They stink. They don't do much. They're prone to malnourishment and diseases in captivity. Really, there are a thousand better things to buy a loved one than a tortoise this Christmas. In my most recent piece for onEarth.org, we look at a new study that found 55,000 Indian star tortoises being removed illegally from India each year, most of them destined for the exotic pet trade. Here's an excerpt:
"Sweaters shrink, jewelry tarnishes, and bacon-of-the-month-club subscriptions expire. But this holiday season, what if you could give a gift with a life expectancy of 80 years or more? The hottest gift of 2015 isn’t a Furby or Tickle Me Elmo—it’s the Indian star tortoise, a nearly one-foot-long, slow-moving, disease-prone reptile that will provide years of high-maintenance anticlimax!"