is this true? Due to my over-paranoia about health would it be better to possibly look into a different species? I've also been looking at Hermann's and Cherry Head Red Foots. (though smaller = better currently). SO I was just wondering which are better for beginners and where a NJ resident would obtain HATCHLINGS. If anyone can help I would greatly appreciate it. :)
 

wellington

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Hello and Welcome:) Story, I can't help you with the laws there or the species you are asking about. However, please hold on, and someone will be here to help you out.
 

Yvonne G

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Hi Manda, and welcome to the Forum!

New Jersey has some pretty strict rules about buying and selling tortoises. I'm not really conversant on the rules, but it seems like I remember something about you can buy them online, but you can't buy them within the state?????

We have several NJ members, so I'm sure someone will help you with the rules pretty soon. I'm going to add a bit about New Jersey to your title subject line to make it easier for them to come and help you.
 

theboardwalkbody

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Thank you so much! And hello everyone! :)
And my understanding was also that it was ok to buy them online but not IN the state but I don't need to have a knock on my door one day only to open it and get arrested because they saw my tort in the mail. hahah

:tort: (also i just found this emoji and I love it. <3)
 

Yvonne G

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Yes, that little turtle is one of our favorites.
 

mikeh

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Welcome. NJ requires a hobby permit to keep tortoises. $10 and filling out an application, easy. Call NJ Division of fish and wildlife, they will mail you a form. You can obtain a tortoise prior to having a permit, but do register the animal. I've read an article not too long ago where a family with an adult Aldabra moved to NJ and failed to apply for a permit. After some complaints from neighbors about housing conditions, the state of New Jersey confiscated the tortoise. Mind you the tortoise was with the family for some 15years.

Tortoise will have to be purchased from out of state as there are no sales within NJ. You can adopt or receive one as a gift from within the state, but no $ transaction can take place.

I would get in touch with Gardenstate tortoise. Chris is in NJ but makes it to PA reptile shows where you can purchase one from him legally as the transaction is out of state. I believe next show is in Hamburg PA on Oct. 18th. Contact him and he will guide you. He is well known on the forum and has healthy animals. Of course you can have one shipped in the mail, but I would avoid pet stores.
 
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Grandpa Turtle 144

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Hello Manda welcome to the TFO from AZ . Come to AZ snow by choise . And save the $10.00 :)


Sent from my iPhone using TortForum
 

bouaboua

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Hello Manda and Welcome. Good to have you here.
 

Irwin4530

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Hopefully somebody will correct me if I'm wrong but here's how I understand things:
You may only own native species to New Jersey IF they were purchased out-of-state AND you have a permit to own them. * I didn't think you had to have a permit for non-native species but I could be wrong here (and will need to get one quickly if that is the case)

If you have the correct permit and you acquired them the right way you may keep a limited number of native species (think box turtles)

You may buy and sell tortoises with people outside of New Jersey (of course they will want you to have a license to do this so they can tax you for it)

You may trade for tortoises with people in New Jersey but no cash may Exchange hands

I'm sure it's much more complicated than that and there may be small differences.... hoping Gardenstate tortoises chimes in :)
 

HermanniChris

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Hey guys here's the direct link to what I have on my site regarding this: http://www.gardenstatetortoise.com/#!nj-turtle-laws/c1ovd

It's a little confusing but I have to say, NJ fish and wildlife has really been a pleasure to work with. When we move, they are literally the only thing we will miss about this state to be honest. We are one of, if not the last state that allows the possession, breeding and selling of almost all Chelonian species, EVEN threatened native ones. The only native turtle we are not allowed to touch is the bog turtle but we are allowed to do what we want with wood turtles which are state threatened (and actually probably in way more trouble than bog turtles but we will save that debate for another day).

The biggest thing with our state (and I stand behind it) is the fact that absolutely no turtle can be taken from the wild so you have to be able to prove that via receipts and/or invoices.

All turtles and tortoises except eastern painted turtles and common snapping turtles require a permit to possess in NJ.

The general hobbyist permit costs only $10 per year for unlimited specimens and if you do this for a living like myself, an animal dealer/wholesale license is required which is $100 per year. I personally think the name of the license should be changed to "Breeder" or something but it is what it is.

The part where it gets "out of line" or invasive is the law that keeps us from being allowed to sell turtles and tortoises within state lines. I can sell at shows, ship out, receive and even meet an NJ resident over state lines to do a transaction, but you absolutely cannot come to my facility to purchase one. But that's of course not even fish and wildlife's law. Gotta love the good old FDA and agriculture. We have some individuals working around the clock to get that law changed but we will probably be moved out of here long before that happens. Hope this all helps.
 

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