Ever since I saw a sulcata tortoise on Instagram, I have really wanted one. I have never kept a reptile as a pet and was

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Customer: Ever since I saw a sulcata tortoise on Instagram, I have really wanted one. I have never kept a reptile as a pet and was wondering what kind of person would be a good caretaker for one.
Are they expensive to keep/maintain/feed.
Are they beginner friendly.
Can they be left alone? Do I need to buy them in pairs to not get lonely.
How much outdoor space do they need?
Answered by PitRottMommy in 1 min 2 years ago
15+ years of experience

60,386 satisfied customers

Specialities include: Reptile Veterinary, Herp Veterinary, Exotic Animal Medicine, Amphibian Veterinary

Hi, JACustomer. I have been a Veterinary Nurse for over 15 years and I'm happy to help. Please stand by while I have a chance to type.


Generally speaking, sulcatas are not a good choice for the beginning owner as these guys can live 150 years or more. Since they would outlive their owner, this means that tortoises are often bounced around from home to home until they eventually reach their natural life span.

To answer your question:

Due to their size and housing requirements, they are expensive to house and to feed.

They are friendly animals but their size and age make them best for advanced keepers.

They can be left alone. I do not suggest keeping pairs together unless breeding is desired. Males can become aggressive with one another and two of any gender can harm one another unintentionally.

They need as much space outdoors as you can provide. Generally speaking, they need at least 100 square feet of room as an adult. Keep in mind that most sulcatas will need to have housing both indoors and outdoors (if the temps are high enough). They are not an animal that can typically just be placed into a yard to survive on their own.

My suggestion to you would be volunteering for a reptile rescue in your area, including one that rescues tortoises. From there, you can foster to see if you'd be a good match with a tortoise of this size and that reaches this age. If not, there are plenty of other tortoises that stay small and do not reach nearly the age of sulcatas. For example, the pancake tortoise stays under 2# ***** live to be about 30 years old.

Oh I see.... yeah... I don't think I should get one.
Do you recommend the pancake tortoise for beginners?
What other tortoise/turtle breeds do you recommend for a beginner?

Pancake tortoises are an excellent choice for beginners.

Red-eared sliders make excellent starter turtles and live to see about 25 years of life.

Neither of these guys would get so big that they would not do well indoors.

Gotcha. I will do some research on these two and if I have any questions I'll come back.
Thank you!!

My pleasure :)

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15+ years of experience
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