Basic information

Radiated Tortoises are wild animals that are evolutionarily adapted to a very specific habitat. In contrast to most domestic and farm animals, they cannot adapt to different climatic zones or to ecological conditions foreign to their species. Due to their limited adaptability, it is imperative that captive husbandry be as close to nature and species-appropriate as possible. Often, the husbandry situations offered are well-intentioned, but far removed from the natural needs of these animals. Even minor mistakes or deviations from a near-natural husbandry can have serious health consequences for Astrochelys radiata after a short time.

Radiated Tortoises are neither a children's toy nor an expensive prestige object from terraristics. Radiated Tortoises are an endangered species and therefore belong only in expert and responsible hands! Since tortoises can only articulate minimally, they are particularly dependent on the expertise, empathy and generosity of their owner in human care.

We are aware that very few tortoise keepers have the space, resources and possibilities of a zoological facility. This is also not a prerequisite for a species-appropriate and professional keeping of Astrochelys radiata on a private level. However, we owe it to these beautiful animals that at least the basic keeping parameters listed in the checklist below can be conscientiously fulfilled. Animal welfare is absolutely central for us and is not negotiable in a sales talk. All of our customers who have met us personally also know that we are always generous with advice and action when it comes to mutual transparency and compliance with the general terms and conditions.

It is really a matter of the heart for us, that our Radiated tortoises offspring come back into responsible hands and into a species-appropriate attitude. Unfortunately, the desire of many prospective buyers to acquire exotic ray turtles is often much greater than the possibility of keeping these beautiful and rare animals in a manner that is close to species-appropriate. The practice and our Radiata-Hotline also shows that many beginners are completely overwhelmed with the keeping after a short time, and a large part of the animals die miserably after a few years or never reach the reproductive age. However, by transparently communicating the necessary husbandry options and resources, we can in most cases ensure that the basis for species-appropriate husbandry is available, or place useful information to remedy any deficiencies before the acquisition.

Checklist before buying a Radiated Tortoise

We always appeal to the insight and common sense of interested parties to consider the acquisition well in advance and also honestly question their own husbandry options and resources. We recommend to check the following points conscientiously before buying a Radiated Tortoise:

Fact is: Many prospective buyers start a purchase request completely uninformed and unprepared. They do not even know that Astrochelys radiata is a tropical tortoise that does not hibernate. It is impossible to imagine what would happen to the animals in such ignorant and uninformed hands:

Fact is: Often, after an impulse purchase, Radiated Tortoises have to endure weeks or even months in some suboptimal and provisional accommodation, until the owner / the owner seriously thinks about a species-appropriate accommodation. The loss of the familiar environment and the transport to a new home are already a very big stress situation for a Radiated Tortoise. Therefore, every Radiated Tortoise needs an optimal infrastructure for a seamless and stress-free acclimatization immediately after a re-homing.

Fact is: Many Radiated Tortoises end up in cramped year-round terrariums because their owners have neither a garden nor an adequate outdoor enclosure with a shelter. Due to the acute lack of natural sunlight, these animals suffer from serious metabolic disorders in their containers and suffer a slow and agonizing infirmity with sudden death.

Fact is: Many Radiated Tortoises have to make do with suboptimal places in the garden, which are simply still free or unused. Often these are shady, damp and have an unfavorable soil condition (e.g. lawn). For the outdoor enclosure, choose the sunniest spot (south-facing) with the longest hours of sunlight. Radiated Tortoises always need a sunny outdoor enclosure with a heated shelter.

Fact is: Health problems during indoor keeping are mostly due to non-existent, wrong or defective technical equipment. Investing time and money in professional indoor equipment is not an option, but a compelling necessity in favor of the health and well-being of your Radiated Tortoise!

Fact is: The acquisition of a basic facility for a species-appropriate infrastructure is already very cost-intensive. However, the following annual maintenance costs far exceed the purchase price of a ray turtle. In addition to enthusiasm and joy in the matter, you also need a regular income.

Fact is: A sufficient supply of premium food must be provided, especially during the cold season. Unfortunately, deficiency symptoms with health consequences, based on incorrect and improper nutrition, still occur frighteningly often in tortoise keeping and sooner or later lead to irreversible shell, bone and organ damage.

