San Francisco Bay Area Rehoming Question (not my tortoise, someone else's)


5 Year Member
Aug 10, 2018
Location (City and/or State)
San Francisco
Hi folks,

A friend emailed me this morning because she knows someone who is unable to keep their female Russian tortoise, and she asked if I would be interested in taking over pet parent duties of this 4-year-old gal.

I know housing tortoises together is a no-no, even if it's one male and one female - and also my own pet parenting skills for my own 3-year-old male Russian tortoise continue to need improvement - so I'm wondering how best to help out here. They posted in a Facebook "Rehoming Pets" group local to their area (I think they are in Santa Rosa or somewhere between there and San Francisco, where I am) and were housing their pet outdoors and will include their terrarium and everything they currently use for their pet.

What would others do if asked to take someone's pet tortoise? I know there is a for-sale subforum in TFO. Should I advise my friend to point her friend there?

Also, there is actually a yard next to us, so in theory, we could make it work, but even though we're allowed out there and neighbors have had BBQs in the past there, it isn't really ours to do whatever we want with... And I suspect it would be twice as expensive to keep two tortoises as it would to keep one, right? And I still owe my Shelly a much bigger home than he currently has and am planning to upgrade his living situation further within a year. And I haven't set up an outside area for him yet because of time and money and also because I'm not sure if our landlord would let us (it's more of an empty lot they plan on building a home on at some point in the future but after 10 years they still haven't, so that may never happen).

But if this person's female tortoise already has a terrarium designed for outside, maybe it could work? I would keep the new gal outside, and Shelly inside, or something, and maybe they could socialize outside once in a blue moon, and otherwise remain separated? Maybe this would enable me to instantly have a new home for him outside, and I could let the two of them swap places so they each get a little outdoor time (assuming my landlord is cool with us using some of the yard for this)?

Thoughts? Anyone else in the general vicinity interested in adopting a young female Russian tortoise?

I love my little torty dude and am not opposed to the idea of a second tort as they are adorable and curious and fascinating creatures, and if there is a way to make it work, it could be great, but I suspect I would need to first have nailed down parenting of one little dude first before accepting responsibility for properly caring for a second tort.

Thanks in advance for any guidance you guys want to share here!

Last edited:


Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Apr 2, 2012
Location (City and/or State)
East Bay area
Hi Monica
I am in the Bay area myself, have many years experience with Russians and would be happy to help your friend or you in whatever way possible. The short answer to your question is that because I have the experience and situation that allows for healthy keeping of more than one Russian if asked to have a friends I would.
There's a few things to know about multiples of this species. If kept together in confined areas there WILL be fighting or bullying at times. If kept as female/male together there will be breeding attempts that can seem violent and involve biting and ramming of each other. Additionally, with that comes nesting and eggs and tiny hatchling care and finding responsible homes. There are generally a higher percentage of potential health issues with keeping females like egg binding etc.
The Bay area itself is great for outdoor housing but of course as you know outdoor space is often limited for us. If you have an actual yard area it can be done. Mine love our yard and stay outside entirely unless they have an issue. Apartment or terrace keeping would be challenging because these guys like to roam and it becomes important for them to have the space to get away from each others cranky or...horny treatment.
Feel free to ask if there's more I can help with.

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