I have only one peice of advice. Name him A'tuin. If you don't know why then read Small Gods.
I was thinking about getting my 2 and half almost 3 year old son a pet. We don't have time for a cat or dog, but he really likes turtles. I was looking into the Russian tortoise. Do we have any relevant tortoise experts in the house? I'm not like dead set on that species so I would gladly pick whatever is easiest to care for. I'd also like to perhaps one day add more reptilian type creatures to the terrarium so whatever the species he'll need to be welcome to visitors. I know about the whole salmonella thing, and am prepared to handle that. Here's my essay on what I'd like to know.
For the terrarium I'm thinking a 40g 36L x 18W x 16H. It has a locking screen top which is pretty cool. For lighting I'm still a little unsure. Here's what I've gathered: I need 1 bulb and the fixture for heat. I see 100 watt seems to be popular for this. Is that correct? I also see he needs a UVB light as well. So 2 different lights? Any info on wattage for this? I see some bulbs are combo heat and UVB in 1. Does anyone have experience with these combo bulbs? If I go with 2 separate bulbs this looks kind of interesting Amazon.com: Zoo Med Mini Combo Deep Dome Lamp Fixture, Black: Pet Supplies.
For night I am a little slightly concerned. The terrarium, for now, will be in the room that I sleep in, and I'm a very light sleeper. Trying to sleep with any kind of light on is just not going to work. What about those under the tank heat pads for night? I see temps need to be between 60 to 65 at night. Do you guys think that would work? Worst case I could probably rig up something with one of those night specific lights and find a way to cover the tank like a bird! For bedding I was thinking about the shredded aspen type. I keep reading that their tank should stay at a humidity level of about 60%. How can I monitor and control that? I'll get one of those peel on thermometer's for temp, a water bowl, and a place for him to hide, and other turtle toys. Let me know what you guys think or if I'm missing any critical parts here. I really don't want to be responsible for the death of my sons first pet lol.
Edit: I actually just had a friend contact me I guess he knows someone who's trying to give away a box turtle. Box turtle or Russian turtle what do you guys think? It looks like box turtles need more water in their terrarium. That seems like a pain in the ass.
Last edited by PigBenis; 03-07-2014 at 05:22 AM.
I have only one peice of advice. Name him A'tuin. If you don't know why then read Small Gods.
MWS Natural "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving black people approaches 1."
I'm something of an "expert," or something. I've had turtles for the last ~20 years. I'll try and go down your list of things, in order.
If I were going to buy a European tortoise, it would probably be a Hermann's. Their care is largely the same as a Russian, but they're a little bit more attractive (t.h.hermanni, anyway).
They're solitary creatures, and really don't want/need any pals. Best case, they stress each other out. Worst case, violence can ensue. Never, ever mix species from different regions.
Glass aquariums suck. Plain and simple. This is pretty good for an off-the-rack solution. You can stick the light fixtures right on top of the screen.
I've always preferred the two light setup. I use Reptisun bulbs for UVB, and 50-75 watt spot lights on a thermostat for basking. The mercury vapor bulbs get really hot, and I've had bad luck with them burning out fixtures. Speaking of, avoid those dual fixtures. You're either using a MVB and don't need the second dome, or you're using a spot light and need a strip instead of the second dome. Avoid the compact type UVB lights. They tend to blind reptiles.
You don't need night lights. Depending where you live, you probably don't need nighttime heat, either.
You want this stuff mixed with plain dirt for bedding.
I use these to control and monitor heat and humidity. Indoor/outdoor thermometer's work really well, too, if you don't need any automated features. Good old fashioned pump spray bottles work well for humidity.
I paper plate trained my tortoise. The feeding dishes get really nasty, really fast. Glazed ceramic plant saucers work really well for water, and they're cheap. I buy a box of them every spring, and throw them out as they get nasty.
