Aldabra Hatchling Behavior - Burrowing

franz_see

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Hi,

I actually have 2 questions, but I'll separate them into two threads.

Background: After 2 years of raising sulcata hatchlings and 1 year of raising indian star hatchlings, my wife and I have finally got our first Aldabra hatchling. We got ours just yesterday :) Needless to say, we're very new to this. We only have theoretical knowledge of caring for Aldabras but this is our first hands on experience.

One of the things we noticed though is that our Aldabra (named Watu), seems to like to burrow. We're not really surprised at that because even our stars burrow if they can. What's surprising though is that our Aldabra has burrowed about 2" deep into his coco earth. Considering that he's just 4" long, that's deeper than any of our tortoises including our sullies!

Our question is - is this normal? Do they really burrow that deep?

Note: needless to say, we've already reduced the amount of substrate in his enclosure. Still very curious though about this behavior.

Thoughts?

Thanks!
 

Yvonne G

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Mine didn't burrow, so I have no idea about that.
 

Tom

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Few of us here have any Aldabra tortoise experience, and even fewer have experience raising baby Aldabras. I have very little and that is mostly with other people's larger ones. I have friends that own them.

I can say that babies of every other species I've raised will dig in to their substrate in some circumstances. Even leopards which don't typically dig or burrow at all.
 

tglazie

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Tom makes a good point. I've kept many juveniles who loved to burrow. Then, as they grew older, they stopped or lessened the frequency of this behavior. I'm also no expert in Aldabras, but whether I was dealing with my uncle's leopards and redfoots, or my own baby marginated tortoises, all of them burrowed a great deal when they were younger and engaged in much less of this activity as they grew older. Even among the adults, I find they can go through phases. Graecus, my oldest Turkish ibera tortoise, used to burrow quite extensively when I was younger, but now he rarely does. Perhaps this is due to the fact that I started using insulated shelters for my animals over the past two decades, but every now and then, Graecus decides to bed down in a pile of leaf litter and soil rather than his insulated house. Compare this with my biggest marginated tortoise Gino who never burrows, ever. When he was a juvenile, he would always sleep in a shelter. Now, it is amusing, given that I recently enlarged his enclosure to forty five feet long, and his enclosure runs adjacent to my house, near the barbecue pit. I have a black cover for the grill, and I'm not always the most reliable person at putting the cover back on after the pit cools, which is usually in the evening. On a number of occasions, I've draped this cover over the cinder block wall where it falls into Gino's enclosure, and he will crawl beneath it and sleep there. Any time the cats knock over a bus tub that I use to carry Gino into the indoor enclosures on cold nights, he will often shove himself beneath the tub, using it as a hiding space. Some days he will simply fall asleep at the easternmost fence, dozing off in the open after sunset. Out of all my tortoises, he's the one I most often have to put back into his shelter come nightfall, though interestingly, he has put himself away every night this past week (which, I think, is the longest stretch he's done this all year). This is especially true when it comes to rain. Even if it's storming at two in the morning, Gino will emerge from his shelter to walk about the rain.

Apologies, I really veered off track, as I'm prone to do. However, keep an eye on this, but to my mind, this behavior doesn't seem like a red flag, so long as humidity is high, temperatures stable, and all the other things that go with proper baby tortoise care.

T.G.
 

franz_see

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@Tom , @tglazie : I agree. I did expect some digging. The part that was curious was how much he dug under. My wife and I panicked when we couldnt find him in his enclosure. We thought he somehow got out! :) But after digging through the substrate, there he was - two inches under the coco earth :)

I guess I just didnt expect an aldabra to be better at burrowing than my sullies :)
 
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Tom

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Apologies, I really veered off track, as I'm prone to do.

Your off track veerings are usually filled with useful and pertinent insight. I find them quite helpful and entertaining too.

Please veer more often.
 

HI Tortoise Rescue

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Our juveniles didn't burrow, but they sure seemed to enjoy piling up their coir bedding! They didn't try to climb under the piles, & just slept in the cleared areas.

Ken
 

Fredkas

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Oh @franz_see you got an aldabra now. i am so envy. i want one but still figure out all the environment i can give to him when he grows become a giant. i have sulcata, and i can't let go my sulcata. and i don't know whether i have room enough for both of them, or maybe bunch of them.
 

Kelley Smith

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I have 2 juvenile Aldabras (apprx. 2-1/2 years old.) They are my first experience with the species, so I'm far from any kind of expert. Late last year, the large one dug a hole in the corner of their hide about 2-3 inches deep and has claimed it as his spot. He will usually keep pushing on the other one until it moves out that spot. Some days he let's the other one have it. I think it's become a game for them to see who gets the hole first. They are able dig more holes, but it must not have the allure of that particular hole.
I'm still learning what they have to teach me.
 
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