Your Guide To Buying A Tortoise

Many people love the idea of having a Tortoise as Pet. They are cute; they are adorable, but beyond the cuteness and fun, one needs to know all the rules and other requirements regarding the purchase of the pet.

In order to buy a pet tortoise you must first check your local animal welfare laws. In the US you can’t commercially buy or sell Tortoise with Carapace length less than 4 inches. In the UK if you purchase a Tortoise less than 60 mm you have to produce the Article 10 Application Certificate with the name of the seller. From a reputable breeder a tortoise can cost between 50 to 2500 pounds or dollars.

You can easily buy a Pet Tortoise from online sellers, breeders, pet Shops, private sellers, and tortoise club from as low as $70/£50 to more than $3500/£2500. This article is centred on providing you the answers you need to buy a Pet Tortoise. There is a lot to know about owning Tortoise: the species that has been here for more than 300 million years and in all probability would outlive you so far.

Before you go online and order one tortoise for yourself, you might want to know a few things about the species and a better way of buying Tortoise.

Here is all the information you would want to know about how to buy a Pet Tortoise

Rules regarding Purchase of Tortoise in USA & UK

In the US, you do not need any license regarding the purchase of Tortoise, but almost all the states follow the four-inch regulation of the California Federal Law. You cannot commercially buy or sell Tortoise with Carapace length less than 4 inches.

In case, you are found in possession of the Tortoise that is smaller than the length; it will be seized by the law enforcement and destroyed. Also, if you are importing Tortoise from another country, you cannot bring in more than six Tortoises. You would also need to show the requisite purchase certificate.

In the UK, laws are stricter than that of the USA. Tortoises above the length of 60 mm should have microchips embedded in it, and this has to be done by a qualified Vet. For purchase of Tortoise less than 60 mm you have to produce the Article 10 Application Certificate with the name of the seller.

If the certificate does not have the name of the seller, one should immediately walk away. For the Tortoise over 60 mm in length Specimen, specific Article 10 Application Certificate is required. This contains the details of the Microchip. Some countries in the EU also require the picture of Tortoise for Identification in the Certificate.

Rules regarding Endangered Species

All tortoises are not for owning as Pet. While Species like Sulcata Tortoise, Russian Tortoise, Herman’s Tortoise, Greek Tortoise and more are allowed by the law, Species like endangered species like Baby Bog, Gopher, Mojave Desert, Spotted Tortoise and many more are prohibited by the law.

Although many of the endangered species are sold online, you need to know that their possession might be a criminal offense. Possessions of endangered species are governed by strict laws. Because of this lack of knowledge, many pet owners have paid hefty fines in the past.

Illegal Trading of Tortoise

On your visit to countries like India, Indonesia, Madagascar, Maldives, Sri Lanka, and many other Asian countries you will find Tortoise being sold for cheap rates. You also get a certificate with it. But most of such deals are illegal.

You should never buy Tortoise from an unverified seller. Without knowledge, you will be apprehended at Airports for smuggling. While buying from another country, research on all local rules with government authorities: many countries have banned the export of Tortoise.

The Age of Tortoise

The smaller Tortoise is, indeed, adorable, and anybody would want to have the possession. But, there is a question that needs an answer. The fact is that the probability of Tortoise outliving you is very high. With an average life span of 100 years with many species that live over 150 years, owning a Tortoise is a commitment of Lifetime.

There is a way to know the age of a Tortoise. By counting the number of rings on the Carapace, you can have a reasonable estimate of the age. This works the same ways as the trunk of the trees.

Also, the older ones are more expensive than young ones. In some case, the difference could be in hundreds of dollars. When you are buying, think not about the age but the number of years left. It could occur in high probability more than your life. If you would like to know more about how long your pet tortoise can live than we have you covered, click here for our in depth article on tortoise life spans.

How long does a pet tortoise live for

Things to arrange for before buying a Pet Tortoise

Tortoises are cute and friendly like dogs. Not many know that they respond to their names, and when in a good mood, they follow you around the house like a dog. But before you get them home, there are specific arrangements you have to do for them.


