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Posted: 19/04/2011 by jodiepackham

Dear All,


I’m hoping someone out there can help me! (well actually my Nan) she has a tortoise in her garden, she has had him for years, she thinks he is about 50 years old (but she’s not sure) for the past couple of years he has become a real ‘pest’ as she would put it...She can’t go in the garden now without being chased by the tortoise and then he continually ‘bashes’ at her feet! He never gives up and my Nan is 81 this year and he is going to trip her up one of these days she can’t hang the washing out without being attacked!....What can we do? Does he need a mate? My Nan has to resort to shutting him away (until he climbs out) he is a very lively chap and she is getting very tired of him... What can we do?


Thanks if you have any advice. I have attached a photo of him, my Nan seems to think he came from Cyprus? And he has spurs on his back legs underneath.


Kind Regards


Jodie Packham

Posted: 19/04/2011 by VivTPG

Hi Jodie, I am checking with my colleagues for a definite ID of the tort.

I dont think it would be a good idea to get another tort to go with him, as he may pester the other tort and cause it stress, or your nan could have a bigger problem having to separate them or they could both start bashing her feet.

Can a large area of the garden be fenced off with picket fencing or large log roll, to enclose him?  Thats what I have done with mine.

The alternative is to rehome him which seems a shame as your nan has had him so long.

I will get back to you on the id. Regards Vivienne

Posted: 19/04/2011 by VivTPG

Hi Jodie, my colleagues have confirmed he's a N. African Spur-Thighed Tortoise, Testudo Graeca Graeca.

Let us know how you get on.

Regards Vivienne

Posted: 20/04/2011 by jodiepackham


thanks for your post, do we know the reason he would start this behavior? it seems strange he would be fine for so many years and the past tow years he does this.... i think my Nan is fed up with it now and doesn't really have an area she can fence off. If she were to re-home him he would do the same to the next people and then she wouldn't know where he would end up....

Posted: 20/04/2011 by VivTPG

Hi Jodie, it is completely natural behaviour for torts to do this, a couple of mine spot me in their pens and bomb over.  Its part of their mating ritual, they would do this to other torts, and if there are no other torts us humans will do!  Try putting a football in the pen, he might try bashing into that!

But as you say, he is likely to do it at another home, or if a home with other torts is found for him he will do it to the other torts which is only natural.  But to solve it, he really does need to be fenced off, so he cant get to your nan!  Whereabouts are you based?

Regards Vivienne

Posted: 21/04/2011 by VivTPG

Hi Jodie,

Kevin Eatwell the Vet that helps us out, has sent the following message,


there is a new hormone implant which works well to settle
down randy males in my limited experience thus far

your vet could discuss the options with you


Kevin Eatwell BVSc (hons) DZooMed (Reptilian) Dip ECZM
(Herp) MRCVS Lecturer in Exotic Animal and Wildlife Medicine

Jodie, it would be worth you speaking to your local tortoise vet, this may stop him pestering your nan.

Regards Vivienne

Posted: 22/04/2011 by marylittlejohn76

Hi Jodie,

I have exactally the same problem with my tortoise. He is at least 50 yrs old and was found in the street by my nans neighbour years ago. No one claimed him so my nan took him on up until about 9 years ago, she then passed him on to me as he was too much of a handful doing the same things you decribe, bashing constantly at her feet and almost tripped her up when she was in the garden hanging out washing, sounds like we are talking about the same tortoise! He is also a Mediteranean Spur Thigh. We also have another spur thigh (male) and they cannot be left alone together as they both bite and bash each other, so i keep them in seperate areas in the garden. Can be a real handful but if your nan can give him a seperate area he can graze in like a fenced area which he cannot see out at the sides he will be less likely to climb. My tortoise still dashes over if he see's me, constantly bashing my feet, so annoying when you want to relax in the garden. If there is a solution then fantastic, please let me know also.

All the best


Posted: 26/04/2011 by jodiepackham

Hi Everyone,


thanks for all your support! My nan has now given me the tort which im very happy about as always had them when I was younger! He is now in my garden sunny him self in the blue bells! he has eaten loads!! I have picked him lots of dandy's and he has eaten the lot! as well as an odd strawberry and letuce! certainly has an appretite which is great.

I have a south facing garden and we have gad lovely weather but wondering If i should get him a hutch... my nan just kept him in the garden but i dont want him getting cold and looks like the weather is due to change.

he has never had a heat lamp but I suppose I could try and set one up in the garge?




Posted: 26/04/2011 by VivTPG

Hi Jodie, I'm glad to hear your nan's problem is sorted.

Please do not let him eat any blue bells these are poisoness, please see this link to bluebells on 'thetortoisetable' website

Here is a link to the spurthigh care sheet

It is a good idea to get him a hutch to go in to shelter, or as you say in the garage with a lamp for warmth on cooler days. 

Regards Vivienne 


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