Wannabe New Tortoise Mom in Wisconsin needs advice (Introduction)

DocTortoise

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Dec 29, 2018
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Wisconsin
I am enthusiastically looking to re-engage my love of exotic species after spending most of my veterinary career and investment in pets on dogs and cats. I have four very curious cats, two tiny dogs, and a couple of boys, 9 and 14 who would not be reliable to keep doors shut, so I am unable to have birds or rats anymore. I have given up on carnivorous reptiles since I am too much of a softie and hate the feeding process. I had a baby snapping turtle once for a couple of years as a kid, but I remember turtles not smelling very good.

So now I am thinking about a tortoise! I fell in love with one at the local pet store. She walked over and let me rub her head. She walks around free there.

I have read that it’s best to get a baby for the purposes of taming. Is that true? Is it preferable to get male or female or doesn’t it matter? I need one that doesn’t get too big. I am prepared to purchase everything it needs, and also prepared to provide a very long term home. I think a tortoise would fit very well into our lifestyle.

I would appreciate advice and guidance of any kind. I am particularly worried about how big the tortoise needs to be before it is safe to interact with cats and dogs. Or is it ever totally safe?

Also, I live in Wisconsin, very cold and dry in the winter. What special accommodations do I need for the tortoise in light of that?

Thanks!
 

T Smart

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Hi,

Welcome! I think a tortoise will be a great pet for you!

By any chance do you know the species of the tortoise? Or possibly a picture?

Regarding your questions.

-Taming all depends on the tortoise. Some are shy by nature, while some are more outgoing. He/she will get familiar with you overtime but it's always hard to predict

-Sex doesn't matter

-I wouldn't suggest ever putting it in contact with your dogs or cats

-You'll need to build an indoor enclosure for cold days. Size will be dependent on what tortoise is at the store. For instance, it's recommended for a Russian tortoise to have a 8'x4' setup. Let's find out what tortoise you have, and we can go from there!
 

DocTortoise

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Dec 29, 2018
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Wisconsin
Hi,

Regarding your questions.

-Taming all depends on the tortoise. Some are shy by nature, while some are more outgoing. He/she will get familiar with you overtime but it's always hard to predict

-Sex doesn't matter

-I wouldn't suggest ever putting it in contact with your dogs or cats

-You'll need to build an indoor enclosure for cold days. Size will be dependent on what tortoise is at the store. For instance, it's recommended for a Russian tortoise to have a 8'x4' setup. Let's find out what tortoise you have, and we can go from there!

I think you may have misunderstood, the tortoise at the store is not for sale. And she is huge, maybe 20 inches long or more. I want to find out what the best species for my situation might be, and then find a hatchling. Do you have any recommendations for a smaller and more gregarious species?

I’m looking forward to learning more!
 

daniellenc

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A red foot! Very outgoing, cute, medium sized, and can eat tons of different foods.
 

Yvonne G

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Hi, and welcome!

Please be sure to read "Beginner Mistakes" before you buy any supplies:

https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes.45180/#post-436227

. . . and if your questions about what to buy aren't addressed in that article, please come back and ask us for help. So many new tortoise keepers listen to the guy at the pet store, whose only interest is in selling things and making money, and buy all the wrong things.
 

LaLaP

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Hi and welcome!
One big difference between getting a baby tortoise and an adult is that babies need high humidity. Depending on species some adults don't need such high and constant humidity. It can be more work getting set up for a baby for this reason.
If you decided to get an adult you wouldn't have a hard time finding a "tame" one. Tortoises live a long time and people rehome them for lots of reasons. I've recently aquired 2 adult Russians who are very friendly.
If you look in the Species section of the forum you'll see that each species has a care sheet with detailed instructions. Also check out this thread that is helpful in getting started...
https://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes.45180/
 

Chasen

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Welcome. You have def come to the right place. Absolutely read all the info and follow the advice of the experienced members here. I can't praise this forum enough for setting me in the right direction. Sulcata is my guess on that pet store tort. Good luck in your decision making process.
 

DocTortoise

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Thank you everyone for your responses! My online exploration has led me to Chris Leone at Garden State Tortoise as a possible source for my baby. Now to figure out which species I want. I have a lot of research to do!
Does anyone have a suggestion for other reputable breeders I should look into? Right now I have no reason to look any further than Garden State, but more information and more resources to explore can't hurt either.
 

Blackdog1714

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I will admit I did look at Tortoise for sale online and used one in particular that had them listed by size. I decided on a Russian which I got from @Carol S and couldn't be happier. What I did after deciding on which tortioise I setup up its indoor enclosure and got it dialed in. Much smarter to possible miscare for plants and not a live animal yet. Once that was done then I started the purchase process which is very dependant on the weather. I feel the key is you finding the type of Tortoise you like and want and then use this forum to become an excellent owner. When looking pay attention to adult size because poop and pee that you can flick out of a soaking bowl is now a deluge and requires a shovel. All tortoises require work so no easy pet here, but with attention to detail and good community (TFO) you will have a lifetime bond. Good luck
 

JoesMum

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Thank you everyone for your responses! My online exploration has led me to Chris Leone at Garden State Tortoise as a possible source for my baby. Now to figure out which species I want. I have a lot of research to do!
Does anyone have a suggestion for other reputable breeders I should look into? Right now I have no reason to look any further than Garden State, but more information and more resources to explore can't hurt either.
Garden State is justs fine as a breeder. You won't go wrong if you buy from there and follow the advice they give.
 

Jules321

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what tortoise did you go with? I have a coworker that has lived in Wisconsin for years with his Russian Tortoise
 

Turtle girl 98

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I am also very interested in what tortoise you decided on. I live in Minnesota and have been thinking about getting a tort but wasn't sure what species due to the cold @$$ weather up here in the winter.
 

Ink

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I have a 14 year old leopard tortoise. He comes when I call him, however they might be a little larger then you might want. I also have a one year old western hermann tortoise, (he/she) is too eating out of my hand and comes when I call him. I got my leopard as a baby and my western was about 5 months old. I am no expect, however a well started 6 month old is a better way to start. This is my opinion. Good luck!
 

Turtle girl 98

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I have a 14 year old leopard tortoise. He comes when I call him, however they might be a little larger then you might want. I also have a one year old western hermann tortoise, (he/she) is too eating out of my hand and comes when I call him. I got my leopard as a baby and my western was about 5 months old. I am no expect, however a well started 6 month old is a better way to start. This is my opinion. Good luck!
That makes sense. I have a baby boxie who just hatched 5 days ago and I'm so nervous about how small he is and how fragile he is at this stage. I love the fact I hatched him and he's my baby but it's nerve wracking.. I'm a worry wort though.. [emoji3526]
 
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