Aggression.

Tyanna

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Welcome to the wonderful world of russian tortoises! :)

The only way to see if they are going to get along is to put them together and see what happens. Hopefully nobody loses an eye or gets to badly damaged. Putting them all out together in a large well planted outdoor enclosure will usually help. There is enough distraction and movement from other tortoises and the great outdoors to occupy their minds with things other than killing any other tortoise in sight. Sometimes they just won't get a long no matter what you do. Introducing them in spring, when hormones are at their highest, is not usually a good idea. On the other hand that is when the smaller males will feel most dominant and that might beat the females into submission, so to speak. Mixing russians is always dicey. Heck normal breeding activities for them can get pretty rough sometimes.

Thanks Tom. It kind of shocked me for a minute. I couldn't believe she did that! Lol! Well I guess once they get to be outside together, we will see. Until then..no more meeting. :p
 

Tom

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What do you think about breeding a less aggressive toward us with another less aggressive toward us to get less aggressive offspring? is that even feasible? not mixing breeds but the same breed just less aggressive individuals in that breed.

Because of how long it takes tortoises to mature and reproduce, any definitive answer to this would literally take a human lifetime to achieve. Having admitted that, I HAVE seen evidence of personalities passed down into my sulcata offspring. For example: It is very rare for a female sulcata to be aggressive or combative at all. I've only seen it once. My Daisy. She wasn't a little irritated at the presence of other tortoises in her territory, she was trying to kill them. Her father was literally a tortoise assassin. Her father killed at least 3 other males that I know of. None of my other females raised in the same enclosures under the same circumstances have ever showed one hint of aggression ever. Another example: Scooter is a very outgoing, active male. Very "alpha", if you will. Its why I chose him as a hatchling. Most of his babies exhibited this same sort of gregariousness. His brother, Bert, is a much more laid back guy, and his babies tend to exhibit more of this behavior.
 

Tom

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Libel & slander , Ceasar will be most offended , the only aggression he has ever shown is in his amorous affair with his paramour/ paramouress,Reeva. There is still a question mark about his/her sex. If one ignores the other they have fun chasing, but they are oblivious to all the other torts.

Understand something. Please. Chasing is not "fun" for tortoises. It is territorial aggression. The one being chased is not having fun. It is terrified and looking for an escape. The one chasing is frustrated that the perceived interloper will not get the heck out of its territory. Stressful for both animals.
 

Tom

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Perhaps my herd are an exception to the rule , seeing they are all related & have been together since hatching. A stranger in their midst might bring out their aggressive side. Up till now all is peaceful & quiet. The temp has dropped to about 20*c & all are tucked up snug in their houses. The hatchlings come out at around 11 am to have a feed , then they hide away again till next day.

Let me clarify a bit. Generally, Greeks are a pretty peaceful bunch and get along well. Of course, a male in springtime right after hibernation might be a bit hopped up on hormones, but that tends to be a temporary thing. However, I occasionally come across what I refer to as a "Supermale" greek. These tortoises have their hormones in overdrive 24/7. They march around their enclosure looking for a fight all day long. Step into the enclosure and your shoe will immediately come under a vicious attack with ramming and biting. If seen this more in greeks than any other species, even though Greeks are typically more "reserved" in their behavior. DTs do it occasionally too.

Its a phenomenon that has always interested me.
 

Team Gomberg

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4x24 or even maybe larger.

Aim for more, much, MUCH more! My enclosure was a 6'x20' and IMO way too small for a 1:3 group. Even if it's heavily planted and overgrown (mine was) they eat it so fast that's is fairly barren in no time.

After the Russians were gone, I removed all plants, turned up the soil and waited a little over 4 months before laying down new dirt and sowing new seeds. This 6'x20' plot was given new fencing along with the new makeover and housed 3 juvenile leopards. They did fine in that space and didn't eat it down to nothing...in fact, I had to regularly trim back the growth.

I share that to say this.. same pen, different species. Worked fine "space wise" for 3 male leopards but did NOT work out with 1:3 Russians and later just the 3 female Russians.
Worked fine feeding 3 juvenile leopards with plenty of extra food and thick growth for cover/hiding but did NOT work out to feed 3 to 4 Russians. They ate it all down which lost valuable hiding space and sight barriers plus I regularly had to supplement feeding.
Some say Russians don't eat grass...all 4 of mine did, down to the roots.

