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African Spurred Tortoise

Discussion in 'Tortoises' started by Ace, Jun 23, 2009.

  1. Ace

    Ace Elite Member

    My husband fell in love with these little guys (haha) about 4 months ago. My main concern and the reason I still firmly hold a no is where do you keep a tortoise that large?

    Here in Kansas a backyard habitat wouldn't work, at least not year round.... There are a few pet shops that sell them though so I can't help but think that someone else has figured a way? I was thinking maybe a heated shed in the winter? Any ideas? I can't devote a room I know that.

    Any and all input appreciated!
  2. shwknight

    shwknight Elite Member

    If you have the room in your yard you could build an indoor/outdoor enclosure for it. It could have a door that separates the inside part from the outside part and you could seal it good so the heat from the indoor part doesn't leak out during the winter. Don't know if it would work good but it's an idea ;)
  3. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    You'd also need to heat the floor of the shed.

    I know a few people who free range them in their house (No dogs!) and just tape a depends or garbage bag on them to minimize mess.
  4. Kendalle

    Kendalle Elite Member

    hehe fun.
  5. Ace

    Ace Elite Member

    wow! That is NOT a diaper I want to change!
  6. nicole

    nicole Elite Member

    Trust me it is not a diaper you want to change.

    My Oscar is a free roamer in my house, he wears Depends.

    You need to be prepared for what you are getting yourself into.They do not go around things, they go through it! That includes knocking over your curio with Grandmas colletibles in it, etc. They are a LOT of work and you will essentially become a slave to it. There is no being gone all day as you will come back to a destroyed house. I have to hire a sitter for the tortoise in the winter, to make sure he gets everything his little heart desires, or my house will be destroyed! I have replaced the sheetrock in certain parts of my house 3 times because he has destroyed it! He got stuck behind the the toilet once and ripped off the water line, flooding the bathroom causing so much damage the wall and the linoleum and sub floor had to be replaced.

    They are not easy, that is for sure. I personally feel they do not make good pets in the average home.

    Burnout rate is very high with them. Oscar goes to tortoise camp a few times a year to give me a break. If not I would have made soup out of him and a great salad bowl a long time ago, lol. ( kidding)

    Remember they get HUGE and they are heavy. When they are 100 pounds plus if they do not want to move, they don't. I forsee many pulled muscles and a lot of sore backs, lol.
  7. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    not to mention, it'll probably outlive you.
  8. Ace

    Ace Elite Member

    Yeah those are the 2 other reasons I said no to him. Becuase I looked at him and said what do you do with a 100+ tortoise? He said love him and right then I thought yeah whatever lol! He will be doing the loving and I will be doing the cleaning.

    I have done a lot of research on them and would still like to have one, just not yet I don't think.

    Also how dependable are those depends? I mean how much leaks out?
    Just out of curiosity......
  9. SurvivorSteph

    SurvivorSteph Subscribed User Premium Member

    My mother has 6 grown sulcatas. We live in an area that gets in the low 30s in the winter... no snow usually though. Her 6 live outside all year. My dad has built hutches for them that are heated (floor and basking), have UVB lighting, and are under a large patio cover. The torts are able to come and go as they please (even during the winter); however, they usually choose to stay inside where it is warm.

    Sulcatas should NOT be allowed to brumate (hibernate) because this is not a natural occurrence for them in the wild.

    You would have to be crazy to keep one indoors (yes, Nicole fits this description ;) ). If you really want a tort, you might be better off to find a smaller species.

  10. Kendalle

    Kendalle Elite Member

    are russian tortoises pretty small? that may be a good choice.
  11. nicole

    nicole Elite Member

    Speaking from someone who has a sulcata in the house year round, except for two to three months out of the year, it is not a good idea. Oscar comes in every night and sleeps either on the side of my bed, or under the computer table.

    They are creatures of habit, and when you throw them out of their element, they will throw fits like a two year old. Oscar will bang on the sliding glass door to let me know when he wants in. I am waiting for the day when I do not respond fast enough and he shatters the door.

    Winter time is HORRIBLE! He paces back and forth, then basks, paces some more, paces again, rams the fridge because he knows I keep his treats in there ( strawberries), circles in the kitchen for hours scratching the bottoms of my cabinets and doors with his shell. There is not one cabinet or door in my house that does not have scratch marks or dents and gouges from him. They destroy everything! You will realize eventually that you will re arrange your house to suit them, not you, lol.

