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"I have a problem. I ran into someone that has a African Spurred Tortoise that had been given to them 2 years ago. We are right near Tampa Florida and this winter has been a very cold one. I have had tortoises of all kinds and breed snakes and have over 250 snakes and Iguana's that have been trained and never lived in a cage. Can walk and drive and listen like a dog. Back to the Tortoise they call T T. It's large I'm saying without measuring about an easy 24" from front to back of shell I will get measurements tomorrow from front to back and side to side. Anyway it was VERY cold for Florida. It lives outside and has it's own burrow but, I brought a print out of what the tortoise needs and that is shouldn't be outside if under 60 deg at night and what it needs to eat. We have had frost and you never see your breath and for months you have been able to. I seen her when I first came to my daughters house and noticed it and went to talk to the people and they said I could come at any time and visit it and come into the yard. I've seen it twice and the first time the day I brought the paper there it came out of the burrow and I could hear it the sound it was making when breathing. I told the son of the owner and he said "no they hiss some times" this was no hiss. I bought a hing back with an upper respiratory infection and it came with medication and a needle to give it shots but after a couple of years of being him back and forth to the vet he died. Then I seen a thing on animal channel that explained the systems of a tortoise and how slow they are and how it takes months to get rid of it. That is if it isn't gone in pneumonia. Kicked myself. I also noticed on this African Spurred Tortoise that the bottom of it's mouth is over grown and couldn't even get to the pieces that I brought it of Melon and strawberries and grapes and turnip greens collard mustard and romaine. I've never seen a tortoise devour anything so fast. I kept telling her slow down chew.. It was killing me. The father came out I was leaving to go get a couple of more whole leaves for her to rip and he said "it doesn't need that, it needs to get use to what is in they yard". Now with the winter they way it was has killed all kinds of stuff. If they had bushes that I have for my Iguana's and all to eat and grasses and all they I'd think cool. How much weight would a healthy African Spurred Tortoise gain per year with eating right? And another thing. I offered to have a mobile vet come to check her out, because she cannot eat right with the bottom of her mouth beak or whatever it's called it over grown but on one side so she can't bite right. He also said." I had him at a vet and they said it's ok". I know it isn't and tomorrow I will have pictures. Please I need to know how much weight it should be gaining. They say it weighs 70 lbs. But if it's a female that should be it and if it's a male from what you said he should be getting bigger. please I know what is right and if it's sick it takes a Long time for them to really show it and then die. Oh when I fed it today I did put calcium on the food knowing that it doesn't have anything to eat. Also you said it should be kept in a dry spot. Where her burrow is, if it rains and it's going to rain and rain a lot and Florida having such a high water table, Her burrow could flood. I said I'd put a lean to over it. so that when it rains it runs off and not directly into her opening to her burrow and fill it. Please........ help me here... so that I can show these people that this isn't right. I don't want their turtle. I offered to pay for the vet to come to their house like I said. I wish I had the pictures to include... I love reptiles and people don't realize how smart they are. Even snakes that have no ears. my rattlesnakes don't bite me and if I handle a rat to much they will nip it but it doesn't die until it see me walk away... She thinks it's me or my hand. She'll just lung at the rat but no bite until I'm gone. So I no longer handle it before feeding them to her. Thank you and please help me... or give me something to show him. Yeah if the grass is there and good and the weeds, but they should at least help it along with food. They don't have money I know that. But not right to let the African Spurred Tortoise die. Thank you Sue Hawkinson...... "
"Sue Hawkinson"


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