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Male and Female Russian together?

Discussion in 'Russian tortoises' started by ehopkins12, Feb 12, 2010.

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  1. ehopkins12

    ehopkins12 New Member

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    Hi there everyone, I am going to be getting a new Russian tortoise soon, I have one male right now and my plan was to keep it simple and just get another male. But today my girlfriend and I went to a local Petsmart to see the Russian there and absolutely loved a female they had there. She was energetic and seemed to love attention, very outgoing alert and healthy. They said they have had her for 4 months with no problems, she has been eating good and has stayed active since arrival. My question is can I get this female and house it comfortably with my male? I've read that the male can get a little aggressive if there is only one female. So I was looking for some opinions, particularly from someone who has a male and female together or has in the past. Also mating would be a concern. If they are together is there a chance they will mate? (that would be a large problem for me)Or is that triggered by hibernation? Any input is much appreciated! Thank you!
  2. Meg90

    Meg90 Active Member

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    What about the 6 month quarantine period for new animals?? You should not even house them together right away, she could make your boy very sick, very easily, considering as all petstore tortoises are wild caught.

    There is no clue as to how they will react, but Russians are notoriously brutal fighters. They break the skin, and bloody their victims.

    One tortoise has to be dominant. I will tell you that right now. Doesn't matter WHAT the species is, someone, no matter what the sex is always in charge. I had two female geckos in the same tank for months before a problem developed, and the fast rule of that species is that girls do fine in groups. But nightly attacks of biting, and holding on showed that not every rule works for each individual animal.


    If you want another tortoise, go for it. I have multiples myself, but everyone is seperate. Be prepared if things go badly, to set up an equally large enclosure, and equip it with all the essentials--including the 50$ UVB bulb.

    That's the problems with torts. They are expensive to set up.

    Also, M/F pairs will mate. Even if the female is unwilling, the male will harry her non stop since they are in such close quarters. Her stress level will go up no matter what, as she becomes gravid. Then you have eggs to deal with--you will need to provide her with enough calcium, and make sure she passes the eggs and does not become egg-bound and die. Its not a fool proof process, and a vet trip and a shot of oxytocin would not be cheap.

    There is alot of hassel when putting any two animals together--especially a pair. Make sure you think it over.
  3. terracolson

    terracolson New Member

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    Male and male is worse than male and female - Imo

    You will have a constant battle on your hands... I have a male russian that drives me insane with his aggression!
  4. chadk

    chadk New Member

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    I have a male and female together, and the male is a little agressive, but nothing too bad - no blood drawn... I may end up with another female as some point - 1 male to 2 females is a better ratio that 1:1, so the male isn't bothering the same female tort all day... Also, provide a larger space, plants and things to break up line of sight, and more then one hide and basking area...
  5. ehopkins12

    ehopkins12 New Member

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    Does your male try to mate with the female? My table is fairly large right now. should be plenty of room, plants and all as well. My male I have now is fairly shy...I don't know if that makes a difference in aggression. The female i'm looking at is not. she is very willing to be pet and is very outgoing acting, not sure if thats going to make a difference either but just giving you guys as much info as possible! :)[hr]
    never said I would house them together right away...they will be separate...but i will not be purchasing a $50 basking bulb.
  6. terracolson

    terracolson New Member

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    My male didnt show aggression till he had another russian! To be honest he NEVER stops chasing the other male or female i have, he doesnt care the sex!! He just wants action!! male or female!

    My younger male doesnt bother my older female and my older female is a lump, she does nothing!

    All i can say is be prepared to separate them if you need to
  7. Nay

    Nay New Member

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    ehopkins12,
    All I can tell you is my experience with Russians, which is limited. I had a male for a year, someone gave me a female.Most likely WC. I did put them together and they were together for about 7 yrs or so. They seemed well established adults. They never had a problem and they were times he would chase her around. Never was there a question of her being bred.I never hibernated them until I got very brave and that following summer she laid her first clutch. (I had placed them in a new home with someone on this forum just that spring) I never knew if they hatched.
    You just never know, but as someone said be prepared.
    Good Luck Russians are so cool, sometimes I have regrets.(About getting rid of them)
    Na
  8. ehopkins12

    ehopkins12 New Member

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    well, sounds to me like it pretty much differs from tortoise to tortoise. You guys also need to keep in mind that this summer they will both be kept in a spacious outdoor enclosure. I think i'm gonna go ahead and do it,l Ill be sure to let you guys know how they get along after the quarantine period! thanks for the input!
  9. Jacqui

    Jacqui Out living in my yard.... Staff Member

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    My experience with the Russians have so far been...

