I really would like to get a turtle/tortise. Do you know much about them?
yep! what specifically do you want to know? the first thing to think about is turtle vs tortoise. turtles need primarily aquatic tanks while tortoises, depending on the type, are almost fully land-based. the next thing to think about is where you live. tortoises can't live inside their full lifespan, so at some point they should spend time outdoors in some sort of yard-based tortoise enclosure. so the question is tropical vs desert. if you live in a tropical area, you can get awesome tortoises like the south american redfoots, but if you live in a less lush climate a better choice is something like a russian or a greek like hotrod. The third question is size. How big do you want your end result to be. My grandfather had a wheelbarrow sized tortoise for like 50yrs that roamed around our town at will. But hotrod will grow up to be about the size of a dinner plate so is easier to handle and transport around. (giant tortoises are awesome, but when it comes time to take it to the vet it can be a huge pain in the ass. you need a van, they can't sit in cars, they are super heavy. stuff to think about ahead of time.)

Most pet stores will try to sell you on clear tanks, but they are a huge problem. tortoises will try and walk thru them endlessly and be super unhappy, plus they cost like $100 for the size you need. There are many solutions usually involving building your own tank, but an easy tank solution is a giant 50gallon rubbermaid container. The sides are opaque so the tortoise doesn't endlessly try to reach the things he can obviously see right there, plus hotrod loves to burrow in the corners. Tortoises are big burrowers, it's essential to keeping their temp normalized. it's not so much about the overall temp of the tank, but rather about the temp in various areas. there needs to be a basking area about 100F while there should also be a covered burrow area around 60F. We have a bunch of diff lights, a widespectrum UVA/UVB light that mimics sunlight and has all the right wavelengths for tortoises. A basking lamp that is on during his "day" and a ceramic heat emitter that is on at night. All the lights are set up along one side of the tank so that the other area stays in shadow and is much cooler. This is also where his burrow is and where he prefers to chillax when he isn't eating or basking. Having these microclimates lets them regulate their own temp as they feel necessary. Humidity level overall is extremely important, desert tortoises need 50%ish while more tropical tortoises need it way higher.

There are a million awesome tortoise websites and forums that you can get into once you pick which kind of tortoise you want. Basic setup is about $100 for the equipment (rubbermaid tank, substrate, thermometer packs, two lights, one ceramic emitter) and the tortoise will run you about $100-300 depending on where you go. We always use the East Bay Vivarium for our reptiles (http://www.eastbayvivarium.com/) and I always highly recommend them as being the awesomest and basically knowing everything about reptiles ever. But I might be biased because one of our oldest family friends works there. They give awesome advice and will ship animals within the US. All their animals are bred correctly, not wildcaught which is a huge deal because lots of popular captive tortoise breeds are declining in the wild because of shady pet stores. There is also the issue of buying from a trusted source for health reasons, because a small problem now can mean a huge pain in the ass down the line. Vets who specialize in reptiles are pretty rare and can get expensive fast. When our 14yr old iguana developed a tail infection I had to give daily shots to this giant reptile beast who was longer than I am tall and has a fkn bullwhip for a tail. Let me tell you what a joy that was. So when I am buying reptiles I generally look at higher reputable breeder prices as an investment in not having issues come up from poor breeding or improper care before i owned it later.
That was very comprehensive, thank you hep. The thing is- I feel like it's unfair to get any kind of animal like that and be unable to make them a place to live outside. I live in an apartment so it wouldn't work obviously.
This is one of the best, most helpful, most thoughtful replies to an LJ comment that I've seen in, well, ever. Well done.
you know, they'll eat you if they get the chance.

i had a strange encounter with a turtle when i was in the 3rd grade and I'm convinced they'll eat you.
that's not dof, that's just not in FOCUS. p'shaw.


my fiance's sister-in-law has a huuuuge turtle named spanky. she's had him for, like.. ten years? it's pretty sweet.