The second hand box turtle is probably not a great idea. Usually they get passed off like that after the previous owner realizes that they can't take proper care of the thing, and they're almost always in rough shape. Turtle vet bills are no joke.
Last edited by McQueen; 03-07-2014 at 06:09 AM.
I heard that turtles are riddled with Salmonella and that you need to pretty much Clorox anywhere they walk. How many times have you had Salmonella poisoning, McQueen?
Salmonella, as in what most people call stomach flu? Twice that I remember. Don't let the thing piss or shit in your mouth, and you should be fine!
Thanks for the pointers McQueen! Yeah, with the whole salmonella thing and my 3 year old son it is actually a big concern of mine. Any hands on time with Mr. Tortoise he'll be closely monitored, and doused from head to toe in hand sanitizer afterwards. I do realize that glass sucks I see that posted everywhere. It's kind of a long story though, but glass is going to have to do for now. During the summer I can build him a much cooler turtle palace.
You're saying with the Reptisun UVB bulbs go with the tubes? Any fixture in particular you like? The spot light as well, any particular brand?
Yeah I had the same concerns with the hand me down box turtle. The cheapskate in me had to speak up. The hermann's look very interesting and a bit more easy to care for. Like I mentioned I'm getting a pretty descent sized tank. I'd really like to add 1 or 2 more small reptiles to the terrarium; ones that share the same climate requirements like a gecko or 2. As long as the other reptiles are friendly how would the Hermann's typically react?
The potential for cross contamination is huge when you start mixing species. It's not so much about the fighting, but it's a matter of disease. The natural gut flora in the tortoise could very easily kill the gecko, and vice versa. If you really have to have some variety (and you still shouldn't), stick to animals whose range would naturally overlap. Even then, an accidental bite from the tortoise could do serious damage to a small lizard. Or a larger lizard could injure a smaller tortoise. It's seriously some bad jujumagumbo.
I'm not trying to be a dick. You always think it'll be ok. Then your slightly larger Russian Tortoise hatchling bites the smaller one. Then you end up with two of everything, because it never works out and they need to be separated. I know.
Whoops, tangent! Go with the long tubes. They're rated by travel, so you'd want a Reptisun 5.0 for a 12" tall cage. I just use whatever size hood the pet store has that fits on top of the cage. Or under-cabinet fixtures if I'm mounting it. A good rule of thumb is to replace them every 6 months, because they stop producing uvb with age. Zoo-Med clamp lights for heat, but never use the clamps they come with. Set them on a screen top with a hole cut under the light, or hang them from the cord.
I actually have my Manouria Emys Emys in a glass fronted custom cage, because I had it. It's definitely not going to last another year, but it's a sealed chamber and works great for now. Glass is generally considered bad because tortoises have no concept of walls, so they stress out trying to walk through it. They're hugely expensive for adult sized tanks, too, compared to a wooden sealed chamber design.
Salmonella is an actual infection in the tortoise, too. Keep the cage clean, water fresh, and remove uneaten food. If the tortoise is kept in good health, the chance of Salmonella infection goes down drastically. Always maintain proper hygiene as well, and the risk is insignificant.
Last edited by McQueen; 03-07-2014 at 08:37 AM.
You are officially my turtle go to guy from now on McQueen lol. No I totally understand the fact about cross contamination it makes sense. So if I do stick with a Hermann's do you think the tank I'm eyeing up is too big? I definitely want to be captain save a turtle and give him the best life possible, but at 8 inches max I'm afraid the tank will look bair? Would getting 2 of them be an option - a male and female? Should I shoot for a smaller tank? As for the glass walls I was reading something about putting a line of tape that's just barely visible above the bedding and it's supposed to help them know it's a wall. I don't know though, that sounds kind of ghetto. Like I said once summer comes around I'll break out the circular saw and build the casa de tortoise.