    When I first got them I bought a single male. I had him for months, maybe a year before I came across a female whom I decided needed to be taken out of the pet shop. I housed those two together for months before I ended up getting another female.

    That male was fine alone. Once the female was put in, he also behaved well. Neither one became overtly dominant or bothered the other one. Their enclosure was not large, nor heavily planted and only had one hide.

    Now I have 11 that live together. Summers are spent in a large outside heavily planted enclosure, so no issues. Winters I use to keep the males in one group and the females in another. I never had issues.

    Others folks have had issues and that should be expected ANY time any two or more animla live together (be they Russian, Leopards, or humans. :D) So, if you get a second one, be ready to have to house them apart. Should be okay, because your going to need to have the second animal housed apart for quarantine any how.

    Keep in mind, a female, even if she has and will never be with a male, may produce eggs and have egg laying issues. Because of that and you not wanting eggs, I would vote trying another male. Remember too, that not every female/male combo ever even produce eggs. That you can simply toss the eggs, if they do happen and you truly don't want to deal with them (or give the eggs to somebody near who would love the chance to try to hatch them).

    I myself, if thinking of getting this for me, would go with the female. Sounds like you have found one you really like and she appears healthy. I myself do keep all of my animals when possible in groups, preferring m/f groups and with one male/two females being my top choice.

    Also hibernation is NOT needed for them to lay fertile eggs.
  10. ehopkins12

    ehopkins12 New Member

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    sounds good! ill pick her up soon then :) I am still a little nervous about eggs. If it did happen i probably wouldn't be able to toss them...id have to just cross that bridge if it came. but yea! I think im gonna go for it! we'll see what happens!
  11. -ryan-

    -ryan- New Member

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    Right now I have 1.4.1.3 russians (three eggs in the incubator). I don't have them all together communally yet, but I have had my 1.2 group put together for the past three years with little aggression. The only times I notice biting is when the male is trying to mate with the females or when they are eating too close to each other. Never anything serious though. It is one of those things that you have to monitor closely. I have started introducing the third female into the group, and the fourth female will be introduced in another year or so (she's over 6" but still very young). I am predicting that the hatchling I am hanging on to is going to be a male, and in that case I am going to see how he gets along with the other male once he is big enough.

    The biggest learning curve for me was figuring out how to get the females to lay their eggs indoors. I tried using nest boxes in the enclosure, outside of the enclosure, heated in various manners, etc. but to no avail. Then I moved them into an enclosure that would hold 8-9" of dirt and in less than 24 hours I was digging up my first clutch of eggs. Since then I have gotten dozens of eggs over the past three years, mostly from my largest female, but I have only hatched five (one initially three years ago, then recently I have hatched the last four eggs they have laid... here's hoping that the three in the incubator will follow suit!).

    I keep mine indoors all year round and don't hibernate them, and they breed and lay eggs all year round. If you keep a male and a female together they are going to breed, and if they are healthy they will lay eggs (if you can provide them with enough dirt to build a nest). This is something you should realize before you go into it. We need more CB russians in the market, so I think it is good when people with russians attempt breeding them, but just be ready! :)

    Good luck and let us know what you end up doing!
  12. TortoiseMD

    TortoiseMD New Member

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    I have 2.12 (I don't remember the accurate count) Russians that I keep outdoors, I had them for over 3 years, always housed together with no issues, you will see some aggression from the males during spring, but that's only a natural breeding behavior ( I guess my 2 males are too busy mating with the 12 females and got no time to fight)
  13. GBtortoises

    GBtortoises Active Member

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    Speaking only of Russian and Northern Mediterranean Testudo species:

    Males will always display some degree of territorial ownership when another male is introduced. The degree of aggression varies from animal to animal.

    I never seen a situation where a female is the dominant leader of a group with one exception-When it is just a group of females with no male present at all. After a period of time a dominant female may emerge and actually act very much like a male in every way. Even ramming, biting and constantly mounting. Once a male is introduced to this group he goes for the dominant female and mounts her almost every single time.

    Females of some of the above species will often become temporarily dominant even with a male present, when getting ready to nest or want to be bred. They will act like a male in every way, for a short period of time. They will often become aggressive when they have picked out a nesting site in order to keep other females from it. Some are okay with another female nesting in her general area, some are not. Typically, the "dominant" female of the group is not.

    When keeping a male and female together on a regular basis you may experience different levels of aggression at different times of the year, different seasons. For the most part they will co-habitat fine once the initial introduction period has been gone through. But it always bears watching a dominant male for signs of increased aggression so that his cage mates do not become injured.
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