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Please help..advice needed
Posted: 21/06/2010 by TortTamer

Hi. I have a 3 year old Horsefield. He has free reign of the house as his home is on the floor and he comes and goes as he wants. However, about a year ago we rescued two elderly cats. Since then our tort has become aggressive and now will bite our feet, toes etc any chance he gets and constantly charges at the cats trying to bite them. Does anyone please have any idea how to curb this territorial, aggressive behaviour?

Re: Please help..advice needed
Posted: 21/06/2010 by janice

I dont know what others think, but I would say that it ought to be in a tort table where it will know its own space and have the right heating and lighting that it needs. If possible an outdoor area that is enclosed would also be beneficial. It will also be easier to keep clean.

Re: Please help..advice needed
Posted: 21/06/2010 by DavidWYork

Agree 100% with Janice. Not at all ideal conditions for a tortoise. Needs hot spots, shade, water, U/V light and a substrate to bury into if wanted. This toroise is stressed in my opinion. Yes he has lots of space, but no security or add ons for happy living. Also, this poses health risks to you and the cats which are real and can be serious. Take an hour or two to read posts on set ups, lots of great tips on this site...I learn new stuff all the time (even after 40 yrs of tort keeping), and find advice really helpful... David in York

Re: Please help..advice needed
Posted: 21/06/2010 by VivTPG

Hi Tort Tamer,  I know its probably the answer you were hoping for, but I agree with the other replies, he would be better in a tort table or outside in a secure pen, the aim is to try to replicate the wild as much as we can for them. Freedom of the house means they can eat 'bits' of the floor which can compact inside him, plus as David says the cats are probably stressing him as he know he has to 'get in first' and bite to protect himself.

Please let us know how you get on, as we all only want whats best for these lovely creatures! regards Vivienne

Re: Please help..advice needed
Posted: 22/06/2010 by TortTamer

Hi All, Firstly thak you for all your replies. I'm afraid that I wasn't quite clear enough in my post. The tortoise was here first, he has his own tort table, fully equipped with UV and heat lamps, hiding space etc. However the table is at floor level and for as long as he's been here he has been able to roam freely. He also just climbs into his table as and when he wants, for shelter, warmth, food, to hide etc. I'm afraid that it would now be cruel to raise the table and stop him. Is there no way that my pets can live together healthily and happily? Of course I don't want him to be stressed, I also fear that restricting him now will stress him further. Thanks for all your advice.

Re: Please help..advice needed
Posted: 22/06/2010 by TPGDave

Hi there

I'm afraid there is little that can be done to prevent what is entirely natural behaviour for an adolescent (I'm presuming male) tortoise. There are many written reports on solitary male tortoises imprinting on objects such as the owners feet, shoes, things at their level. In nature this behaviour would be worked out on other males and of course female tortoises.

This behaviour is hormonal but can also be seasonal, peaking in the spring and autumn.

Hope this helps to explain it, tortoises aren't aggressive animals on the whole but they are " wild" animal with none of their wild behaviour bred out of them like domesticated pets.

Re: Please help..advice needed
Posted: 22/06/2010 by TortTamer

Thank you for explaining that. I didn't realise that this is natural behaviour and i didn't factor in that he is indeed 'adolescent'. While I realise that a part of it must be territorial also, I would never want him to be stressed or upset. I'm not an expert by any means but I never thought he was stressed, he's absolutely as bold as brass and has no fear of the cats, or anyone else for that matter. He actually targets the older, fatter cat as he knows she can't run or jump out of the way as quickly as her male counterpart!

I value all advice given here...thank you everyone.

Re: Please help..advice needed
Posted: 24/06/2010 by insenceaddict

Just to add, my tortoises are all in big outdoor heated set ups with garden access and i have 2 that are toe biters, especially if you have painted toe nails! however, i do also agree that tortoises running around in houses like pet cats, really is not ideal.

Jacqui  Click and drag me down to the editor


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