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Featured News:

August 3, 2018

Case study: Greek Ibera (owner surrender)

Case study: Greek Ibera (owner surrender) Symptoms upon intake: The tortoise went missing on Feb. 1, 2018 and was missing until May 23, 2018. It is assumed during this time the tortoise was exposed to the elements. The tortoise was severely emaciated including muscle atrophy. The shell showed signs of predator attack. He could not use his legs properly causing him to shuffle in circles. Additionally his neck muscles were too damaged to hold his head up. Eyes were glassy […]

Facebook News:

One of the more common questions I get is 'does my tortoise need a buddy?' The answer is 99.9% of the time no. I even have an info graphic on the subject on my website. The majority of keepers out there cannot recognize bullying or stressed behavior.

This poor Russian was pulled from the wild for the pet trade. He spent two years being bullied by another Russian in the same pen. He came to me in the last couple months and the first thing I did was separate them.

He was coming around but I tried to trim his beak a couple weeks ago because its dangerously long. It's so long I'm concerned about him getting his head stuck in his shell. I wasn't able to get his head and re-traumatized him by trying. I did it as gently as I could and as soon as he retreated I let him go.

He's now quite stressed out. He spends his days closed up and mostly buried. He's eating but not interacting with his environment or me at all. No one really knows the amount of trauma a wild-caught tortoise goes through when forced into the pet trade but the death rate is 90% in the first 2 years.

I have to tread very lightly and hope to bring him back into the world. I might fail. I'll do everything I can not to.

Do your torts a favor and let them be the solitary creatures they are. Don't get them a buddy; especially with wild caught Russians.
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6 days ago

Northwest Tortoise

Over the summer I've compiled some of the themes that have prevented adoptions or ended in me getting called varying names. Thought I'd share...

Craigslist: I lost two adoptions to people who found tortoises on Craigslist. Their reasoning was the 'tortoises with me are safer until they get adopted than the one's on Craigslist.' A double-edged sword, at best. Yes, torts are safe with rescues but without donations the rescues don't exist. Without being able to place a rescue more space does not open up for others. Rescues put a massive amount of time and money to rehab and provide a healthy tort for adoption. Who knows what you get with Craigslist and the practice continues to promote the buying/selling of animals.

Call me: I receive more emails with 'call me' and a phone number. It's clearly stated in the FAQs of my website why I don't do initial business on the phone. I respond to each one and ask them to use the procedure that's spelled out twice on the website. Being a one-person operation I don't have the time to call 10 people a week. Especially when 99% of their questions are already addressed on the website. If its an emergency or urgent, of course I call!

Research: You all know how much I stress doing due diligence before deciding to adopt a tortoise. I expect people to know the basics of the species they are researching. If you have 'been researching Redfoots for a month' and have no idea they need a protein component in their diet, there's a problem. I won't adopt to someone that will get the tort and 'figure it out later.' I won't adopt to someone that is not ready. I'll help guide them to good sources they can learn from but I will not do it for them. This pisses a lot of people off and I get told so often.

Fees: I DO NOT WHEEL AND DEAL ON ADOPTION FEES. I feel my fees are very reasonable, if not cheap. $50-75 for a Russian or Box turtle, $150 for a Redfoot that's been rehabbed at least a year doesn't even cover costs. I will not budge on this subject.

Personal attacks: Running a rescue is brutal. People forget that a rescue does not operate like a giant pet store chain. I don't have 20 employees behind me. I don't have a million dollar budget. I'm not here to serve humans. I'm here to serve tortoises. I try my best to respond quickly and help wherever I can. I lost an adoption because my process wasn't 'friendly' enough and I referred them to another general rescue that might have different standards. I certainly didn't have to suggest other options but I strive to be helpful. One person contacted me about surrendering a tortoise and I responded in 20 minutes. I received an email back saying 'too slow, you lose.' I didn't know it was a contest. I give out free advice EVERY SINGLE DAY and 50% of the time I don't get a response or a simple thanks. It's brutal when you give advice and they ignore it. Two months later they send a 'help me' email because their just-out-of-the-egg shipped hatchling is tanking. I still help as much as possible. When I first started rescue I didn't understand why some charge for their time or ignore messages. I do now. It wears on a person - getting called names, being ignored, being used for your knowledge and being asked to bail people out that didn't listen in the first place.

Regardless, I will keep on keeping on! The need for rescue space is off the charts in the Northwest and I'll continue to do my best to help the torts.
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  • My family and I just adopted a box turtle from here and our experience was amazing. Terese was so helpful with the many questions I had when we were preparing. We would definitely recommend adopting from northwest tortoise and hopefully we will be adopting from here again when we have the space for more.
    Shelli Nicole
  • After much online research, I chose NW Tortoise to surrender my two Russian tortoises to. While it was a sad day for our family, I know I chose the very best place for my little guys to have the best life possible. Terese was so great to work with and I'm clear she loves these animals and is dedicated to helping them thrive.
    Amy Gundlach
  • We have just adopted a redfoot tortoise bred at Northwest Tortoise and the experience has been amazing! Terese is very knowledgeable and ready to answer every question, even the dumb ones! And that's before and after purchase! I feel excited and confident as my husband and I embark on our tortoise journey.
    Karen Huffman
  • Excellent experience working with Terese. Very knowledgeable and just wants to find the right home for each turtle.
    Josh Magnuson
  • Terese with Northwest Tortoise is a compassionate and incredibly knowledgeable person. She has a genuine love for tortoises, desire to rescue and nurture them, and dedication to teaching others about these amazing creatures. She goes above and beyond expectations to save these little guys. Our family is very thankful for her.
    Linda Johnson
  • I recently adopted a Russian Tortoise from Terese of NW Tortoise for my grandson. From her very first email, it was clear that Terese is passionate about these amazing creatures and her experience and wisdom will build your confidence, not to mention, help make a decision on what tortoise you should consider. Terese supplied all the information we could possibly need, answered endless questions and even arranged for her friend to meet us in our area to pick up our new tortoise. With Terese, it is a personal experience – I really enjoyed the whole process. Adoption can be risky, but this little Russian is busy, happy and healthy. I highly recommend Terese/NW Tortoise to anyone considering purchase or adoption!
    Ellen Hankins
  • Thank you Northwest Tortoise for our new little Red Foot. We are very impressed with our little guy and the whole process. We have never shipped a reptile before and we were a little nervous, WA to MO is a long way. Sheldon arrived safe, sound, healthy, happy & alert. Within 10 hours he was dropped off at the airport and arrived at our FedEx location. I was very impressed with his packaging. We have now had him for a week and a half and he has just been a joy. Thank you Thank you Thank you!
    Carol Morse
  • This is an excellent and very professional organization. If you are interested in purchasing a turtle or tortoise I would not recommend pet stores – where the health of those animals is unfortunately questionable – and would 100% recommend Northwest Tortoise instead. The owner raises these animals and the difference is incredible. Since my purchase of a beautiful Eastern Box Turtle the owner has continued to help with further questions I have regarding care, feeding and making sure my turtle is doing well. Additionally, I would also recommend the enclosure they sell for these pets as it is easy to assemble and the perfect size. We were searching a long time for a turtle and walked away disappointed or unconvinced from several stores. It is increasingly uncommon to find a place with healthy and responsive animals as well as owners who care enough to remain in contact afterward. I would recommend Northwest Tortoise first to anyone interested in having one of these awesome animals as a pet.
    Monica Alcantar