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Turtles/i need to know what kind of tortoise I have


I'm interested in buying a new tortoise for my back yard. The only reason I'm getting another tortoise is because I already have a tortoise but I don't know what kind of tortoise I have. If I know what tortoise it is I'm wanting to get the same kind of tortoise. Please help me figure out what kind of tortoise I have! Thanks here are a few pictures

Hi Charles,

You have a sulcata tortoise.  I very highly recommend you don't get another one until you completely educate yourself on the species and its care.  You have a tortoise that can grow up to 200 pounds, will be VERY large, VERY strong, and often VERY destructive (they dig long burrows), and they live a VERY long time.  You can't make an adult sulcata do anything it doesn't want to do without a lot of effort.  It will require a large, secure enclosure with heated area for nights that drop below 60 degrees.  If it's a male, adding another tortoise can be problematic because males can be aggressive with other males (as in hefty vet bills aggressive, because they'll ram each other and a larger male can severely injure a smaller one).  If it's a female, you may end up with eggs/hatchlings, and there's already too many sulcata out there as it is--rescues are overrun with them.  I don't know how you've been caring for your current tortoise if you didn't know what kind it is, but sulcata require a specific diet and care.  Improper diet can result in health issues, shell deformities, and (again) vet bills down the road.  So enjoy the tortoise you have now, learn all you can by reading and observing, and then decide if you want another one.  I'd recommend that you wait until this one is at least in the 40-60 pound range.  That's when they start getting harder to haul around, and it'll give you some idea of what it'll be like when he's double, triple, or more in size.  Believe me, a 200 pound tortoise is no joke (and they eat and poop like a small horse, too).


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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.


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.

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

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