I don't always mean to come across negative or like I'm discouraging you, I promise ;) I'm trying to share my real life example so that you (and others reading along) can get a good idea of what you might face.
 

Tyanna

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Aim for more, much, MUCH more! My enclosure was a 6'x20' and IMO way too small for a 1:3 group. Even if it's heavily planted and overgrown (mine was) they eat it so fast that's is fairly barren in no time.

After the Russians were gone, I removed all plants, turned up the soil and waited a little over 4 months before laying down new dirt and sowing new seeds. This 6'x20' plot was given new fencing along with the new makeover and housed 3 juvenile leopards. They did fine in that space and didn't eat it down to nothing...in fact, I had to regularly trim back the growth.

I share that to say this.. same pen, different species. Worked fine "space wise" for 3 male leopards but did NOT work out with 1:3 Russians and later just the 3 female Russians.
Worked fine feeding 3 juvenile leopards with plenty of extra food and thick growth for cover/hiding but did NOT work out to feed 3 to 4 Russians. They ate it all down which lost valuable hiding space and sight barriers plus I regularly had to supplement feeding.
Some say Russians don't eat grass...all 4 of mine did, down to the roots.

I don't always mean to come across negative or like I'm discouraging you, I promise ;) I'm trying to share my real life example so that you (and others reading along) can get a good idea of what you might face.

I was thinking at the beginning it would probably only house 1:2 Russians, to start. Also, 4x24 was bare minimum, I haven't even started planning with the yard space, etc. I just know FOR SURE 4x24 can be done. I really appreciate all your advice and seeing how things worked for you. You are not discouraging or anything. I very much like hearing how things worked for a number of different people.
 

puffy137

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How old are they? I would expect that there would be aggression eventually, I don't think being related matters to a tortoise :)
I think it might be something to do with them being related & all having the same basic smell . I believe sometimes smells can make them organisms aggressive , look at the reaction of human beings to nasty smells, could be just more pronounced in tortoises.:) Oh my babies emerged from underground in July 2014. so they are about 6 months old , They emerged with no sign of yolk sacks , so they might be even older,
 

WithLisa

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Oh my babies emerged from underground in July 2014. so they are about 6 months old
They are still babys, it's pretty normal for them to live together peacefully. With a bit of luck, you can keep them together without problems for maybe 5 years, but they will most likely start to show their aggressive side when they reach sexual maturity. ;)
 

puffy137

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They are still babys, it's pretty normal for them to live together peacefully. With a bit of luck, you can keep them together without problems for maybe 5 years, but they will most likely start to show their aggressive side when they reach sexual maturity. ;)
Well I have males & females of various ages , 13 adults .& the 12 babies. 25 altogether. No abnormal aggression , only some chasing during mating rituals .
 

Tom

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Well I have males & females of various ages , 13 adults .& the 12 babies. 25 altogether. No abnormal aggression , only some chasing during mating rituals .

Typically larger groups do just fine together.

How big is the enclosure with 25 tortoises in it? You have small babies living with adults?
 

puffy137

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Typically larger groups do just fine together.

How big is the enclosure with 25 tortoises in it? You have small babies living with adults?
Yes they all live together. Their enclosure is about 15 meters x 1 1/2. It runs along the side of the house. If they produce more in the summer I will extend it even more & make it longer.
 

puffy137

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They are still babys, it's pretty normal for them to live together peacefully. With a bit of luck, you can keep them together without problems for maybe 5 years, but they will most likely start to show their aggressive side when they reach sexual maturity. ;)
Last summer before the 12 babies emerged.


20140314_120457.jpg
 
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WithLisa

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Nice herd! :D
What is the sex ratio?
I know it happens in the wild too, but won't they get problems caused by inbreeding?
 

puffy137

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Nice herd! :D
What is the sex ratio?
I know it happens in the wild too, but won't they get problems caused by inbreeding?
There are 5 females whose gender I am sure of, one other that I 'm not sure of , she is chased by a male Ceasar constantly & if he ignores her she bites & chases him . Then there are 7 males. Inbreeding did cross my mind , but so far it seems to be alright. They are all descendants of 4 babies bought a couple of years apart. 2 in 1992 & 2 more in around 1994 0r 5. If memory serves I bought each for around 3 dollars each .
 
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