Please - don't buy tortoises!

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Re: Please - don't buy tortoises!

Postby Daryn » Thu Jan 16, 2014 2:20 pm

Well I rehomed a male last year and had previously rehomed a female, so it will be interesting to see how things go with them two but after reading other posts Im not holding out much hope of them staying together lol but we will see.
Daryn the happy geordie

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Re: Please - don't buy tortoises!

Postby Nadine Highfield » Sat Jan 18, 2014 10:28 am

olly wrote:Hi Nadine ,
I have a 4yr old Horsfield , Toby , whom we`ve had for 18months now. He`ll be coming out of his first hibernation at the end of this month. We ... took him to the vet to get him checked and sexed , where he also advised us to overwinter him for the first year , as we hadn`t had him long.
The point I`m getting at is , when we mentioned if he would benefit from a friend , the vet advised us to stick with just the one , as if we introduced a female , he wouldn`t leave her alone , and if we gave him a male companion , they would just be butting shells all the time , possibly causing serious damage.
So , that`s why we have never considered another.......although , we have a fully enclosed garden , have planted it with all the right plants , have soil , smooth stones , rocks & different levels , which is supposed to make him feel secure , if he should topple over , he can right himself , where Toby had a fantastic summer last year, built a large 3m x 1 1/2m outdoor pen with lids to secure him when we aren`t there , and also built a large 1.8m x 1.3m indoor pen ,
We would love to offer a good home to a suitable "friend" , if this would not stress Toby & be the right thing to do all round.
Your thoughts on that would be appreciated
Regards
Olly


Hi Olly,

Your tortoise is only four years old. It could have grown quickly, but at that age they are often still too small to determine the sex. Maybe you could post some photos?

Unfortunately, you really can't be sure if another tortoise will get along well with yours until you try. However, some will become aggressive with one, but not another! Horsfield tortoises can be aggressive with other males (but not always), and may also pester a female with mating behaviour. That said, we had Horsfield tortoises (including groups that had more than one male) and we didn't have any real problem with aggression. Seasonal mating behavior in spring would sometime result in a bit of aggression with the males, but the tortoises were not actually injuring each other. If they had been (or it was persistent) they would have been separated or placed with another group.

As I mentioned, tortoises are individuals and may get along with certain tortoises but not others. We had many tortoises come to our sanctuary of the years. We were sometimes told that a tortoise had been aggressive, but after its quarantine period it was often was fine with the tortoise/s it was placed with.

Often, it's the environment the tortoises are in that creates the problems. These are territorial animals and too small pens and tortoise tables can result in aggression between males and the females being subjected to unrelenting mating behaviour. It can result in injuries and it is very stressful for the animals.

Having a large outdoor area for tortoises with visual barriers enables a female to retreat from the attentions of a male if it wants to, and can help to prevent territorial behaviour as well. Having a large enough area with visual barriers and places for tortoises to retreat and hide makes a big difference... If you have the space to do this, that's great. For two small to medium sized adult tortoise I like to see an area that is at least 15 by 15 feet *minimum* or the equivalent area. More is better, particularly if you have a species (like a Horsfield tortoise, that is more likely to be more territorial. A larger area will also allow you to include more features and areas that provide variety and interest for a tortoise. And a greehhouse or polytunnel is a good addition and helps to extend the time you can keep them outside. Horsfield tortoises do not do well in cold and damp conditions. Good-sized cloches or coldframes can also be used.

If you would like to get a companion for your tortoise, I would suggest a female and one that is somewhat larger than your male.

I hope that helps you decide if you would like to try getting you tortoise a companion and helps you to plan the outdoor area.

Nadine
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Re: Please - don't buy tortoises!

Postby olly » Sun Jan 19, 2014 11:10 am

Thank you so much for your valuable opinion.
It was the vet who said he was most likely male , at only 2 1/2yrs & , naturally , we would just go along with that. So I think , first of all , we`ll wait another couple of years to see if we can determine his sex properly , but for sure , once he`s out of hibernation , I`ll post some photos of him , along with the garden , outdoor pen & indoor pen , & see what you think.
Many thanks again
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Re: Please - don't buy tortoises!

Postby Nadine Highfield » Sun Jan 19, 2014 1:34 pm

Hi Olly,

Sexual maturity is really determined by size, rather than age, so if a tortoise has grown quickly you can sometimes tell earlier.

Yes, I'd like to see your housing and habitat photos. And we'll look at some photos of Toby after hibernation! :D

Nadine
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Re: Please - don't buy tortoises!

Postby olly » Sun Feb 09, 2014 2:16 pm

Hello Nadine ,
I have posted the photos of Toby under Hibernation Q & A , New Hibernation Revised Text thread
There are pics of his indoor pen , his outdoor pen & garden & a couple of his underside so you can see if indeed he is a male
Thanks for your thoughts on any improvements
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Re: Please - don't buy tortoises!

Postby Christinep » Tue May 17, 2016 7:58 pm

Dear all
I don't post very often, however I would like to post a caveat to all 'potential' tortoise owners and agree with the don't buy, rehome.
They will take over your life, they are endearing and high maintenance. However they are wonderful creatures, feisty, strong and independent if they are healthy. The problems come if we cannot provide the correct conditions. I have learned to change my habitat to accommodate the latest research, it is fair to say we are all still learning and the TT is the best forum for that. However be prepared for a LIFE LONG commitment.
I have had my unique and enigmatic tortoise for over Fifty years. It's not easy but they are solely dependent upon you.
I guess my parents never expected her to last so long. All the other kids in the street got one because I had one and thinking back, there was a huge variation in origin. Not good I am afraid as the poor things were all dead the following summer. Tragic tragic loss and money making greed. Mine was lucky,down to my dad in the early days.
Sadly nothing has changed and we take on animals we cannot care for for life as they outlive us. Lots have great owners and while with them great lives. Thankfully we have help and direction in the TT. Think about this. - what happens when you are not able?
Sorry sore topic just now!!
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Re: Please - don't buy tortoises!

Postby tracietortoise » Wed May 18, 2016 10:10 pm

very true words christine. I have had mine for 20 years and during that time have lived in 3 different houses. In each house I have given up an entire room to accommodate my torts during bad weather, turned down holidays due to not having trusted tortoise-sitters available, spent an unimaginable amount of money on equipment and heating, and i can't even estimate the time spent researching lifestyle, environments, diet, planting seeds and plants, picking and identifying weeds, sourcing fresh food in the winter, designing and building indoor and outdoor accommodation, cleaning said accommodation, worrying that i'm doing it right, stressing when i get it wrong. The happiness i feel on a sunny day, watching them behaving naturally an knowing i have done my best makes all of this worthwhile. I too worry about what will happen to them if and when i am unable to take care of them. I am starting a new topic to hear others opinions and ideas.
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