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I was born in central NJ in 1982 and since the age of 5, I have had an incredible and overwhelming passion for
turtles and tortoises. I started off rescuing local turtles from neighborhood kids and going out in the woods and
water with friends in search of anything wild. Throughout my earlier years I buried my face in books trying to
read as much as possible and quickly took to the internet to learn even more about these fascinating creatures.
By the time I was 18, I had a large collection of both common and rare species and worked hard to balance my
time between caring for them and being an active and touring musician. As I got into my 20s, my work with
certain species including the extremely rare Western Hermann's tortoise (Testudo hermanni hermanni) peaked
and I quickly began making numerous contacts and friends throughout the reptile community. At one point I was
a helping hand in the North American wood turtle (Glyptemys insculpta) diorama at the American Museum of
Natural History in NYC and I made live turtle donations to a few Nature Centers across NJ to aid in educating the
public about the importance of wildlife and the special place that turtles have in our ecosystem. By 2010 my
diagrams, care sheets and photo galleries spread like wild fire on many popular turtle and tortoise websites
world wide and it became my daily routine to answer countless e-mails regarding these animals. Photos of my
animals were being used in several books on the subject and some were even featured in Exotic DVM, a
veterinary magazine. Each year the amount of turtles and tortoises being born in my care increased
substantially and I would frequently offer captive bred babies of many different species for sale to those
interested in purchasing. Also in 2010 I was contacted by Reptiles Magazine to write an article for them which
was very exciting and in January 2011, the article titled "Gems of the Mediterranean" was released. The article
was dedicated to finally educating keepers world wide about what Western Hermann's tortoises really are, in a
very public way. Soon after that I gained a momentum of recognition from the community and decided to
officially create Garden State Tortoise LLC. Working hands on with so many of these animals on a daily bases
has really been a blessing and is something I will never take for granted. Hundreds of species both big and
small, both rare and common are born here yearly and it brings on an amazing sense of accomplishment every
time. Since Garden State Tortoise has emerged, we have generated over 500.000 visits to this website, we
have gotten lucky enough to obtain some incredibly rare species, we have gained the trust of the NJ Department
of Fish & Wildlife, we have made some great friends and I have just completed my second article for Reptiles
Magazine on Blanding's turtles (Emydoidea blandingii), titled "Smile Big" due out in the October 2012 issue.
I hope this website offers you a plethora of information and enjoyable updates, as well as photos and
educational videos that will help you have a better understanding of some of the world's most remarkable
creatures, the turtles and tortoises.
Thank you for stopping by,
Chris Leone Owner/Operator of Garden State Tortoise LLC
All rights reserved.
All rights reserved.