Fact is: Keeping Tortoises is a life task and not a short-term hobby. In case of death, many relatives are completely overwhelmed with the sudden and involuntary takeover or care of a ray turtle. Therefore, you should think about in time, in which kind-fair attitude situation you would like to give your Radiated Tortoise in the age or after its death.

Checklist for buying a Radiated Tortoise

We recommend carefully and conscientiously checking the following points when buying a Radiated Tortoise:

Astrochelys radiata is listed in Appendix I of the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and is considered a critically endangered species. Both the taking from the wild (wild capture) and the trade in live and dead specimens and their products are strictly prohibited. Restricted trade and border crossing of captive bred specimens is regulated by the international CITES agreement.

It applies therefore: Hands off from animals without secured origin! If offered Radiated Tortoises do not have the necessary provenances and documents, they are mostly wild-caught, which were shipped as young animals by criminal and organized smugglers from Madagascar via Asia (Malaysia, Thailand) to Europe. These animals usually have an unspeakably long transport route behind them, have made several suboptimal stopovers with indifferent traders and are thus traumatized, weakened and usually completely sick.

Even if such an animal is offered to you supposedly cheap, consider that exactly with such a purchase you directly support the organized, illegal animal trade and also make yourself complicit in the overexploitation and extinction of this wonderful species on site in Madagascar.

Since Astrochelys radiata is now also legally bred by private breeders at home and abroad in sufficiently large numbers, it is also absolutely pointless to still consider the purchase of a wild catch. Do something good for yourself and the animal and buy only offspring from a secure origin. Also keep in mind that the status of the parent animals is crucial when setting up a breeding program, in order to be able to apply for proper CITES papers again for the offspring at the responsible authorities.

An exception are adult radiated tortoises that can be proven to have been imported into Switzerland before 1973 (i.e. before the Species Protection Convention).

An online purchase of Radiated Tortoises with delivery on a stock exchange or a parking lot always has a dubious aftertaste. It is better to inquire about a Radiated Tortoise breeder in your area and visit and examine the keeping situation of the animals personally on site. A conscientious and transparent breeder will always gladly and proudly show you his keeping situation. If you have made sure that the keeping is professional, clean, close to nature and species-appropriate, you can also rather assume that you will acquire healthy and strong animals. A reputable breeder will also always issue you with the appropriate provenances for the animals you purchase.

A socialization of individuals of different species is always an expression of limited space in tortoise keeping! Nevertheless, the socialization of different tortoise species is always discussed very controversially by many keepers. However, on our Radiata-Hotline we notice that conspicuously many Radiated Tortoises from mixed stocks develop health problems. Astrochelys radiata has a particular hypersensitivity to foreign microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, protozoa). Excessive ingestion of certain intestinal bacteria causes diffuse and chronic inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract of Radiated Tortoises. These inflammatory foci often remain inconspicuous and unnoticed for a long time, but weaken the immune system permanently and can spread to other organs. These acute infections can then lead to sudden, multiple organ failure. The likelihood of turtles also being infected with other parasites and pathogens is increased many times over in a mixed breed population! Especially an infestation with microplasmas, rana or herpes viruses unfortunately occurs again and again in mixed stocks.

Adult, smooth breeding pairs, single females or conspicuous High Yellow animals are still rare and are rather seldom offered for sale. Therefore, be careful and suspicious if you are suddenly offered such animals at suspiciously low prices. It could be sick, illegal or even stolen animals. Always ask about the origin and the reason for the sale of the animals.

Vital, healthy ray turtles are active, curious, bright and always go to the food well. The extremities are strong and the animals should walk with high legs and horizontally. The eyes, mouth and nostrils should be clear and free of any kind of bubbles, secretions and impurities. The breath is even and soundless. The mouth is closed when breathing. The carapace shall be without lesions, firm, round and smooth in growth. Both the carapace and the skin shall be of a clear, healthy color and free from spots, bruises or weeping. The cloacal region shall be clean and free of fecal matter. Animals should not be malodorous. Turtles that are constantly curled up in a corner and feel like a hollow shell and underweight when lifted are not healthy.

