Petsmart & PetCo have been selling wild caught Russian tortoises for years now. It's not sustainable and they are not "farmed" as they are often advertised. Wild caught tortoises have different growth on their carapace when compared to captive raised animals. It's easy for people familiar with raising tortoises to identify wild caught tortoises. These animals are taken from the wild overseas and often are sick and harboring parasites. I have witnessed the warehouses these animals are held in prior to export to the USA and it is deploreable! The tortoises are held in warehouses in crates all piled on top of each other prior to export and if one tortoise is sick they often all become sick. Just imagine hundreds of thousands of tortoises piled on top of each other and upside down without being able to flip over. I visit both petstores (PetSmart and PetCo) in my city and other cities frequently and often see them with RNS (runny nose syndrome), dehydration, gaping of the mouth, etc. Employees have told me many times that the animals are not eating. Healthy captive bred animals are available in the USA and there is no need to import sick wild caught animals into our country. I realize the profit on captive animals that are raised up to 4" shell length (the legal size) do not offer the same profit potential as cheap wild caught animals but I believe customers would pay more for healthy animals that do not require a trip to the vet immediately after purchase! These two pet chains are the largest in the USA and it's important that they STOP selling wild caught Russian tortoises in their stores. They, together, are wiping out an entire species from the wild.
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