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Aggressive behaviour!
Posted: 07/08/2008 by janiels

Hi Everyone

I'm new so I hope I'm doing this right...!!

Please can u help-I have two Hermanns-Pringle and Twinkle-they are 4 and are beautiful!

They are from the same batch of eggs and Twinkle is quite a bit bigger -I think he is the male(!). Most of the time they are great and happily live side by side-I even find them "snuggled" up together in the garden, even though they have a large space to use.

However, the last few days thay have been so aggressive-circling each other, nipping, plus mounting each other etc. I am guessing from what I have read that this could be mating/territorial behaviour but am desperate for advice as today, one or other of them has landed on their back 4 times or more and I am worried about what might happen if we are not here.

Tonight I have put them back in their vivarium but have divided it down the middle as I am so worried about one of them landing on their back and not correcting.

I guess I need to take them to the vet and may need to weperate them, but this upsets me as on  most occasions, they seem to like each others company.

Has anyone got any advise they can give me-I would be really grateful. Thanks.

This seems a great site and I am really happy to have found it!

Janie

Re: Aggressive behaviour!
Posted: 07/08/2008 by Ozric

Hi Janie

it might be the case that as your tortoises are becoming more mature they are starting to behave differently towards each other. The males can be quite pestering of the females and this can cause the female a lot of stress.  Although at that age mostly Hermanns are not sexually mature though there is a lot of variation.

Generally its the females that are the bigger in Hermanns.  It is possible to get males that are larger than females but if your tortoises were from the same clutch then its almost certain the female is the larger, but equally they might both be the same sex - if you took photos of the underside of both tortoises I am sure someone on here will try to sex them for you.  Some just grow quicker and bigger than others and this might nt indicate anything at all about what sex they are yet.

The other thing I must mention is that not many people now think that a vivarium is suitable for tortoises, certainly not Mediterranean species such as Hermanns.  It can be very confusing because some websites and petshops etc still insist that a vivarium is necessary but it really isn't.  You might be worried about them being cold at night but they can easily deal with the kind of night time temperatures we are getting at the moment.

But please do stay on here as there are people with much more experience than me who will reply as well.  Jonathan

 

Re: Aggressive behaviour!
Posted: 08/08/2008 by tpgadmin

Click and drag me down to the editor Janie we're happy to have you here and yes you're doing the posting correctly.

I've just read Jonathan's reply to you and unless one tortoise has been pigging out on food more than the other one, as Jonathan says the larger one is possibly the female.  Are you able to take photos for us and we will try and sex them for you?  If so take one shot from above showing the carapace (top shell) and one from below showing the plastron.  Also one of the tail end too please.  Upload them to the members gallery.  You will need to re-size your pictures first and create yourself an album.  There are instructions for helping you do this.

It sounds very much as if they are reaching sexual maturity, how much do they both weigh and what is their length?  For the length measurement if you're not sure how to do this follow the instructions on weighing and measuring in the section 'The Tortoise' on this web site.

I don't see any need for you to take them to the vet if they are not injured and are otherwise well.  There may be no need to separate them either.  Try providing lots of places where the one that is the least dominant can escape to hide.

If your vivarium is a glass one you may wish to consider making a change over to something more suitable as Jonathan says it isn't the best environment for a hermanns tortoise.  Here's a couple of pictures of my 2 set ups for my hermanns.  The pen with the 2 tortoises in is a temporary quarantine pen and the 2 in there display the behaviour you describe.  There are 2 huts the female can hide in from the male when she feels the need.  As soon as their quarantine period is over they will be joining the other female and this will help remove some of the stress that a ratio of on male to one female can bring.

HTH

Helen

Re: Aggressive behaviour!
Posted: 08/08/2008 by janiels

Hi Jonathan

 

Thank you for your kind reply and good advice. Re: vivrium, I have turned the temp. right down and I only put them in there at night as I get worried about foxes etc. Do you think that's ok or would you still advise something else ? Also, I haven't yet hibernated them...that's another HUGE question for another day....so that's why I got the vivarium originally. I hate putting them in there-it's so lovely when they are outside.They are still nipping today, twice they knocked each other over so I ended up dividing the garden into 2 with plant pots..I am so worried they will stay on their backs. I will take some photos when my daughter gets back from her holiday (she has the camera!) and will post them as you suggest.

Thanks so much-I feel as if I have made new friends already-thank you!

Have a nice evening

Janie

Re: Aggressive behaviour!
Posted: 08/08/2008 by janiels

Hi Helen

Thank you for your kind reply and good advise. I hadn't realised vivariums weren't great-I got it as I haven't yet hiberated the tortoises and also I worry about leaving them out at night. Your hutches/hiding places look great-did you get them especially made? Oh, how I wish they could talk!!! This morning, they nipped and butted as soon as I put them tohether and knocek each other over straight away. I will look into it all at the weekend and see if I can devise some hidey holes as you suggest. Thanks for ideas re:photos-my daughter has our camera in France at the moment but will post some as soonas she gets back. Tis is a fab site and I have been made very welcome-thank you so much.

Best wishes

 

Janie

Re: Aggressive behaviour!
Posted: 08/08/2008 by Ozric

Hi Janie, I think we all find our Hermanns much prefer to be outside whenever possible.  You are right to be concerned about foxes, and there might  other threats like rats too at night.  If you are bringing them indoors for safety at night, then you could put them in an open cardboard box or some other container at night when they are resting. It doesn't have to be a vivarium as long as its safe and secure. 

On the site there is information about hibernation and if you decide to do that you can get great support here as its a worry for us all.  Jonathan

 

 

Re: Aggressive behaviour!
Posted: 08/08/2008 by tpgadmin

Yeah vivs don't provide a good micro-climate for tortoises so they can't thermoregulate properly, and neither do tortoises understand the concept of glass.  They try constantly to get through it - a bit like birds that always want to fly into glass Click and drag me down to the editor. On a positive note you don't appear to keep your tortoise in there for very long - so that's good.

Geoff made Fleur's house (kennel) and insulated it and the floor.  Fleur always puts herself to bed on a night and inside her house is a small heated bedroom area.  The night heat is on a thermostat and only comes on when the temps fall below 10.  Once Fleur has turned in for the night I drop the hatch down at the entrance to her house and this ensures she is secure from any would be predators.  My garden is very secure but if it wasn't then I would ensure the lid and hatch were locked during the night.  The cold frame in the picture with the 2 hermanns came from B & Q.

Are both your tortoises biting each other equally or is it one that is mainly the aggressor?

Helen

 

Re: Aggressive behaviour!
Posted: 08/11/2014 by stephenH

Hi Everyone 


Hope you can help, we have a Herman tortoise, we have had her for 13 months, when we got her we were sold a Viv and all the things that go with it, thermostat control the lot, after reading your information, we find that she should be kept outside all the time. Im confused what too do. Can you advise.

Steve

Re: Aggressive behaviour!
Posted: 16/07/2016 by 13-icla

Hello, I have just come across this forum and really need some advice. i have two tortoises and they are about 4 years old. One is much larger than the other and tries to bite the smaller tortoise, it has gotten so bad that it has even drawn blood... Shelly only bites when they are in their outside and never seems to fight when they are inside. What could you recommend doing to prevent anymore damage? 

Thank you

 

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