Fuck that shit start an aquarium if you must, or really just get a kitten. You don't need time for a cat. Cat food and litter changes are going to be way, way, way, way less labor intensive than a fucking herp. Reptiles are a royal pain in the ass, only do it if you're a total herp freak and taking care of them and owning them is part of making your life whole. Get a cat.
Getting this as a first "pet" for a toddler is grade-A fucking retardo. He's going to get bored of looking at the thing in one day flat and leave you to all the bullshit care and habitat cleaning. Alternatively, what do you do to keep him interested? Let him handle the nasty thing? A three year old who picks his butthole and sticks his fingers up his nose right after? Genius move. Everyone in the house can enjoy a kitten, he can name it, actually handle it and pet it without risking becoming deathly ill, and when you are busy the cat is fine on its own. Just fill food and water and scoop litter once a day and you're done. Obviously the vet costs but that's going to be a wash in the long run compared to start up and maintenance costs of keeping this turtle. Kittens can easily be found for free plus a voucher to get it fixed.
Last edited by Famm; 03-07-2014 at 12:49 PM.
I don't have anything about turtles to add, but I want to say how awesome it is that this community seems to have an expert on every. single. topic. We actually have a turtle expert.
I'm something of a turtle expert too. I used to catch bullfrogs at the local pond all the time, but occasionally you'd catch an elusive turtle and feel like motherfucking Rocky coming home with that little shit. I had a large snapping turtle I caught and I fed him sliced deli meats as his only diet. We kept him in a childrens pool out back. He must've got mad about the food we offered him because one day he escaped. I like to think he went on to slay some turtle pussy but the sad reality is he probably got killed by a car while crossing the road.
RIP snappy. Enjoy your ham, shithead.
Bigger is always better. They get aggressive during mating season, so one of each is usually no bueno.
Daily care is essentially the same as a cat. Food, water, and pick out any tiny little tortoise turds (if you can find them).
Don't get a little kid a turtle. Little kids think they know what they want, but they don't. You know what I wanted when I was 8 years old? A turtle.
I'm 31 now, I still have that same fucking turtle. Really want to sign up your kid for seemingly a lifelong commitment at 3 years old? And don't count on the little bastard dying before your kid is middle aged and bald either, if you can keep a cactus alive, you can keep a turtle alive, which means they don't even have the decency to teach responsibility like a dog does.
I don't hate my turtle, but what are the odds if you get your kid something at that age that he's actually going to still be interested in having a turtle as pet every year from 3 to 50? Cats and dogs are companion pets, so they bring something more to the table than essentially being a high maintenance house plant. Turtle is better for someone old enough to actually know what they want, in my opinion.
Last edited by ezcw; 03-07-2014 at 03:53 PM.
beside the fact that salmonella is no joke for kids, my 2.5 year old would fling that thing like poo. she grew up with our stupid french bulldog and it's been great. i say go for a dog if you need a pet. disclaimer: i do like reptiles, have owned many in my life and still attend herp shows on occasion.
Little kids shouldn't be playing with them in the first place. They're like paintings that move, basically.
The misconception about turtles spreading salmonella everywhere they go started back in the 50's with dime store turtles. They'd sell quarter sized turtles with a flowery plastic fish bowl, which turned into a cesspool of shit and piss in about two days. Retarded kids would put these tiny, disease ridden turtles in their mouth. Voila, salmonella outbreak and decades of fear born from ignorance of proper turtle husbandry. Keep them clean and healthy, practice good personal hygiene, and the risks are very small.
Last edited by McQueen; 03-07-2014 at 11:02 PM.
Get a Goldfish. Pet stores will run specials on 5 or 10 gallon tanks for $20-30. A 'feeder' fish (comet goldfish) can be had for less than fifty cents. You don't need to heat the tank; just use the simplest of filters that comes with the set-up. They're not cats or dogs, but they do respond when they see you enter the room and if you want, they will help you teach your kid some responsibility. You will need to do partial water changes and filter maintenance and of course feed him. The last one we had we had named "Sushi" and he lived for 12 years.
