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#215 Egyptian Tortoise

Critically Endangered

Around the World in 80 Days - Day 7 - Egypt

We are hitting Suez, Egypt now. Though it is called the Egyptian Tortoise, it is probably extinct there. There are some left in Libya, but their numbers are declining. They are a protected species in Egypt and there are even protected areas for them, they just aren't there anymore. They are not a protected species in Libya unfortunately. They are captured for use in pet trade. Unfortunately they may end up needing the pet industry to keep them from going extinct. in the 1990's it seems there were over 50,000 of them, but by 2002 there were about 5000 breeding age ones remaining. They are expensive as a pet, and you have to hope they are from a reputable breeder, easily costing $1000 for a hatchling, some over $2000. Females lay 1-5 eggs a season, but usually one. When they hatch, the babies are just about the size of a dime! They can live up to 100 years, though usually don't come even close to that in captivity. They can zip along at a top speed of almost 5mph. They are the second smallest tortoise, 5 inches long for the females, and the males up to 4 inches long.

My mom would love a turtle or tortoise, but because my grandpa was a microbiologist and well aware of salmonella, she wasn't allowed one as a kid. Now, none of us would do a turtle or tortoise for a pet because of how long they live. Maybe if we could adopt a geriatric turtle that would work. My mom did have a pet snake for a while when she was young, which could also have transmitted salmonella, but I guess you pick your battles. It was a kingsnake that got to be about 6 feet long. They named it Sam. He actually just showed up in their backyard in California, dropping out of a tree. My mom took it to school wrapped around her neck for show-and-tell, which did not go over well with the teacher. I would love a snake pet, but only if I don't have to feed it cute fuzzy things. My wrong text friend had some very interesting pets when he was a kid. If I could have an exotic pet and know that the pet would have a better life than if they were in the wild (so in other words, I won't ever have an exotic pet), I'd have a wolf, a crow, a hippo, and an octopus. If you could have any pet you wanted, and know it would be happy and healthy, and live a long life, what would you want?

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