Misleading "Captive Bred" claims by websites

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Misleading "Captive Bred" claims by websites

Postby Tortoise Trust » Mon Jul 06, 2009 10:30 am

We receive a lot of enquiries asking about specific websites that advertise tortoises for sale. Most of these state that the tortoises are “captive bred”. Many also allude to the fact that the operator of the web site is “a breeder”. Given this, most people just assume that the tortoises being offered are indeed bred in the UK by the seller in person.

This is not necessarily the case.

To give an example, one seller who advertises widely states that they have been “a breeder” for many years. This is true, sort of - they bred a few tortoises about 12 years ago! The animals they have for sale, however, are all - without exception - imports. Unfortunately, many buyers are misled by this into believing they are buying UK captive-bred tortoises from “the breeder”. They do not find out the truth unless they inspect the certificate, which usually gives the origin as Slovenia.

To avoid this kind of scam, if you are looking for a UK captive bred tortoise, ask all sellers for a written (not oral) statement of the origin of their tortoises. You must get this in writing as it offers you easy and full recourse under the Trades Descriptions Act if the claims made turn out to be untrue. Specifically, request an unequivocal statement that the tortoise you are buying “was captive bred in the United Kingdom”. If a seller is not willing to provide this, then walk away. A legitimate breeder would have problem at all providing such an assurance.

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Re: Misleading "Captive Bred" claims by websites

Postby mark_w » Mon Jul 06, 2009 4:26 pm


I concur - this is a good idea. I would add that, unfortunately, it ain't just websites which do this.

I have known shop owners/staff describe animals (not necesaairly chelonia) as "captive bred" (with the implication being that they mean UK captive bred). If they are challenged authoritatively, they will back down and say "sorry, my mistake, they are actually captive farmed". What you then read into the "CF" label is tricky - I know that there are good facilities out there, but I also know/suspect that they are in the minority, especially in Africa...

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Re: Misleading "Captive Bred" claims by websites

Postby suej » Mon Jul 06, 2009 4:50 pm

When I bought my Horsfield it was descibed by the pet shop as captive bred and as you do not need a certificate for a horsfield I have no idea where she was bred. Until I found the tortoise trust I assumed she was bred in UK.
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Re: Misleading "Captive Bred" claims by websites

Postby chrissy » Mon Jul 06, 2009 5:00 pm

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Re: Misleading "Captive Bred" claims by websites

Postby blin69 » Mon Jul 13, 2009 8:09 pm

Me too! I'm waiting to hear from the shop owner to confirm what he actually meant when he said BREEDER in the UK.

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Re: Misleading "Captive Bred" claims by websites

Postby Growler » Wed Jul 22, 2009 2:14 pm

When I collected my Ibera hatchlings I was shown all his facilities for the breeding adults which were mostly tunisians and hermanns. This was great because back then, I'd never seen a tunisian. I was quizzed in depth about the accomodation I intended to use, food and supplimentation (he wouldn't let me go without a big bag of calcium carbonate) and he was enthusiastic about active UV bulbs which were quite new at the time.

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Re: Misleading "Captive Bred" claims by websites

Postby julie-taylorf » Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:22 pm

it is difficult to be sure that horsfields are uk bred. I was told mine was but i cant be 100% that she was without certificates
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Re: Misleading "Captive Bred" claims by websites

Postby Sandy » Wed Aug 19, 2009 7:38 am

I would think if you bought your horsfield from a petshop then he/she is probably wild caught. As there are a few breeders of horsfields now, but most can sell them privately quite easily, without going to a petshop.
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Re: Misleading "Captive Bred" claims by websites

Postby insenceaddict » Wed Aug 19, 2009 1:59 pm

just a comment about sellers of horsfield tortoises, i am aware that there is a person who sells them on pre loved website. she uses several different names and has lots and lots to sell. she often states it is because of personal circumstances that she needs to sell all of her tortoises and then in another advert states she has babies, or 10 year old females, or males and females aged 1-6 etc etc it changes all the time. i had 2 horsfields off her some time ago one sadly died, whilst in quarantine, (i was distraught/as were my children) but thankfully the other has been has been fine. she only let me into the part of the house where the one i was buying was. now i know that another person i know contacted her and she claimed to have over 60 tortoises for sale at her property, i am very concerned as to the origins of these tortoises given that you do not need a certificate for them so they could be imported, farmed, stolen, who knows? anyway, i am willing to provide details on a PM if anyone thinks that anything can be done about this situation. :shock:
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Re: Misleading "Captive Bred" claims by websites

Postby suej » Wed Aug 19, 2009 2:34 pm

unfortunately Jac I doubt there is anything that can be done, I would like to think that if all tortoises sold had to have a certificate of origin it might stop some of this sort of thing, but I understand that even those that do have certificates, many are photocopies or forged, still it might go part way to getting rid of people who are part of the illegal trade in reptiles.
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