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Can't Decide!!!

1277 Views 10 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  LebronTheBetta
Okay, I have an IMPORTANT DECISION to make. I need YOUR OPINION on this. I want a Russian Tortoise, or a Leopard Gecko.
I am getting even more interested in Russian Tortoises than the Gecko because I am uncomfortable with Crickets & Mealworms. I am comfortable with other insects, but not these. I want to think and research before I tell my parents which one I want. My dad had experience with Box Turtles, and he said that they are smelly. Is that true? Even if Box Turtles are different, do Russian Tortoises smell bad?
I also found out that Leopards can live happily in a 20 gallon and only poo/pee on one side. I am okay with everything about them, except their feeding.
Tortoises, I know that they are Herbivores and okay with feeding. I am also okay with their big Habitat Space. I'll just buy a Rubbermaid 50 gallon. People say these are great habitats for them since they aren't see through.
I have throughly researched them both. I am just having a problem with choosing. Please help. Any Suggestions or Comments on which one, would be Appreciated.
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Where do you see your tortoise in the future? Will your parents take care of him while you go to school? (just assuming since you brought up your dad). It's hard to look all the way to your old age, but this is how long a tortoise would be with you.
How much money are you willing to spend long term? A diet full of dark leafy greens, UVA/UVB bulbs that run a lot of cash. Leopard gecko would be cheaper to feed and provide proper care for.
Time? A tortoise will take up much more time, everything from preparing his meals to bathing to letting him out. Tortoises are also considered social and many get to enjoy their owners, leaving him alone for a few days could sadden him, especially without another buddy. On the other hand, depending on how be was raised, it could take an extremely long time before he feels comfortable around you. Earning the trust of a reptile that was never handled can be a pain.

And yes, all reptiles smell disgusting when they poo. Something to get used to. Turtles I have found to be the worst of the group.
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Yea, reptile poo is something else though!
They are social, they may follow you around at most, but they generally won't show their love (it's debatable if they actually like their owners still). But a lonely tortoise would appreciate a human friend, in my opinion.
Have you read about hibernating them? Some people do it and some don't.
You have to decide if you're ready for yourself. Talk to your friend with the turtle about taking care of turtles some more. Let her show you turtle poop. :|
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I would go to a breeder. There's some great breeders in America (where you are?) for tortoises, and they'll help you out tons if you ever need it.
If your parents say no, think about why they would. My parents hate the mess of animals (why I got fish, now they complain that I waste water). If it's something like that, you can argue that you'll keep it very clean.

Going to point this out- though they have been popular pets for quite sometime, owners (and even zoos) are still learning lot's about tortoise care. We are still very in the dark about many things, including hibernation for Russians. Though they go through it in the wild in the winter when food and temperature is low, we say that in our homes this is not an issue. However, constantly we must look at how an animal has adapted to life in the wild, how it's supposed to work. THIS is why you should get one from a breeder. A captive bred tortie will do much better without hibernating, than a wild caught one who is more hard wired to hibernate. You never know where pet shops get their animals (and I'm sure some lie about selling captive bred animals).
Tortoise nutrition is another thing that we still know little about- though we are learning a lot lately. You may have heard the term pyramiding. For a long time this was seen as desirable, it made the shell look more interesting. People sought this out. We now know it's caused by bad diet, too much protein and not enough calcium, and it is a deformity that does not occur in the wild. I'm still not sure on what/if any negative effects pyramiding has in the animal- but we know it's not normal.
I'm sure you're doing tons of research, if you have any questions, feel free to ask. I was going to get a Russian or Greek tortie until I found out you can't get them in Canada, so I did a lot of reading on them.
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Hibernation at The Tortoise Shop
Just found this, interesting read. I remember reading that lots of people don't bother, but it raises some things to think about.
I can't point you anywhere for breeders. Join a reptile (or even tortoise only) forum, and ask for breeders, and about hibernation.
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