Constantly running for me/Trying to bite?

Jackk.2003x

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Its my first time posting so sorry If i mess up.

I have a hermann's tortoise Named charlie, he is 7 years old and i got him after My parents partner moved in. Before, Charlie didnt get alot of attention, Where as I give him alot due to alot of spare time, And very recently, He has been getting more and more aggressive towards me. Before he came towards me but in the last 2 days he has been wriggling alot to get to me, Nodding his head a lot, If i place him on a surface where my hand is he will sprint extremely fast along the table going for my hand, Or my face, Anything that is me or anyone else, Charlies owner said that he had never been this active. If I place him back into his enclosure he will climb over all his rocks ect and basically go crazy trying to get to me. I know its because he thinks im food, I appreciate that but he is getting more and more aggressive and faster, Constantly opening his mouth towards me, He bit His old owner and nearly got me at one point. Like I said, I know this is normal for him to accociate me with food, But this much? I cant pick him up or even talk to him without him going crazy, Only if hes just woken up, But this bad? Is this level normal and is there anything at all I can do to simmer him down in terms of how aggressive he is towards me?
 

Minority2

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A tortoise aggressively attempting to bite an owner's face and feet may possibly be a different matter. This sounds more like defensive, territorial behavior to me.

1. Do you often take your tortoise out of their enclosure for handling? How long do these events go for? Examples and descriptions of what you would typical do would be helpful.

2. When you saying nodding head, do you mean ducking back into it's shell and hissing or raising his neck up and down nodding?
 

Jackk.2003x

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A tortoise aggressively attempting to bite an owner's face and feet may possibly be a different matter. This sounds more like defensive, territorial behavior to me.

1. Do you often take your tortoise out of their enclosure for handling? How long do these events go for? Examples and descriptions of what you would typical do would be helpful.

2. When you saying nodding head, do you mean ducking back into it's shell and hissing or raising his neck up and down nodding?


I take him out alot, At least once a day, Usually Il pick him up, Place him on my chest and talk to him, Supporting his legs then put him down on my bed or on my floor, sometimes My mum will hold him ect. But quite alot.

As for the nodding he sticks his head right out and raises his head up and down, He will stop but then continue if I nod back.
 

Minority2

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I take him out alot, At least once a day, Usually Il pick him up, Place him on my chest and talk to him, Supporting his legs then put him down on my bed or on my floor, sometimes My mum will hold him ect. But quite alot.

As for the nodding he sticks his head right out and raises his head up and down, He will stop but then continue if I nod back.

1. How long has it been since you've had your tortoise? And has this level of contact always been going on?

2. How long is your tortoise usually out of their heated enclosure when you have one of these indoor outings?

The nodding does sound aggressive. Tortoises usually do this type of nodding to signal an agreement to a fight. I can't say for certain because there is no actual video recording of this to back up your claims but your description sounds awfully similar to the common tortoise practice I have mentioned.

Personal opinion here, I believe all the added attention may have annoyed your tortoise to the point where he or she is tired of it and has chosen to defend themselves. There might be some unwanted touchings.

I suggest dialing any non-essential (occasional soakings for adult tortoises are essential) handling down for a while to allow your tortoise to de-stress and get more comfortable in their environment.

3. What are the dimensions of the enclosure you are housing your tortoise in?

Pictures of your enclosure, light, and heating fixtures will be most helpful to see if there are any unsafe materials that require changing.
 

Jackk.2003x

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1. How long has it been since you've had your tortoise? And has this level of contact always been going on?

2. How long is your tortoise usually out of their heated enclosure when you have one of these indoor outings?

The nodding does sound aggressive. Tortoises usually do this type of nodding to signal an agreement to a fight. I can't say for certain because there is no actual video recording of this to back up your claims but your description sounds awfully similar to the common tortoise practice I have mentioned.

Personal opinion here, I believe all the added attention may have annoyed your tortoise to the point where he or she is tired of it and has chosen to defend themselves. There might be some unwanted touchings.

I suggest dialing any non-essential (occasional soakings for adult tortoises are essential) handling down for a while to allow your tortoise to de-stress and get more comfortable in their environment.

3. What are the dimensions of the enclosure you are housing your tortoise in?

Pictures of your enclosure, light, and heating fixtures will be most helpful to see if there are any unsafe materials that require changing.


Ive had him just over a month nearly 2 ish? Ive always been quite handling with him, IL tone it down. I would show a video of the nodding but he's asleep right now and i dont have any good videos of it. Not sure of the dimentions, but heres a few images. (its a bit messy right now)

20181113_192329.jpg 20181113_192333.jpg 20181113_192335.jpg
 
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JoesMum

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Tortoises are happiest with all 4 feet on the floor. They aren't social creatures, indeed they're very territorial, and picking him up and placing him on your chest is stressing him. They don't want cuddles; they'd far rather be left alone.

Your enclosure is very dry. The substrate needs to be an earthy type such as coco coir that can be mixed with water so all of it is evenly damp right to the bottom and into the corners. The substrate should be at least 3 inches (8cm) deep.

It looks like your basking bulb is at an angle. It should hang vertically to be effective with a temperature of 35-37C/95-100F directly underneath

I recommend you read the TFO care guides, if you haven’t already, and compare them with your setup.

They're written by species experts working hard to correct the outdated information widely available on the internet and from pet stores and, sadly, from some breeders and vets too.

Beginner Mistakes
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes.45180/

Hermann’s Care
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/sticky-hermanns-tortoise-care-sheet-updated.101410/
 

Yvonne G

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It sounds to me as if Charlie, being male, is either challenging you to get out of his space, or is thinking he'd like to breed. Tortoises are territorial, and the scrappy little mediterranean species are particularly aggressive to other "tortoises" in their area.

When a tortoise nods his head at another 'tortoise' (read you), it means they are challenging you to a fight. Males also nod their head at female tortoises. They use this as a "scary" means of intimidation towards the female.
 

Cathie G

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I know I'm being ridiculous but my totally vegetarian tortoise would bite me. I use herbal shower gels, shampoos, everything herbal. I knew if he bit anybody it would be me. He tried once but I was watching. Maybe your cologne or shaving cream smells edible and that's why he/she is getting excited and drawn to you. Plus what Yvonne said about the odor and the bobbing head being an instinctive behavior.
 

TammyJ

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My omnivorous Redfoot tortoises bite my shoes and I'm pretty sure that if I died in the pen, they would immediately eat as much of me as they can.
Not because they're mean.
Just because they're tortoises.;)
Well now, there's an arresting image. But yes, they certainly will taste just about anything moving (or not).
 

TammyJ

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ahhh...right. where were we? We were discussing a rather troubling instance of aggression in the OP's tortoise.
I agree with those who said to leave it alone more and have less contact and less roaming about where the humans live. Also I would add more variety to the diet and make sure it is getting all it needs nutrition/calcium wise.
 

TammyJ

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I also think the enclosure looks super dry. He may be dehydrated and I would give him really long mandatory daily soaks and increase the humidity in the enclosure by covering it almost completely and putting in a larger water dish.
 
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