Religion teacher continues family hobby of tortoise breeding

During religion teacher Alec Sixta’s Monarch Television debut in early September, one could not forget how he nonchalantly mentioned his longtime hobby: tortoise breeding.

Starting with his dad who passed down the tradition, Sixta, a religion teacher, has been taking care of turtles since his teenage years and has kept the hobby alive as a way to stay connected with his father and brother.

“We really hated tortoises because we would have to put them away at night,” said Sixta, after explaining that, during the day, the tortoises would disperse around the backyard. “That was the rule. You can’t go out, you can’t do anything until you put away the tortoises, and it was just a really annoying task.”

Currently, Sixta has two male and two female red foot tortoises, six California desert tortoises, two of which were just recently born. And Sixta said his collection of pet tortoises is still growing. His 10 tortoises range in size from a full iPad Pro to a half iPad Pro, he said.

Sixta’s dad first gained interest in tortoises when he was living by himself in Orange County and wanted a different kind of pet in addition to his dog. As his interest grew in them, he raised the question of breeding them seriously, instead of just being a home pet. The second his dad posed the question of whether they should collect more tortoises, Sixta knew things had just gotten started.

“…as I got older I realized, I actually do love [tortoises] and they have given me a lot of joy in the world,” Sixta said.

Sixta said he plans on keeping up this hobby for as long as he can, even after he moves from his parent’s house.

“… the hope is that I’ll have enough money saved so that I can buy a home and … I can have my own tortoises,” he said.

According to Sixta, the experience is more than your typical pet and breeder relationship – he said it’s greater than that.

“They teach you how to be a really good disciple in the world or at least a steward of the Earth,” Sixta said. “You’re caring for these things that don’t have a voice – you can cut the leg off a tortoise and it’s not going to scream. But, it hurts [them], so you’re providing a [shelter] for these creatures of the Earth.