We have a local ReRolled fishy salesman. Also he sells fish.
Adventures with Corndog: Corndog's Fish Store
More interesting than a goldfish, but probably less so than a cat.
I picked up a stray turtle in the middle of my street one time when I was a kid and found out the hard way it was a snapping turtle.....
God, this thread lol train-wreck.gif.
I don't want a fucking cat or dog! They both require a certain level of physical and emotional attention that I just don't have time for. There are multiple days a week where my place will be totally empty for 12 hours at a time. Sure I could get a cat, but they still want and need some attention. I'd feel bad leaving the thing. Turtles are emotionless so it seems like an easy pick. Also, I don't know how many of you are actually parents, but you must have bad kids or something. Any hands on time with the tortoise would be totally monitored. If I tell him don't put your hands in your mouth while playing with turtle he'll listen. Afterwards I'd be sure to bathe him in hand sanitizer. It's not rocket science. Also, this isn't really as much a responsibility lesson, but just something cool to have around the house. I think he's still a bit too young to start that.
Lifespan is definitely a concern though I get that. 50 fucking years is no joke. Are there any tortoises out there that die a little quicker? Like maybe 20 years? Lifespan could be a deal breaker. Worst case I could put him on Craigslist and give him away. Fish could be an option they just seem kind of boring. They seem more like a decoration piece to me. Maybe I could just get a couple geckos or something, but then I have to worry about crickets. This is turning into a pain in the dick.
Get her a rat. Literally by far the best small furry pet you could own. They love people. Ours would chill on our shoulder like a pirates parrot. It would run back and forth in the cage mirroring you when you walked by. Plus if you end up getting tired of them they only live a couple years. All this and easy to care for.
I say this as someone that has had a guinea pig a hamster and like 10 rats over the years.
Tortoises are all pretty long-lived. Turtles are closer to 20-30ish, usually. Even a large (75-90 gallon) aquarium will take up less space than a tortoise table. They're definitely more lively and interactive than a tortoise.
Take a look at Pink Belly Sidenecks.
Just capture a Red-eared slider if you're so dead set on a turtle. When you're kid is done with it, just kill it, since it's an invasive species in most places.
RES's make terrible pets. The females top out at 13“ or so, and they're aggressive as all hell. I do fully support the effort to eradicate them as an invasive species, though. They muscle out more interesting local species really fast.
While I'm usually the first to jump on that bandwagon, lets chill on the pedo stuff unless it's relevant to the discussion, I'd like this section to remain as troll free as possible.
And Gaige, are you surprised someone had the same pet for that long or that the turtle has lived that long? Turtles live a really long time.
Of course now I feel like an asshole for coming off like I hate my turtle, but seriously, a pet, that doesn't really interact with you, and that's going to live far beyond the scope of a little kid's childhood is going to run the risk of not being wanted anymore as soon as the kid finds something else they are interested in. I never lost interest, but that was probably more luck than anything else. Long story short, don't get a little kid a turtle unless you're willing to take care of it yourself or give it away.
My turtle usually comes up to the glass to see what's going on when we enter the room he's in. He's also learned to come up to the front corner of the tank when I get the pellets out and shake them, and he'll readily eat from my fingers. The hand feeding was partly to avoid the giant pain in the ass that catching a turtle in a 110 gallon tall tank can be, though, and I probably wouldn't have done it if he were big enough to draw blood. That's about it as far as interaction goes.
The tortoise is still pretty much a rock that moves at this point. He hides in his corner except for the hour or so he spends eating every day, and when I take him out for soaks. He'll let me rub his head and chin, though!
Day-to-day care is skewed about 10:1 tortoise to turtle as far as time spent goes. It helps immensely that my 4" turtle is alone in a 110 gallon tank with a filter that does 925 gallons/hour, otherwise I'd spend a lot more time doing water changes and filter cleaning.
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