Animal Stories - People Talking About Tortoises

Animal-World info on Sulcata Tortoise
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danielle s - 2011-06-20
s the african spurred tortoise illegal in California?

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-06-20
    My guess would be that they are legal in California. Animal World article says they are readily avaible through breeders even though on the Cites Appendix II list. You can ask a breeder or you can call Fish and Game and ask the question just in case you need a permit.
    A reliable breeder in CA would know the answer though.
  • Spring Pace - 2011-07-25
    They are not illegal to own in California
Joel - 2010-09-08
I just bought my sulcata yesterday. He seems very happy one thing I noticed is that he scratches one of his eyes. Is this a problem?

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  • colten comer - 2010-11-18
    It could be.
    I will check with a few sources to get an answer.
  • Bubblephobia - 2011-01-07
    Yes, it means he is dehydrated. Soak him in warm water immediately making sure he can keep his head above the water. To keep my hatchling hydrated I place her in her water dish every time I pass her tank.
  • Spring Pace animal care - 2011-07-25
    Does one eye look different than the other? Dry eyes may be an indication of dehydration, soak your baby in warm water every day for about 20 min, make sure the humidity levels are high in his tort table, you can insure that by using a substrate that holds moisture like coconut coir. Congrats and please join a chat group like, you'll find great people w/ lots of practical sulcata experience. Smiles
colten comer - 2010-11-18
iI have found out that sulcatas are very smart.
If they can see you throw a vegi or fruit that they like they will eat them in the order you throw them even if they have to step over them to get to the one thrown before it.
I have had mine for seven years.
When I got mine he was $400 and fit in my palm.
He was a very expensive birthday present but my dad and I came to find that they are very cool and smart pets.
I have got MR.T that's what I named him 7 years ago to remember up to 13 tomatoes in order.
If anyone wants info or just an opinion
text or email me

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  • Tabby - 2010-11-29
    Can you give me any tips on taking care of a baby 2-3" Sulcata? I will be getting it here shortly, like days. So I would like some tips from you since you have had yours a while. I have a red foot tort right now. I have been into reps for 30 yrs but just recently into torts. My other passion is snakes and Iguanas, so I am aware of the importance of uvb/uva bulbs. I guess I just need help on feed?
  • Elizabeth - 2011-01-02
    What do you normally feed your turtle? I have been giving him only lettuce (iceberg and romaine).
  • Spring Pace animal care - 2011-07-25
    Mine does the same thing Colton, very smart animals, I use Orchard Grass and my guy focuses on the bag until the grass hits the ground or its going to diasppear before he gets his share. I don't give mine tomatoes, but in the summer he does enjoy a fat slice watermelon. He's 20 inches long and 60+ lbs
Animal-World info on Red-footed Tortoise
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Animal lover - 2011-07-21
I am getting a red footed tortoise and by the way Everybody describes them I am glad I am getting one. She is sick so she has to stay at the vets for awhile. :(

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-07-23
    Congratulations and let us know about her. I am sorry she is ill but glad you are getting her. Is it a her????
Animal-World info on Sulcata Tortoise
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nicole - 2010-10-04
Hi I live in Southern LA, and have fell in love with a Sulcata Tortoise. I have spent a week now talking with my husband to decide if one would be a fit for us. I have always been in love with turtles and have several red ear sliders and soft shells. Last week at a local pet shop I got to pet and feed a Sulcata who was about 20 lbs. We are now considering adopting a baby.
My question is since I am thinking long terms since they can live a very long time is how will they get along with a small dog once they are big? I have a shitzu poodle and I am just curious if others have had their tortoise around other pets?
Also my 2nd question is, since vegetarian they would be likely to eat your flowers in the garden.. hmm I love gardening too.
3rd. Can anyone give me an idea of what it costs to feed them?

Thank you! Trying to make the best decision.. nicole

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  • colten comer - 2010-11-18
    I have had a sulcata for 7 years.
    When I got him he fit in my palm,
    I was 11 then.
    If you get one he will do fine around pets and really doesn't like flowers much but he will eat almost any vegi
    and not too many fruits.
    They are not cheap to feed the best thing that I have figured out is to buy pure alfalfa seed and grow it.
    You said LA?
    They cannot be in weather below 70 degrees.
    I have built a small dog house like home that has a heater but I do not keep him out in his field once the temperature reaches 60 or below.
    If you do grow alfalfa you can cut and dry it in the summer and keep it in paper bags to keep it dry.
    That is his main source of nutrients during the winter.
    They will not eat grass regularly and they sleep a lot.
    But they are very cute.
    And they get large fast.
    Youu can email or text me anytime for info
  • april - 2011-01-15
    We have our 2 carine terriers, 3 bunnies, and 2 torties all hang out it the backyard. Our dogs chase cats, birds, anything, but they've never bothered our toties. As long as you have a little dog you're in the clear. We garden a lot too but I've found that there are so many dangerous plants. Our sulcatas like nasturtium flowers and you can eat them too! We live in Orange county, so we grow all our veggies for our animals in the backyard. So it can cost like nothing to feed them but seeds and your time.

    hope that helps.