A big Tortoise needs its space. The enclosure should have enough spaces for it to roam comfortably. The tortoise can easily climb small walls. They also eat anything that comes in their way and fall sick. You need to ensure that they are safe in an enclosure from outside influence. We have a full article on the best enclosure for your tortoise here.

Best Enclosure for your tortoise

Lighting Arrangement

Tortoise needs sunlight to remain active. The enclosure is built outdoor for the same purpose. But, in case, you live in apartments, you need to put artificial UV lights to provide the right amount of heat and light. If you would like more information on the best lighting we have two great articles for you to look at below.

Best Heat Lamp for you tortoise

Best UVB bulb for you tortoise

Controlled Climate

Tortoises find it challenging to survive in extreme climates. The conditions should replicate the climactic conditions they come from. The requirements also differ with breeds. A complete understanding of their background and the replication of that condition is significant for their healthy growth.


Almost 80% of Tortoise food is fresh Vegetables. They also like fruits in their diets. One needs to have complete control over what they eat as they fall sick easily with other food lying around in homes.

Breed Specific information

Though they all look similar to untrained human eyes, different species have different preferences. Get as much information as possible with regards to their habitat, food, surrounding, etc. All this information would make you a better owner and parent. If you like more information on what tortoise breed might be write for you check our guid Best Tortoise for Indoor Pet?

Best tortoise for an indoor pet?

Understanding Tortoise Behaviour

Tortoises are intelligent species. They understand the idea of owners and food provider. But, like any other pet, they needed to be given enough time to adjust to the new surroundings. They respond to names, and if appropriately trained, they can follow instructions.

One has to have a clear understanding of that is owning a Tortoise isn’t a part-time job. While Dogs and Cats can easily adjust to human household, Tortoise needs more care. Also, one needs to ensure before buying that the Tortoise is a captive breed and not wild.

Different Species for Sale

There are lots of species that can be bought from the Pet Shop or online. Few of the species fit to be Pet are Sulcata Tortoise, Leopard Tortoise, Herman’s Tortoise, Cherry Head Red Fort, Sri Lankan Star, Burmese Mountain and few more.

The average rate of Tortoise is between $80 and $200. While buying from the Pet Shop, you should see if the Pet Shop Owner knows Tortoise. It is better to buy from the breeders. Breeders have a better understanding of the species and how one can take care of them.

Visit the Captive Breeding site. Talk to the owners and get as much information as you may. While most of the information is found online, the local breeders often have the set-up to explain to you how you could build a home for your new pet. If you want to know which tortoise species will be right for you then see take a look at out article whats the best tortoise for an indoor pet

Adoption of Tortoise Pet

Rather than buying, you can also adopt a Tortoise from agencies devoted to caring for abandoned Tortoises. Many people renounce Tortoise because of the number of years of commitment this pet demands.

Many older people have to abandon Tortoise because the next generation is not interested. Visit your local Tortoise Rescue agencies. Many believe that when the tortoise grows, they will hand it over to the local zoo. It does not work that way.

Most of the zoos do not have enough space to accommodate all the abandoned Tortoises. By adopting, you are helping the species and also getting a cute possession.


The tortoise can easily be purchased from the local pet-shop or ordered online. But buying Tortoise has a lot to do with the local rules. Know the local regulations governing the possession of Tortoise as a pet before getting one.

There are around 300 species of Tortoises. Out of that more than half are endangered. A lot of endangered species are being sold in the black market. They might be attractive and sold at attractive prices, but possession of these endangered species is a criminal offense.

Buying a Tortoise is a commitment of more than a lifetime. Give it a thought before buying one. They are expensive to maintain and need a big area to grow. While they are very tiny, they occupy a lot of space and weigh more than 100 pounds after increasing. All this needs consideration before owning.

Finally, Tortoises are fun and mix up well with Humans. If you are committed to all given above, visit your local breeder or adoption agencies, and get yourself one. As a pet, Tortoise never disappoints you.

Recent Posts