A Beginner’s Guide to Buying a Tortoise

Increasingly tortoises are becoming popular pets to have thus their availability has grown. But how and where do you buy a healthy and reasonably priced tortoise? Below I provide a simple guide on how to buy a tortoise the healthy, humane, and correct way.

Do your Research

Before you buy your tortoise you need to know what you are looking for. You should choose the species based off your ability to fulfill the needs of that particular species.

For example if the species of tortoise you want has a very particular and expensive diet that you cannot afford, do not buy that species.

Also, when picking a species you should take your experience into account. If you are a beginner pick an easy to take care of tortoise. For example, Russian Tortoises are small and not very temperature sensitive. While an Indian Star Tortoise should be left for advanced and experienced keepers only.

Where to Buy a Tortoise From?

Now that you have a species in mind, lets take a look at the few possible avenues of where you could buy a tortoise.

-Breeders

Breeders are individual people who breed tortoises as a hobby or a business. There are many advantages to buying from a breeder. When you buy from a breeder you know that you are buying a 100% captive bred tortoise that wasn’t taken from the wild. Also, the breeders can offer one-on-one advice for care and in most cases sell the reptile for a lower price than pet shops.

To find breeders in your area search the web on sites like Craig’s List or reptile forums like Tortoise Forum.

-Online

With a quick online search you can find companies willing to send you your tortoise in the mail. Most often these are large-scale tortoise farming operations. Before buying from one of theses companies, do your research and make sure they are humane and most of the time deliver alive and healthy reptiles.

Also, a good amount of the time these companies can provide accurate information on how to care for the tortoise.

-Pet Shops

Buying from big chain or local pet shops is not advised. Most of the time these reptiles are coming from poor conditions and being sold to you by people who aren’t very knowledgeable about tortoises or any reptile. Plus most of the time the reptiles being sold are overpriced compared to breeders. And pet shops have been known to sell beginners unnecessary, expensive equipment.

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