Tortoises usually suffer silently and inconspicuously for a long time. Even if a ray turtle looks healthy at first sight, it may have diseased organs or be a carrier of dangerous pathogens. Often the health condition of a turtle can be better guessed or judged by the housing situation in which it lives. As hard as it may be sometimes, do not buy a sick or weak animal out of pity. You cannot know what the tortoise is actually suffering from without a professional and medical examination. Radiated Tortoises are usually uncooperative patients and treatment approaches can be lengthy, costly and with uncertain chances of recovery, depending on the condition. Never introduce a sick animal into a healthy population! The consequences can be devastating!

FAQ about the checklist topic

FAQ "...I live in Switzerland and am the owner of a Radiated Tortoise without official papers and proof of origin. I bought this animal a long time ago / inherited it / got it as a gift / took it with me on vacation. Today I know that this was unwise and a big, punishable mistake. Unfortunately, I now have to part with my Radiated Tortoise for private reasons. Can I apply for papers for this animal with the authorities afterwards?"2022-04-11T11:04:28+02:00

Attention: Radiated Tortoises without valid documents are and remain illegal! It is not possible to apply for papers for these animals at a later date. An illegal status does not expire either. It is strictly forbidden to trade these animals or to make a border crossing with them. In case of contravention there is the threat of confiscation and fines (an exception are ray-turtles, which were demonstrably imported into Switzerland before 1973, i.e. before the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species)! Ignorance and guileless intentions do not protect from penalties!

We suspect that currently a large number of undocumented ray turtles are living in Switzerland or are kept privately. Since no additional permit is required for the keeping of Astrochelys radiata and there is also no obligation to register, the official controls are largely limited to the trade and border crossing. Keeping a Radiated Tortoise without papers is in principle not a criminal offense within Switzerland, only in case of suspicion of abuse or other illegal activities, the authorities become active and also control private stocks. Because breeding with these animals is not allowed officially, they mostly remain genetically isolated and excluded from the conservation of the species. As long as no amnesty is provided for undocumented ray turtles, they simply remain blocked for life in Switzerland.

We are of the opinion that illegal and smuggled ray turtles cannot be held responsible for their status and are therefore all the more entitled to a species-appropriate home! Therefore, regardless of the status of your turtle, you are still responsible for optimal housing, husbandry and care. Should you for any reason no longer be able to care for your ray turtle, BEVET recommends that you also document animals without papers and place them within Switzerland with a placement contract. In the placement contract the illegal status of the animal is disclosed and all parties are informed about the circumstances of the origin and free release within Switzerland. It is important to note that these animals may not be traded in the future and may not cross the border! By documenting and signing the previous owner, a new ownership can at least prove that they cannot be held responsible for the origin, procurement and illegal status of the animal.

In case of uncertainty and further questions on the subject, please contact the Federal Veterinary Office in Bern directly. You will find the contact details under the heading Links on this homepage.

FAQ "...Your comments on the homepage gave the impression that you only sell animals to wealthy prospective buyers who have luxury facilities for tortoises. For fear of criticism, we are afraid that with our simpler husbandry situation, we will not be able to purchase a Radiated Tortoise from you. Do species-appropriate facilities for Radiated Tortoises always have to be connected with a high financial expenditure?"2022-04-12T12:06:05+02:00

It is neither our intention nor in our interest to criticize or badmouth other husbandry situations. From our many years of work and experience with the keeping and breeding of Astrochelys radiata, we simply point out to interested parties before the acquisition of absolutely necessary basic equipment and possible optimization potential to be able to keep Radiated Tortoises healthy in the long term. There is absolutely nothing elitist behind it. Also our own keeping situation could be extended and improved with the appropriate financial means. A constant questioning and optimizing of the own attitude situation always benefits the animals in the end. However, on this homepage under the heading Checklist The points listed below are to be understood as minimum requirements for the species-appropriate keeping of Astrochelys radiata in our latitudes. Our customers will confirm that all those who take our well-meant suggestions for improvement into account and implement them will always be able to purchase a Radiated Tortoise from us. However, animal welfare is not negotiable!

FAQ "...Do you sell Radiated Tortoises to beginners?"2022-04-11T11:19:05+02:00

Yes, we also sell Radiated Tortoises to serious, informed and well-prepared beginners who already have a species-appropriate indoor and natural outdoor facility (garden) before the purchase. We are also available after the purchase for questions about keeping and breeding.

2023-02-10T21:54:11+01:0004.06.2021|For Sale|
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