    Ever try lifting one up to put them in the tub after they have messed in their diaper? That is something that everyone should experience,lol, pulled muscles, pinched nerves, etc. And oscar is only 60 pounds at the moment.

    Wait until you see the first time they decide to pull their business out and make a mess on your carpet, that is traumatizing not only to kids, but to grown adults. That is also a mess noone should have to clean up, it is a lot, and it is just plain ol' nasty!

    Oscar is a rescue here. I have had no luck in finding proper placement for him, so I have come to the conclusion I am stuck with him. Don't get me wrong I love oscar very very much. We have been through a lot together. He is definitely my spoiled, catered to baby! All the love in the world still does not make him a good pet.

    I hope I have not traumatized you,lol. I just want to make you aware of the serious amount of work and damage that comes with owning a sulcata.

    I can also tell you it is not easy to find a rescue that will take them either.

    I only have one, I could not imagine two, lol
  12. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    there will come a point that you will require the use of heavy machinery to lift him!

    I have heard that tortoises can be spot trained. I'd want to do a lot more research on this.
  13. Ace

    Ace Elite Member

    Yeah believe me I have considered all of this you aren't scaring me! I already had all of these images in mind. I am in home nurse and I carry a 160 pound woman down the hall and put her in the shower. I can't imagine lifting something that could weigh that much and be awkward! I am just reading up and asking questions

    What I am probably going to do (this is if I get one) I will wail until I have a good garage that's weather proofed and make him a door to go outside to a pen that is protected from my dogs and from him tunneling under it, and the inside one I will have a sectioned off area for him with a suitable inside enclosure in case of bad weather too cold etc..

    If after a sufficent time of planning I don't have said gargae I will build a shed but one of the cute ones that look like little houses and do an indoor/ out door.

    If I can I will get a huge doggy door with a lock for when It is too cold or bad out so he is forced in or at night when the temps drop.

    I won't put him out there until he grows out of a large sized tank just to keep a good eye on him because they are so very tiny, that even with a predator free structure I would be way to nervous.

    He wouldn't be neglected out there though since the pen would be huge I would go in there with him I would make it tall enough for that.

    Plus I plan of if I can get a garage like that moving the iguana's in there and building me a office/ sanctuary because this house is just too small for me to have room for them to just chill and that's what I want plus my dogs won't be allowed (they get upset when they have to go out because I get someone out) and the cat has become a pest!

    All of that though is a far off dream unless I get this loan I am looking into so I can buy my first home!
  14. Fern

    Fern Well-Known Member

    I love my Russian. SHe will grow maybe 7" max. She's super easy to take care of and really awesome! Leopard tortoises might be a good choice too because I think they grow pretty big but not too big. I don't know much about them though but you may want to put a little thought into that.:confused:
  15. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Ace being that I live in the same climatic area as you I can safely say that an outside enclosure for a sulcata is not a feasible idea. A good part of the year it would have to be confined to the equivalent of a greenhouse! And those guys are like bulldozers. You would have no yard left and it would be an major effort to wall in the yard, extending it deep enough to prevent them tunneling out. While they ARE interesting and extremely cute as babies I think that you might be biting off a whole lot more than you can chew by trying to keep them in our area!
  16. Ace

    Ace Elite Member

    Merlin, I had all of those thoughts lol, like I told everyone I had to about physically restrain my husband from buying one because they were so little and cute! Even after our talks of how that wouldn't last long!

    Honestly I probably won't ever get one If I did though I would go with my above plan, that's only after a few years to think it over, possibly save money etc....

    What I would really like to do is move somewhere with a better climate! I told my husband that I am enjoying the summer weather and don't want to give it up in another 2 months or so. lol
  17. Kendalle

    Kendalle Elite Member

    maybe another type would be better as they stay cute and little and manageable.
  18. Ace

    Ace Elite Member

    Oh yeah try to tell him that lol!
  19. wildheart

    wildheart Elite Member

    Of course after the little and cute is over, husband will be too busy and all responsibility will be yours.:(

    From Nicole's post it sounds like they do not adapt very well to captivity, especially if it is not hot all the time like the Sahara desert. I can imagine how hard it must be to find somebody to adopt them or find a rescue that will take them. :(
  20. Ace

    Ace Elite Member

    Yeah if I were to get one, which like I said is probably a stern no, I would look at any rescues I could first.

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