Things you wish you knew before getting a tortoise


Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Jul 22, 2020
Location (City and/or State)
Norwich CT
Hi! Yall be nice to me. I just got a Sulcata Tortoise yesterday. I wasn't expecting it but when I saw the turtles living conditions I figured she would be better off with me than the situation she was in. She was kept in a closet since the beginning of February. She was given food but hasn't seen sunlight or water since then. I put her in the back of my SUV and went straight to the grocery store for veggies. I have been constantly researching and and asking Google every question that came to mind. I live in south Louisiana so summer time is usually humid and hot. She is about 50lbs if I had to guess. Will be bringing her to the vet for a check asap. What does a meal look like for your tortoise? Show me some of your tortoises homes. I am a animal lover and just want to spoil her.
Give this a read and then come back with questions. It is quite thorough and should get you started in the right direction.


Jan A

Well-Known Member
Jan 9, 2021
Location (City and/or State)
Boulder, CO
Give this a read and then come back with questions. It is quite thorough and should get you started in the right direction.

Welcome to the forum & thank you for rescuing your tort. We have a lot of owners on the forum with experience raising & caring for sulcatas, so you came to the right place to get the most up-to-date info on caring for your tort.


New Member
Apr 21, 2021
Location (City and/or State)
Millersport, Ohio
Hi guys! :)

I'm new here and I don't have any tortoises (yet!). I have been doing my research for about half a year, but I want to as knowledgable as possible before bringing a tortoise into my life.

Title of the thread explains it all really. What are some things that you wish you knew before bringing a tortoise into your life? What are some unexpected things you faced, despite all your research?

Thanks for reading,


Apr 29, 2021
Location (City and/or State)
Abu Dhabi
Definitely the size of the poop..
Its amazing how something so small can produce such big poo
  1. Closed chambers instead of open tops.
  2. Tortoises need huge amounts of room, much more than other types of reptiles or pets.
  3. No cfl UV bulbs.
  4. Pet stores usually sell unnecessary, sometimes detrimental and overpriced products and give terrible tortoise care advice. My apologies to the few exceptions, but you are a rare breed.
  5. No colored bulbs.
  6. No "spot" bulbs.
  7. Use a thermostat to control ambient temps.
  8. Avoid grocery store produce in favor of better items found for free.
  9. Using Mazuri as a supplemental food is good.
  10. Don't overdo the calcium supplementation.
  11. Too much time outside is bad for babies.
  12. The vast majority of tortoise species are NOT "desert" animals. They need water and at least moderate humidity. Especially as babies.
  13. Is will never be cheap or easy to house giant species in climates with freezing winter weather.
  14. Never mix species or allow them to have contact with each other, or each other's stuff, or each other's spaces.
  15. Tortoises should not be kept in pairs.
  16. Tortoises don't get lonely and other tortoises are not seen as "friends'.
  17. Tortoise do NOT get all their water from the food they eat. Babies of all species should be soaked daily.
  18. Letting tortoises roam free in the house or yard is a mistake. Eventually, it is likely to cause the tortoise's death or loss. It doesn't matter how close you intend to supervise. Use an enclosure.
  19. If the tap water is safe for you, its safe for your tortoise.
  20. Most breeders do not start babies correctly. When you find one that does, spread the word. Daily soaks, humid environment, mostly indoors, a WIDE variety of foods, etc... Don't support the ones who are doing it wrong.
  21. Be aware that most of the "research" you do will lead you to old, out-dated, incorrect info that has been parroted for decades and is based off of incorrect assumptions about how they live in the wild.
Omg if you wrote a book about how to properly care for a tortoise I would definitly be the first to buy it!


New Member
Aug 29, 2021
Location (City and/or State)
To get from a good place. I did my research and my decision wasn't super rushed. But I got too excited and bought from a bad store. And within 3 weeks my 1st tort died. And I was heart broken. So with my tort now I watch like a hawk and if I think something is strange I like and prod till I know he's ok.

And also buy a heat gun, that is life changing
Same as me I had my first leopard tortoise buy from the exotic shop. He was stayed with me just 3 weeks. I’m sorry for your lost. I can feel.


New Member
Sep 2, 2021
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Hello all, I got my first SA leopard tortoise last week. I love her, she is the coolest.
I did a ton of research and talked to a few members here before getting her. I set up her enclosure which I decided to make myself. While I think I finally, maybe, hopefully have it dialed in, what I wish I had known/done instead was to just buy an enclosure from Mark or Animal Plastics. By the time I got done making adjustments to make sure the lighting/temp/humidity and enclosure were set up properly I could have gotten a much nicer one for close to the same price. The other thing I wish I had known before as well was what to look for in a healthy or unhealthy tortoise, I needlessly worried because I just wasn't sure what was normal, like neck pumping.

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