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I have been contemplating for some time now getting my first tort but find quite a lot of conflicting information. Our local garden centre has spur thighed and horsefields for sale but they also recommend pellet food and vivariums as housing so I am thinking that they can't be that good. They are selling both of these breeds at half price at the moment so originally £199 reduced to £99. They seem very healthy and mobile and happy enough.

I picked one of the books up in the shop and that was written as if it was trying to frighten me out of having one. I shouldn't have one as I have a 2 year old child and they carry salmonella etc. They are extremely high maintenance... Can someone give me a truthful account of life with a tort.

What do you guys think?
 

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hi, the tortoises in the garden centre are most likely wild caught and will cost you a bit in vet costs if they are.
You can buy one from a breeder for about 100.
a small tort like a horsefield is quite easy to keep as they can be kept in a tort table while young and on cold nights/days, they can mainly live in the garden in the summer months and they hibrinate in the winter.
They require a spot light and a uv light for the tort table and they will need to be warmed up somehow when living in the garden, they need bathing regularly and will mainly eat the weeds and plants in your garden.
they can carry salmanela but if you buy a uk captive bred one and wash your handss after handling it then you should be safe.
 

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All tortoises are high maintenance if you think that they are exotic creatures that are living out of their natural area. If you buy one from the gareden centre or from a pet shop it will almost certainly be higher maintenance as it will have been exposed to lots of pathogens on it's long journey here, which are alien to it and which it's immune system will be attacking. You need to ask the pet shop for the contry of origin and to let you see any papers that come with them. If from Slovenia, Czeck Republique, Germany or Prague then avoid like the plague. Avoid also anywhere selling any animal stock at reduced prices, it means trouble is already brewing. It will look quite healthy as unlike puppies and kittens, a reptile takes considerable time to change in appearance once it has become ill. Tortoises in petshops often look lively too as they are kept in glass containers at far too high temps which is why they are tearing round trying to escape :( If this is the case it will undoubtedly be suffering a degree of dehydration which if a small tortoise could well be irreversible. Due to the speed at which a small tortoise can lose moisture under lights, the urates become gritty and bladder stones start to form. Once this stage is reached they will eventually die :(
I would avoid this place and any other dealers too.
As Carl has already mentioned you can buy a home bred one for this price with full after care service, papers and care sheets. Breeders are far more concerned as to where their tortoises go. Ask at the pet shop what they recommend for different species and if they say the same for all, then again, avoid!
Hope this helps
If you tell us whereabouts you live we will be able to put you in touch with a breeder :wink:
 
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