PIT tags, what value do they really represent?

I was talking with several people recently, infusing the conversation with my own opinion, perhaps too much so. Here I can’t interrupt, or be interrupted.

A few years ago  I sold some inter-grade Manouria emys emys with M.e.p. tortoises to a person who ultimately just saw a low price and flipped them as pure subspecies for what the phenotype (looks) appeared to be. That new buyer (the flippee) does not have what they may think they bought, one subspecies or the other.  It might not matter if they are held as single pets, at least until the next potential owner comes along.

But what utility does it really serve?? – At least to managed captive groups.

Had I PIT tagged the four inter grades, and the tag number and a description were readily available to whoever might read it, they still would have had to have the interest to look for a PIT tag in the first place. Readers are varying in price by the features they have, but I think a lower cost type runs about $200.

Not all systems of PIT tags are neutral to other systems. I believe from what I’ve been told that any reader will detect any PIT tag, but not necessarily indicate the tag number. Some readers are universal, but cost much more.

PIT tags have a potential for anti-theft and anti-shenanigan such as those four inter-grades. Within a collection PIT tags are a reasonable way to keep your own animals sorted out, if that is something important to your needs/wants. So maybe the people who bought those Manouria inter-grades just wanted a non-sulcata large tortoise pet, no intention to breed. But then maybe 20 years from now they sell that inter-grade to someone who does want to breed? But how to ensure the flippers and scammers don’t screw the animals up with short term interests?

BTW, PIT tags – Passive Identification Transponder, they are small inert ‘chips’ that are implanted into the animal. When activated by a reader’s close proximity they transmit onto the reader’s screen the unique number of the tag. They are also put in people on some occasions, and we may well have seen spy TV shows where they explode if removed so that good guys can track bad guys. We are just concerned with those used to make a unique ID for each animal.

If you PIT tag your tortoise it will confirm it is your animal in a lost and found dispute. However if the tortoise is stolen and coveted away, there is only the chance the new owner might need a Vet visit, and then the Vet would need to look up whatever information is stored associated with the tortoise’s PIT tag.

I Pit tag some tortoises sold from Kapidolo Farms and that will always be indicated in the For Sale listing (not the actual number).  The buyer will get the actual PIT tag number on their invoice.  I keep a database of all PIT tags used as well.

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