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Posted by W von Papinešu on May 06, 2003 at 11:30:27:
In Reply to: CA Press: Abandoned tortoises fast-growing issue posted by W von Papinešu on May 05, 2003 at 21:12:02:
THE STAR (Ventura County, California) 06 May 03 Letter: Spare the tortoises
Re: your May 4 articles, "Abandoned tortoises a fast-growing problem" and "Rescue group pleads, 'Don't buy hatchlings' ":
Thank you for back-to-back articles on the plight of Sulcata tortoises. The uncontrolled breeding of this huge tortoise is indeed a major problem for tortoise rescues all over the United States and must be stopped. By resisting the impulse to buy one of these cute little hatchlings at pet stores, the general public will definitely help to control the problem.
These tortoises do not grow to be 800 to 1,000 pounds, however, as noted in the article. The largest one on record was about 230 pounds. Most in captivity that we see average about 100 pounds -- still large enough to cause some major havoc in the yard.
-- Susan Tellem, American Tortoise Rescue, Malibu
Sorry I missed one of the two tortoise items on the 4th ... it follows
THE STAR (Ventura County, California) 04 May 03 Rescue group pleads, 'Don't buy hatchlings'
American Tortoise Rescue in Malibu is one of many turtle and tortoise groups in North America calling on the pet industry to stop selling giant tortoises called sulcatas.
Many people who buy cute hatchlings are told sulcatas won't get bigger than their tanks, says Susan Tellem, the Malibu group's co-founder. But after five years, they can weigh 30 pounds or more, she says.
"A fully grown sulcata can weigh close to 200 pounds and can easily move a piano or walk through a typical house or apartment wall," Tellem said.
Adult sulcatas can live 50 years or more. Males fight when placed together, and females can easily produce 90 eggs a year.
Tellem says zoos will not take the cast-off pets, and owners are mistaken if they think they'll sell huge sulcatas for a large profit.
"Remaining options are to dump the animal in the wild or give it up for adoption to a rescue group like ours," Tellem said. "But we can only take a few of them once they are huge."
The groups are asking the public to stop buying sulcatas as hatchlings.
"Overcrowded rescue (groups) will soon run out of space," Tellem said. "Sadly, at that point, euthanasia might be the only recourse."