  • april - 2011-01-15
    If you're still looking for one this fish store were we bought ours still has one for 80 bucks. Only weighs 4lbs. It's called coral oasis in costa mesa.
  • Jim Misiak - 2011-05-22
    My cost is very low, nothing. Rocko is 18 years old and weights 130 lbs. He will graze all day on backyard grass. We have flowers in planters that we feed everyday to him and our other turtles. He eats leaves that fall off the tree. He loves laventera leaves. Every bush or tree I prun back goes in his yard for him to eat. He never gets store bought food!
  • JIM BRANT - 2011-06-11
    Nicole, My wife and I live in SE Louisiana and have two Sulcatas .More or less our children. They bring so much joy to my wife. But there is a problem she doesn't like eating in a eatery that serves turtle soap. No medical problems, they are very hardy . They consume only about two heads of roman lettuce per day,supplemented by a little apple and fruit. Cost is maybe $3.00 a day. We have had them 6 years, when we got them they was like a silver dollar. Now they are are like large foot tub.If we can help any kind of way please let us know.We are about to design a habitat for them. We do keep them in a green house but they have access to go in or out. Good luck Jim
Animal-World info on Yellow-foot Tortoise
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Debby Swiechowicz - 2007-09-01
We now have a male and female adult yellowfoot. They are among the friendliest tortoises that we have ever had. They will continually come when called and stay for petting as long as you will pet. Your hand will tire before your yellowfoot does of the attention. We currently have redfoots, leopards, greeks, russians, sulcatas, and burmese mountain tortoises. Of all of them, the yellowfoot is by far the friendliest of them all. If you want a lap tortoise, the yellowfoot is for you.

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  • Kirk - 2010-07-22
    Do you have any recommendations or examples of indoor terrariums...I have built one, with a lot of money for a nearly 14" yellow foot male and am doing my best to accommodate him, humidity seems to be the hardest thing to control so I'm looking for nice ideas...

  • Esther - 2011-05-18
    You have a lot of different turtles. You're a good owner! (P.S.Yay! "Thumbs up")
Animal-World info on Russian Tortoise
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teresa - 2011-04-10
TORTOISES require outdoor habitat. Never an aquarium. I have rescued four Russian Tortoises who were raised in aquariums. Their shells are flat on top, and one has ripples in the back of her shell that will never be round enough to protect her from males or predators. A huge tortoise table is the only indoor solution that gives a tortoise room to move. But a tortoise is an outdoor, roaming creature that benefits from having other tortoises to associate with. Please do not buy your child a tortoise in an aquarium. Build an outdoor habitat that has vegetation and a doghouse-like home filled with straw where they can escape from heat or cold. There are excellent examples if you search "outdoor-tortoise-habitat".

Animal-World info on Greek Tortoise
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matthew - 2011-03-28
I have a greek tortoise and was wondering how to differentiate between male and female. My parents have one of each but as they are young then it's hard to tell. Also at what age roughly can you start to breed these tortoises?

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  • Editor's Note - 2011-03-28
    The length of the Greek Tortoise's (Testudo graeca) tail and plastron (the soft underside of the shell) is the best way to differentiate between males and females. Males have longer plastrons than females and their plastrons are often slightly concave. Males also often carry their tails tucked up in their shell while females will keep their tales sticking outward. It is hard to tell the sex of the tortoises before they are old enough/large enough to breed however, so depending on how large they are you may not be able to tell.

    Males usually reach sexual maturity at about 8 years, while females are slower and generally aren't ready until about age 11. Males can generally breed once their plastron is 5-6 inches in length and females need to be 6-7 inches before attempting to breed them.
Animal-World info on Red-footed Tortoise
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Dawn Ballard - 2011-03-24
I am a new Kindergarten teacher. My husband bought our class a Red-footed Tortoise, I am going to let the children vote for a name but I hope they vote for Oogway. (that is the name of the tortoise master on "Kung Fu Panda") There are a few black spots and a few scratching spots on the bottom of his shell. Is this normal?

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  • Clarice Brough - 2011-03-25
    That's so cool that you got a Red-footed tortoise for you class, I bet they will have a great experience! I don't think the spots and scratches should be a problem, as long as it is eating and acting normally it's probably okay.
Animal-World info on Leopard Tortoise
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julie - 2010-09-23
I have recently been given a leopard tort, I already have a sully and have had no question is the leopard hisses and goes in its shell also i have seen it with a wet nose, not all the time but a couple and have had it a week now, is it ok and is the hissing normal, it was kept in the wrong conditions before and was with a dog that annoyed it? Much appreciated for any replies..julie

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  • Anonymous - 2011-03-24
    Yes that is a sign of RI (respiratory infection). Go to your local pet store and purchase a 100 or 150w bulb. Put the light fixture 12 inches away no farther no closer. That should make the basking spot 92F to 100F, next get a high quality UVB bulb and use it to help with the tortoise.
    I like the Exo Terra Repti-Glo 10.0 Desert UVB Bulb
    Zoo med Repti-Sun 10.0 are good maybe better just have never used one :)

    Use 8.5 inch domes for both the bulbs. At night change the Basking bulb for a infrared bulb 50w they are $3 dollars at PetSmart! They are called; Zoo med nocturnal infrared bulb 50w.

    Make sure you only use calcium with d3 once a week to avoid a issue called pyramiding.

    Also make sure your Reptile Light Fixtures have Ceramic tops or the better (20% to 40% better) Porcelain topped lamps.

    For feeding I recommend dandelion, kale, lettuce (occasionally due to it being very wet) and as a staple I like Cactus pads and once a week Zoo med Grassland Tortoise Diet.

    You can find all of this stuff at and
    Tortoise supply even has the cactus pads! Although I DON'T recommend every buying a tortoise from there! They are overpriced! I prefer Robert/Trish from
    They are A++ Turtle and Tortoise breeders. I bought my leopard from them.

    Also I recommend 50% sterile play sand/Zoo med Repti-Sand (They are the same thing) and
    50% cypress mulch/coconut coir.

    Hope that helps feel free to email me if you have more questions! Email

    Thanks, Thomas
    Turtle and Tortoise Future Breeder and long term parent! :)

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