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Turtles/Planning to buy an Indian star tortoise.

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QUESTION: I'm planning to buy an indian star tortoise. So I just want to know the precautions or how to setup an environment for it. My friend has kept it & he is asking me only to put a vegetable named ladies finger. Fruits, soil & moisture is to be avoided. So please tell me the things I must remember before buying it. Thanks for answering.

ANSWER: I strongly advise you against getting any more turtles or tortoises until you have thoroughly researched their care, are able to find all necessary supplies, AND have a way of obtaining veterinary care in the event it is needed.  You already have a severely ill turtle with no vet treatment available, and red-eared sliders are much easier to keep than star tortoises.  Your friend is wrong on nearly all aspects of star tortoise care, so don't rely on his judgment.  

My advice:
1)  Go online and do extensive research on the species.  There are many good websites with information, including www.chelonia.org, www.startortoise.net, www.tortoisetrust.org, and www.austinsturtlepage.com.  Join a turtle forum or two and ask questions.  Learn everything you can.
2)  Build a suitable enclosure and make sure you have all supplies you need.  That includes proper substrate and lighting (including UVB--and if you don't know what that is, you'd better learn).
3)  Be sure you will be able to obtain a proper and varied diet.  Good diet helps to keep a tortoise healthy.
4)  Find a vet.  If you can't find a vet, getting a tortoise is not a good idea.  If you still insist on getting the tortoise, you need to be absolutely sure you are keeping it in optimum conditions, with an excellent diet.  If not, sooner or later the tortoise will get sick, and if it gets sick there's a good chance it will die without veterinary care.  

I'm not going to give you the information you asked for because if you really want to be a good pet owner, you'll be willing to put forth the effort to learn (and you'll want to take care of the sick turtle you already have before you think about getting a tortoise).  Tortoises can live a long time, and they deserve good care.  Please consider carefully before getting one.  

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QUESTION: You have taken me wrong. I'm now in my home town my younger brother had bought the red eared slider turtle and it died. I don't know any veterinary doctors here.
I live in a twin city where veterinary doctors are available. I want to keep an indian star tortoise.
I will give it a three to four hours direct sunlight, enough water to drink and I will soak it in lukewarm water 10 min thrice a week.
I just want to know that can I  provide the indian star tortoise beans, green peas, spinach, hibiscus & ladies finger in its diet?

Answer
You need to have an experienced reptile vet available *before* you get a tortoise, especially since you are inexperienced and don't know the basic symptoms of disease (although you should research those as well).  Tortoises often don't show obvious signs of disease until they're very sick, and if you don't know how to tell if a tortoise is healthy, you may have a dead tortoise before you even know anything is wrong.  So find a vet first--it may be difficult, especially if you're in a country with few vets.  Good reptile vets aren't easy to find.

If you aren't willing to provide a source of artificial UVB, the tortoise will have to be OUTSIDE at least half of every day. UVB doesn't penetrate through window glass and very little through screening.  If you are in India, an outdoor pen is feasible, but you will still have to provide UVB and an indoor enclosure when the weather doesn't allow the tortoise to be outside (or there is risk of flooding).  If the tortoise is a small juvenile, you will need to keep it indoors until it is bigger.  Make sure you understand the importantance of UVB to a tortoise's health.

No, the diet you have listed is incorrect in nearly all respects.  What you should feed is something as close to their natural diet as possible.  Please research the natural habitat and diet of the star tortoise in the links I already provided you.  There's nothing wrong with asking questions, but you really need to have some knowledge of basic care prior to getting a tortoise, and that's what research is for.  

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Jeannie

Expertise

Questions regarding husbandry of Russian tortoises and other Mediterranean species, sulcata, and redfoot tortoises; general tortoise and turtle care; box turtle care. If I can't answer a specific question, I can provide sources for further research. Disclaimer: My advice is not a substitute for vet care. If I think your tortoise/turtle has a specific medical condition or injury that warrants a vet visit, I'll tell you so, and if possible I'll help you locate a vet. It is neither legal nor ethical for me to provide veterinary advice.

Experience

I have kept and bred Russian tortoises for over ten years and have other Mediterranean species plus redfoots and box turtles. I've worked with other tortoise and turtle species while doing volunteer rescue work; mostly sulcata but some leopards, California desert tortoises, yellowfoots, all box turtle species, red-eared sliders, etc. I don't personally keep aquatic species, but have access to a wealth of information and research to help you with any questions you might have.

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My knowledge is based on hands-on experience keeping, breeding, and working with tortoises and turtles.

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