American Tortoise Rescue Suggests Fun Toys or Donations Instead
American Tortoise Rescue is asking that no live animals, including turtles and tortoises, be purchased for holiday gifts.
While turtles and tortoises outlived the dinosaurs, illegal smuggling, habitat destruction, the commercial pet trade and live food markets in turtles has devastated populations worldwide. Many once thriving species are now threatened or endangered. Worse, some are now extinct. We are recommending this holiday season to avoid animal impulse buys. Here are five reasons why people shouldn’t buy a turtle or tortoise as a gift.
- Turtles are boring for children. Kids will not find everlasting love in an animal that basically sits still most of the day sunning itself or hides in leaves. Many kids tire of a turtle in a tank and don’t want to clean the habitat and change the water. Turtles and tortoises poop, we remind everyone.
- Most turtles and many tortoises are already hibernating at this time of year. It’s unnatural for them to be awake and available for sale when they should be sleeping from about October through April. It’s cruel to sell wild animals that need to hibernate to stay healthy.
- Turtles and tortoises confined in tanks are miserable. It’s like a human spending their entire life in a bathtub. The only proper habitat for these animals is outside. The sun exposure helps maintain a healthy shell and is necessary for the animal to grow and thrive. During hibernation, most reptiles can stay outside in shelters that are dry and predator proof.
- Adoption is the ideal option. During the spring, when the animals awake, rescues help place them in good “forever homes” with proper habitats. In most cases, there is no charge to adopt, only the promise that the animal will be given exceptional care for the rest of its life.
- Turtles can easily live 25 to 50 years or more and tortoises can top 100 years. An impulse buy without a thought to the future is not in the best interest of the animal. Plans need to be made in wills and with family members since the animals can outlive their owners. Most people don’t think about that when they buy a turtle or tortoise.