Tortoise Supply Websites and Pet Stores

Status
Not open for further replies.

ahoffman2014

New Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Aug 2, 2012
Messages
7
Location (City and/or State)
Austin, Texas
Does anyone know of any good websites or pet stores in Texas to buy tortoises? I've been looking to buy another tortoise and have been shocked by the mark-ups on some of tortoise breeder websites. I love tortoises but I don't want to spend THAT much money for them!
 

wellington

Well-Known Member
Moderator
10 Year Member!
Tortoise Club
Joined
Sep 6, 2011
Messages
43,206
Location (City and/or State)
Chicago, Illinois, USA
The cheaper price, usually means so good/correct care. Buy from someone that knows the correct way to hatch and raise them. Someone that does not raise them on pellets and knows about humidity. What kind are you looking for. We have quite a few members from Texas. You would do way better buying from a member.
 

theTurtleRoom

Active Member
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Nov 5, 2012
Messages
410
Location (City and/or State)
Lititz, PA
ahoffman2014 said:
Does anyone know of any good websites or pet stores in Texas to buy tortoises? I've been looking to buy another tortoise and have been shocked by the mark-ups on some of tortoise breeder websites. I love tortoises but I don't want to spend THAT much money for them!

You'll find there is no markup from breeders. Not sure what websites you might be referring to a "breeder websites". Pet stores like Petco and PetSmart have plenty of markup on the animals they sell, which aren't in anything close to the same condition as aniamls coming from a quality breeder.

Many times in this hobby, what you pay for is what you get. You also must remember that the laws of supply and demand are in effect in this hobby as they are in any economic market.
 

CourtneyAndCarl

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2012
Messages
1,971
Location (City and/or State)
Middle of nowhere
ahoffman2014 said:
Does anyone know of any good websites or pet stores in Texas to buy tortoises? I've been looking to buy another tortoise and have been shocked by the mark-ups on some of tortoise breeder websites. I love tortoises but I don't want to spend THAT much money for them!

Most petstores will charge you a lot more than getting directly from a breeder.

The way I see it, too... when I got my tortoise, I could have gotten him from a reptile broker website for right at $120, or I could go to a breeder that was recommended on this forum for $175. Yeah, that's $55 more out of my pocket. But when my baby arrived, I knew it was worth it. He was healthy, active, and alert. He ate right out of the box, and has been healthy and happy since. On this forum I learned that the first couple of months of a tortoise's life are VITAL to their lifetime health. If you get a tortoise from a bad breeder, you can do everything right and it may still fail to thrive.

I wouldn't want to risk getting a cheaper tortoise from a questionable place, knowing there may be numerous, pricey vet bills that may or may not end up saving my baby's life.
 

Kapidolo Farms

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Nov 7, 2012
Messages
5,130
Location (City and/or State)
South of Southern California, but not Mexico
Prices are all over the place without regard to breeder or pet store chain.

As one example alone lets pick russians.

PetCo and PetSmart prices vary from $109.00 to $50.00 over one year, factors involved are how long that tortoise has been sitting there, and if new ones are about to be distributed to the stores in any one district.

Breeders, at shows, for captive bred may range from $80 to $175 as the listed price. But some chatting and you can get some reduction some times, the further the breeder drove to the show, and the time during the weekend and how well they expect to do, or did also has an influence.

What do you get from either source, as some breeders sometimes supplement their stock for sale from imports (even when fully disclosed with a sign at the booth, or via conversation), it is something to be aware of.

The Big box stores are selling semi-wild to fully wild imports, that are at least four inches long, and may or may not have been hatched in captivity in one of the former Soviet Union block countries (for the most part). They will undoubty have nematodes and maybe some other non-lethal pathogens hanging on from the very crowded conditions in which they are managed prior to being for sale, in the store, in transit, and in the semi-captive place from which they were housed before coming to that pet shop down your street.

The breeder if they have actually bred the animal will have adults well enough acclimated to behave normally enough to mate and lay eggs. Those eggs were incubated, and then hatchling - raised for several weeks to a few months. In many cases, but certainly not all, that person will have not exposed the hatchling to any occasion for becoming a reservoir of any kind of pathogen.

The most expensive aspect of the imported animal to human economics was the box demanded by IATA for transport, and the plane and truck rides to the store. Actual labor per tortoise could be as low as a few dollars at best. Markups along the way are the biggest cause of price increase.

That breeder not only has the labor to incubate, and even large breeders still have labor per unit (egg) that would tend to exceed the total cost of that wild individual sub-adult, but they also have had long term care invested in the adult itself. Then their transport cost per animal to and from shows, or via FedEx or Delta Dash is near equal to the cost of the same animal landed at the big box store.

The difference is labor costs, and the idea that with a breeder, you should be getting an animal with very few pathogen related health issues. There could be nutritional/husbandry issues, but that will be reasonable evident upon looking at the animal itself.

Another species which I will only include prices for are pancakes. They too have a very similar dichotomy of what is available here in the US, with one "eggception" they lay fewer eggs per year than Russians but require no less captive care, so units (eggs) per animal, or time, or captive space is less for pancakes than russians.

I have seen the imports range in price from $125.00 (males) to $298 (females) at shows and via the internet. Sex and length of captive history are associated with the prices. Captive hatchlings for $200 to $599 are on the internet and seen at shows.

As you can see many factors influence price. So what you have to do as a buyer is set a limit and wait and see what happens. These prices I have used have been seen by me within the past six months for these two species. If tomorrow imports of either were discontinued by law or USFWS memo the prices would jump, quick, drop back some, then increase by leapfrog amounts over time.

In the early 1990's when the first few Russians were imported by one dealer, from Russia, they were fought over at $200 each. Other species that are not tortoises better illustrate this whole price - availability - demand trend, like say prehensile tailed skinks, but that's another story.

Some people have tipped towards some weird ideas by listing individuals as "investment grade". I would strongly suggest you not let that be a guide or influence in a purchase choice for a pet, or potential breeder stock. These are all still pretty much wild animals, and for tortoises especially, very few have been breed with enough selection emphasis to indicate that offspring will be anything other than a random phenotype expression. Redfoots, sulcata, radiated, and stars are close to becoming genetically engineered via selective breeding, and only by very few breeders.

Will
 

Shannon and Jason

Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2012
Messages
300
Location (City and/or State)
South Arkansas
I think someone else posted a similar thread this weekend. My opinion still stands the same, research on how the tortoise was hatched and then cared for after hatching rather than who has the cheapest price. Bargains while they are great for most things may not be so great when trying to find a pet. You may save 50 to 100 dollars now but how much will you have to spend on vet bills in the future because it wasn't hatched/started properly (and there no guarentee they will make it even under a vets care).
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top