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Aggressive Horsefield tortoise
Posted: 08/12/2013 by AJCoyne

This is my first post so hope I am doing this right!

I have had my male horseflies tortoise for 3 weeks. I bought him off a friend and he is 8 years old. Up until the last few days he has been absolutely fine! A little reserved at first but after a couple days of having him he has been eating well, full if energy and keen to explore his new surroundings.

A few days ago I noticed him walking very fast towards my hand as I was putting food in his case, he pushed his head against me a few times then tried to bite my finger!

I put that down to the fact he mistook me for food. But since then every time I have got him out his cage he charges at me - at my face/ hands/ feet, any part of me he can and tries to bite me! He won't do it to anyone else, only me!

If anyone can help I would appreciate it so much! From what I've read it seems like mating behaviour - but as I am not a tortoise I am slightly confused!

Looking forward to hearing any responses!

Re: Aggressive Horsefield tortoise
Posted: 08/12/2013 by AJCoyne


Re: Aggressive Horsefield tortoise
Posted: 09/12/2013 by Tom

Hello Alana,
Horsfields (one e) spend 8 months in hibernation in some parts of their range. Does your friend have monthly weight records ? Hibernation should be considered.
How exactly are you keeping it ?
I cannot understand how it could "attack" your face.
Post as much info as poss please, with photos if you can, so that we can try to help.

Re: Aggressive Horsefield tortoise
Posted: 10/12/2013 by AJCoyne

She does not have monthly weight records but I did take him to the vets the first week I had him just to make sure all was Ok, the vet confirmed he is a good weight for his age.
He has never been hibernated but maybe something I may consider next year - the vet advised as I am new to this and he hasn't been hibernated before to not try it this year.
I keep him in a 4ft by 3ft rabbit cage indoors with top soil substrate. Feed him a range of fruit and veg including kale, apple and carrot.
Maybe 'attack' is a strong word! I was holding him and he walked up towards my face and opened his mouth to bite me.

Thanks for your help here!

Re: Aggressive Horsefield tortoise
Posted: 10/12/2013 by AJCoyne

He* sorry, Auto type!

Re: Aggressive Horsefield tortoise
Posted: 11/12/2013 by Tylwoods

Hey, totally clueless about his behavior since i'm a tortoise nooby myself.

However i have read that you're actually not suppose to feed the likes of a horsefield/hermanns fruit and veg. But to have the diet based on weeds and flowers, maybe a bit of salad here and there (not iceburg).

I doubt the wrong diet brings out the anger within him though lol. I'm sure someone will have a solution on here for you :)

Re: Aggressive Horsefield tortoise
Posted: 11/12/2013 by Tom

Yes the food items are wrong.
This tort is adult, at 8 years & with no hibernation.
The poor thing will have a frustrating winter in a rabbit cage & I suspect it is being over handled.
You have a lot to learn & there is no better way to start than the green boxes on the left.
It will need an outside enclosure of at least 200 sq ft next year, anything less is cruel.

Re: Aggressive Horsefield tortoise
Posted: 12/12/2013 by AJCoyne

Ok I will reconsider food options and was looking to get a larger tortoise table next year. I do know that horsfields should not be getting too damp though and living in south east England there isn't much way of getting around that! Thanks all for the advise x

Re: Aggressive Horsefield tortoise
Posted: 30/12/2013 by louise2612


im having the same issues with mine biting and chasing me about i have had mine 3 years and the vet has told me not to hibernate as he was mistreated before i got him and was very soft i take regular weights but are not sure what his weight should be

Re: Aggressive Horsefield tortoise
Posted: 05/02/2016 by Juicy T

I have two tortoises a horseflies and a leopard print, recently my horseflie tortoise has decided to take a liking in his friends feet and bite them. Before this happened every time it was mating season he would bite our feet and fingers if he saw them. All of this is natural and once the month is over hopefully he will stop, but if it continues its probably because he wants you to feed him or give him attention.

Re: Aggressive Horsefield tortoise
Posted: 24/06/2016 by ZBliss

I have  male horsefield he is 15 but ive only had him a year in which he never tried to even attack us but we looked after two girl tortoises for a weekend and he picked up the smell and has started chasing us around wanting to bite us (which he does our ankles and fingers) he also bites anything in sight including furniture shoes etc he also headbutts everything he just dives at it this has been going on for about 5 wks now I really hope it stops soon


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