Cherries, crabs and conventions

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Erimis

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So I went to a reptile convention yesterday. Was a bit disappointed- mostly snakes. Only 6 torts found- 2 pyramided sullys, a nice big male red foot, and 3 juvie cherries. I thought about getting another cherry but mine are way prettier than the ones at the show :D And their plastrons looked like they had shell rot over and over again- very rough and grayish.
I really didnt want to go home without buying something....and then I saw the hermit crabs. I had read on here that they can live with cherries, so I got two.
I dont want the crabs to make my cherries uncomfortable, they are between 5-10 months old, 60g-120g. The crabs are all over the place. So far I have seen 1 tort head bobbing and refused to come out of the hide (trapping the other cherries in!) The little crab crawled up on my biggest cherry and was grabbing onto her shell near her head- she freaked and took off to the big hide, the crab fell off.
Then I caught my shyest tort (Allegra's batman baby :p ) trying to bite the little crabs shell. Had the crab pushed up against a piece of wood- biting over and over but unable to do any damage. When noticed me watching- went back to hide and the crab came out of his shell and went into the wood hide.
So I am wondering what kinds of things should I look for to indicate either species is too stressed? How long should I give it for everyone to be comfortable? I have some critter keepers I can move the crabs to if needed but I am fascinated with them and would love to have some more and want them to have a large space.
Cant wait for the bigger Repticon in a few months! Maybe I'll find some nice torts ;) or crabs LOL
 

Mgridgaway

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I think reptile shows are often sort of disappointing for tort owners. We sorta live in this tortoiseforum bubble where everyone is crazy about torts, but compared to the rest of the reptile-lover world, we're a small niche. I don't know how many times I've heard "I'm so excited to go here" only to be followed up with "I only found 2 tortoises at the whole show" a few days later.

Regarding your hermit crabs, how big is your enclosure? It's important to give the torts and crabs lots of space so that they get away from each other. As for your other quandaries, I'll leave that to someone more experienced with the pairing.

Just out of curiosity, where are you located? I know Repticon comes to a lot of places, but I'm looking forward to it coming to Baltimore late next month. One of the presenters is a tortoise owner who'll be bringing in his adult Sulcata.
 

Erimis

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Im going to the shows in Denver. My enclosure is 48" long, I dont recall how wide right now. Am in process of making a new one which will double the width currently. There are plenty of hides, just went to check and cant see anybody right now.
Its actually good Im not into snakes or crested geckos- I would've bought a lot!
 

allegraf

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Madkins is one of the keepers that I know puts the two together, hopefully he will chime in. Glad to hear they are doing wonderful.
 

Madkins007

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Erimis said:
So I went to a reptile convention yesterday. Was a bit disappointed- mostly snakes. Only 6 torts found- 2 pyramided sullys, a nice big male red foot, and 3 juvie cherries. I thought about getting another cherry but mine are way prettier than the ones at the show :D And their plastrons looked like they had shell rot over and over again- very rough and grayish.
I really didnt want to go home without buying something....and then I saw the hermit crabs. I had read on here that they can live with cherries, so I got two.
I dont want the crabs to make my cherries uncomfortable, they are between 5-10 months old, 60g-120g. The crabs are all over the place. So far I have seen 1 tort head bobbing and refused to come out of the hide (trapping the other cherries in!) The little crab crawled up on my biggest cherry and was grabbing onto her shell near her head- she freaked and took off to the big hide, the crab fell off.
Then I caught my shyest tort (Allegra's batman baby :p ) trying to bite the little crabs shell. Had the crab pushed up against a piece of wood- biting over and over but unable to do any damage. When noticed me watching- went back to hide and the crab came out of his shell and went into the wood hide.
So I am wondering what kinds of things should I look for to indicate either species is too stressed? How long should I give it for everyone to be comfortable? I have some critter keepers I can move the crabs to if needed but I am fascinated with them and would love to have some more and want them to have a large space.
Cant wait for the bigger Repticon in a few months! Maybe I'll find some nice torts ;) or crabs LOL

How much space does everyone have?

I have seen a lot of gnawing on crab shells, but the crabs seemed to be OK once it stopped, and they get better at avoiding the torts. I rarely saw any crab on tortoise interaction.
 

Erimis

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I think they have plenty of space. All torts can fit in the moist hide, or can bury in moist substrate under plant cover and the drier side has 3 hides, and open space in the middle.
I just had horrible thoughts about the crabs terrorizing my cherries while they were trying to sleep! They must not be too disturbed- everyone ate today.
 

Madkins007

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Saying 'I think they have enough space' really does not help us know what is going on. How big is the habitat and the torts? you've probably said somewhere, but my memory is not so hot.
 

Erimis

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Its 48x12, by next month should have my new table built- 48x24, with a second story if hubby is up for it.
Torts are all under 4" between 60g and 120g. Crabs are small
 

Madkins007

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Thanks!

The European guidelines call for about 8 shell lengths by 4 shell lengths of the biggest tortoise for 1-2 tortoises, then add 10% for for 3-4, and 20% more for the 5th and each additional. For your 4" torts, this is about 32x16 for the first two, or about 512 square inches. #s 3 and 4 make it 632 square inches, and the last makes it about 758 square inches, or about 28x28". Your current space is about 576 square inches.

Understand that red-footeds are more tolerant of crowding than others, and if kept in a big outdoor pen much of the year can tolerate the winter space a bit more, but this is the big challenge with keeping tortoises- providing enough physical space for an animal that most of the time does not really seem to need it.

The reason I am bringing this up this way is that I always saw less interspecies interactions between the torts and crabs when they had plenty of space, which just gives the crabs more places to hide.

The new space will be a LOT better (1024 square inches), but you may want to think ahead to when they get bigger. I always find myself behind in building new spaces for my growing herd.
 
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