If You Are Thinking About Buying A Turtle Or Tortoise Please Read This!

by Anita Peddicord, Texas state & federal permitted wildlife rehabilitator

FIRST: If you can't afford the vet, you can't afford the pet!

Turtles and Tortoises are NOT low maintainance "pets"! Like any other animal they sometimes must have vet care to remain healthy. Many vets do not treat turtles/tortoises but some try and don't really know how to treat them properly. You need to be sure the vet you use is knowledgeable in treating turtles and tortoises specifically. ... And if he is a turtle/tortoise vet, he probably isn't cheap!

SECOND: Don't think of a turtle or tortoise as a "pet". The word "pet" leads you to believe that something is cuddly, likes to be petted and carried around. Rarely do turtles or tortoises "like" being petted let alone cuddled with or carried around. Think of your new "family member" as a captive animal, not a pet. Oh, and remember your new family member just may out live you too. Box turtles can live to be 60 years old and possibly over 100. Water turtles can live about 40 years and some tortoises can live to be 150 years old!!

THIRD: If you are thinking about buying a turtle or tortoise I would strongly suggest you think twice before buying one from a pet store.

#1 Many pet stores obtain their stock from wild-caught turtles and tortoises from foreign suppliers. Countries such as China have nearly depleted many of their wild turtle populations. Wild caught turtles and tortoises from Africa and Asia must go through very inhumane treatment during storage and shipping. See these links for photos taken of abused turtles and tortoises forced into the highly unregulated pet trade:



#2 Because of filth, stress and exposure to other species microorganisms during storage and shipping, many turtles and tortoises end up sick at the pet store. Many stores do not have staff competant enough to recognize illness unless it is very advanced, so therefore, they end up selling sick turtles to the uneducated buyer. So many animals don't even live long enough to make it to a pet store. They die during storage and shipping sometimes due to being crushed on the bottom of a pile in a crate.

If you are unable to obtain the species you want from a rescue organization like the GCTTS, please find an individual or business that sells captive raised turtles or tortoises. It would be wise to check these sellers out also to be sure they are not raising animals in dirty, overcrowded conditions. Buyer beware!

Copyright (c) 2007 Gulf Coast Turtle and Tortoise Society
Permission is granted to copy for non-profit use with proper credit given. For any other use you must obtain permission.

Gulf Coast Turtle and Tortoise Society
1227 Whitestone Lane
Houston, TX 77073
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