Tortoise ID

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Tortoise ID

Postby Kalahari » Mon Mar 03, 2014 1:10 am


Somebody picked up a little tortoise (see attachments) in the street in Randburg earlier today - I agreed to get it to somebody who'd be able to take care of it.

I am a total amateur at this, but from what I looked at on the internet this evening, it looks like a female serrated tortoise Psammobates oculifer, commonly known as the Kalahari tent tortoise - am I even close?

I read in other threads in this forum that it is illegal to own them, so I'll take it to the Johannesburg Zoo tomorrow.

Does anyone know what the requirements are for getting a permit? What are the penalties / fines for keeping it illegally?

Thank you for this board; browsing around here has been very interesting!
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Re: Tortoise ID

Postby Ales » Mon Mar 03, 2014 1:41 pm

Your ID is correct. I suggest you phone up nature conservation, explain to them where the tortoise came from and that you want to keep it and ask them if its possible for them to give you a permit. If they say no then you can take it to Jhb zoo as intended, if they say yes then hey, you have a new pet. I succeeded so there is a chance that they will give you a permit. All you need is a nice outdoor, escape proof enclosure that would be a nice home for the tortoise.
These tent tortoise eat a lot of succulents that grow in the dryer areas of SA(kalahari), so if you do end up keeping it you could buy or even make a little garden for it with those plants where they would grow and he can munch as he pleases.
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Re: Tortoise ID

Postby Kalahari » Mon Mar 03, 2014 6:15 pm


I ended up not taking it to the zoo because I was hoping for something like your reply; thank you very much! It's very encouraging that you managed to get a permit, I will most certainly try :D

I have a large, suitable outdoor area where it can roam safely to it's heart's content, and it would be suitable for a succulent garden.

Can you (or anybody else) suggest anything I could do to improve my chances of getting a permit? Since this little creature arrived yesterday, there is much excitement among the kids ...
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Re: Tortoise ID

Postby Wallas » Tue Mar 04, 2014 7:30 am

Do not think you will get one in Gauteng, rather go to Magalies and put it back in the wild, you may also go to the Botanical gardens in Roodepoort and leave it their, they have a big tortoise living in the wild their.
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Re: Tortoise ID

Postby Bushviper » Tue Mar 04, 2014 2:38 pm

Mmmm they dont occur in Magalies so please never release this animal. Genetic contamination with a specimen of dubious origins is not doing the tortoise or the entire population in that area any favours.

Your chances of getting a permit for what is technically an illegal animal is very slight. You could apply and see what they say however if you do apply and you do not succeed they will not prosecute you so that is not an issue. If they find you with the tortoise and you have not made contact with them your chances of being prosecuted are rather high.

Compare this with someone finding a brown hyena in his garden (which has happened far more often than what we think) and you now decide you want to keep it as a pet. Would the authorities decide this is a good idea and issue you with a permit?
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