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Newbie from Cali.

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by MichaelTortoise, Mar 7, 2018.

  1. MichaelTortoise

    MichaelTortoise New Member

    Mar 6, 2018
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    Hello. I don’t not have a tortoise yet. I am still doing my research on what’s the right fit for my family. I visited our local animal teaching zoo (moorpark) and asked the staff some questions.

    I have a few questions and hope you guys can help. Few questions I had were already answered.

    We are a family of 3.
    I have two boys 5 and 3 years old. We live in Los Angeles.
    We have a big yard and plenty of room for them to roam.
    I’d buy them a home and get a heating pad.

    1- I wanted to get a pair. I read other posts informing us that tortoises are happy alone. Also that the male would torture the female.
    My question is. If I really do end up wanting a pair. What’s the best way to do it?
    Should I get a larger female and smaller male? That way he is less likely to bug her?
    Or is this something I should avoid at all costs and just get the one?

    2- what type is best for us? I want something that get very large. I would like it to be friendly and social (I understand this isn’t a dog and won’t play catch with us).

    3- I have a nice yard. Lillie’s, hibiscus and some wild flowers. Will he destroy all of these even if I keep him well fed? I have a raised farming bed that I plan growing food for him. He can tear that apart. I have a grass area. Will he ruin my lawn?

    4- I want something a few year old so he can be 100% outside from day one. Is this ok or are there any benifits to getting a young one and having him grow with us?

    Please help me make the right choice.

    Thank you.
  2. Sesel

    Sesel Well-Known Member

    Sep 5, 2017
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    Hello and welcome~

    Please consider Aldabra giant tortoises (if you can afford). They satisfy the above conditions. :D

    Depends on the size of the tortoise, how well you irrigate the lawn and the size.

    Just know that the older & larger the tortoise is it will cost more (if it matters to you).

    All the best~
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2018
  3. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Supporter

    Jan 23, 2008
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    Clovis, CA
    Hi, and welcome!

    Space has a lot to do with which species you decide upon. For example, even though the Russian tortoise is small, he requires a lot of roaming around room. You live in a very good area for tortoises to live outside year round. Russian tortoises are a good starter tortoises. They're pretty forgiving of poor care while you're learning how to care for him. A desert tortoise is also a good choice. Most rescues have older tortoises. There are several chapters of the California Turtle and Tortoise Club in SoCal. Here's the chapter link:

  4. Grandpa Turtle 144

    Grandpa Turtle 144 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

    Apr 3, 2013
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    Hi Michael
    Sesel likes this.
  5. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

    Jan 9, 2010
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    Hello and welcome! I'm a Moorpark graduate! Don't expect to get good tortoise info there. I speak from experience on that point…

    I'll answer your questions one at a time:
    1. The only way to keep a pair is if you keep them in separate enclosures. No tortoise species should live in pairs. Both suffer for it.
    2. Large, friendly and social? That sounds like a sulcata. Or a South African leopard. Aldabra do not do well in our climate and require and inordinate amount of extra work and expense to keep successfully, but it can be done. Galapagos do okay in our climate if you want a giant and have money to spend.
    3. Lillies are toxic. So are some wild flowers. You will need to ID every plant in the yard and restrict access, or remove, any that are unknown or toxic. How much damage is done depends on the size and species of tortoise and the size of the enclosure. A large sulcata will wreck any normal yard and turn it into a desert wasteland. An adult male russian contained in a large enclosure will have very little impact on your lawn and plants. It is best to contain the tortoise in its own section. Free roaming in areas where humans or dogs are going about their daily business usually leads to disaster of one sort or another. There are many ways to do this, again depending on size and species.
    4. There is no benefit to raising your own or adopting an adult in terms of how you and the tortoise will feel about each other. Every tortoise is an individual. Each species has different needs and requirements for living outside full time, and we would need to advise you for the particular species you get. Desert tortoises or russians need different housing than a leopard or sulcata. Once you pick a species, or at least narrow it down, we can be more specific about what you will need.
    Realize that most sources of tortoise info on the net, in books and even reptile vets and breeders are using old, out-dated, incorrect care info. For decades we've been making some major mistakes in our care routines for most tortoise species, and most of the old timers have not figured this out yet. What we tell you here might conflict with what other sources tell you. We have a lot of experienced embers here that have been conducting research and experiments for long periods of time to come by the current info that we espouse. Please feel free to ask more questions. Keeping a tortoise outside full time here in our climate can be super easy with the right set up and attention to a few details. Use the wrong care info, or the wrong set up, and the results won't be what you want them to be. We are happy to help!
    tortoiseplanet likes this.
  6. RosemaryDW

    RosemaryDW Well-Known Member TFO Supporter Platinum Supporter

    Feb 17, 2016
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    Newport Coast, CA
    Much as I love my Russian, I wouldn’t suggest it in a large yard; only in a large enclosure, perhaps sectioned off in the yard.

    I say this because they are very small and fast and thus easy for little boys (and adults) to unknowingly step on.

    Desert tortoises get large enough I’d have less of a concern; I understand they can be very personable.

    Hibernating tortoises will be unavailable several months of the year (Russians and Desert tortoises). While I look forward to my tortoise’s energy after she wakes up each spring, that absence might not be what you want in your tortoise.
    TechnoCheese likes this.
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