Does my Russian hate me?

Laura49

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I'm a first time tortoise owner, I got Norman off a buy and sell site about a year ago and the previous owner told me he was about 3 but she wasn't sure as she had bought him from the same site a year before that. Everything has been going great (I think) until about 2 weeks ago, now every time he sees me he runs ( and yes, I mean runs) at me with his mouth open, if my fingers are in getting his bowl or changing his water he bites me. And it's sore! What happened? What have I done wrong? Is it a time of year thing? Is it an age thing? Is he sick?
 

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CarolM

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I'm a first time tortoise owner, I got Norman off a buy and sell site about a year ago and the previous owner told me he was about 3 but she wasn't sure as she had bought him from the same site a year before that. Everything has been going great (I think) until about 2 weeks ago, now every time he sees me he runs ( and yes, I mean runs) at me with his mouth open, if my fingers are in getting his bowl or changing his water he bites me. And it's sore! What happened? What have I done wrong? Is it a time of year thing? Is it an age thing? Is he sick?
I cannot tell .you. but ask one of the more experienced breeders. @Will, @Tom, @YvonneG, @TidgysDad, @Bee62, @bambam
 

Bambam1989

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He doesn't HATE you. He hates that your in his territory. He has probably reached sexual maturity (probably a lot older than 3yrs) and feels like it is his duty to assert dominance over everything and drive potential competitors away.
You may try gently flipping him onto his back for a few seconds then flip him gently back right. This in theory would represent you asserting your own dominance. It may take several "flips" over time to make your point and it may not work at all..
Russians are known for being tenacious torts.

I always recommend hearing multiple opinions.

Is his beak chipped?
 

Bee62

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I agree with @Bambam1989
Can you post a pic of the tale of your tort ?
He is probably a matured male and his behavior is territorial. Russian tortoises are known for that.
 

tortoiseplanet

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@Bambam1989 may be totally correct, but he could also be associating you with food. When my Russians thought my fingers were food I let them bite me and after a few times they stopped because they learned I’m not food.
 

Laura49

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I'm a first time tortoise owner, I got Norman off a buy and sell site about a year ago and the previous owner told me he was about 3 but she wasn't sure as she had bought him from the same site a year before that. Everything has been going great (I think) until about 2 weeks ago, now every time he sees me he runs ( and yes, I mean runs) at me with his mouth open, if my fingers are in getting his bowl or changing his water he bites me. And it's sore! What happened? What have I done wrong? Is it a time of year thing? Is it an age thing? Is he sick?
@Bambam1989 may be totally correct, but he could also be associating you with food. When my Russians thought my fingers were food I let them bite me and after a few times they stopped because they learned I’m not food.
This is going to sound that like I'm a nutter, but he actually knows the difference between my fingers and food, he goes for the fingers every time.
 

Laura49

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I agree with @Bambam1989
Can you post a pic of the tale of your tort ?
He is probably a matured male and his behavior is territorial. Russian tortoises are known for that.
What sort of picture would you like? Normally I have tons! But I've taken them all off my phone cause I ran out of space, oops. He's very photogenic lmao
 

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Laura49

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He doesn't HATE you. He hates that your in his territory. He has probably reached sexual maturity (probably a lot older than 3yrs) and feels like it is his duty to assert dominance over everything and drive potential competitors away.
You may try gently flipping him onto his back for a few seconds then flip him gently back right. This in theory would represent you asserting your own dominance. It may take several "flips" over time to make your point and it may not work at all..
Russians are known for being tenacious torts.

I always recommend hearing multiple opinions.

Is his beak chipped?
Yes, he bit his dish and a bit broke off, but he seems fine, he's eating and biting away as normal.
I've only ever turned him over once cause YouTube said that if he could right himself quickly it showed that he was healthy but after what felt like a lifetime to me I righted him cause it looked so awful! I was scared I was hurting him. You sure it's ok for me to turn him over?
 

Bee62

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What sort of picture would you like? Normally I have tons! But I've taken them all off my phone cause I ran out of space, oops. He's very photogenic lmao
Hi, I want a pic from the underside ( plastron ) of your tortoise with the tail. Males have a longer and thicker tale than females.
 

Bambam1989

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Yes, he bit his dish and a bit broke off, but he seems fine, he's eating and biting away as normal.
I've only ever turned him over once cause YouTube said that if he could right himself quickly it showed that he was healthy but after what felt like a lifetime to me I righted him cause it looked so awful! I was scared I was hurting him. You sure it's ok for me to turn him over?
For short periods of time it is ok. Do so slowly and don't leave him there for very long since it does make it difficult to breath.
If you want us to verify that he is indeed a male, a good picture of the underside of his shell showing us his tale would be needed.
 

Laura49

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For short periods of time it is ok. Do so slowly and don't leave him there for very long since it does make it difficult to breath.
If you want us to verify that he is indeed a male, a good picture of the underside of his shell showing us his tale would be needed.
Ok brilliant! I'll do that. Can you tell his health from his shell? Or how old he actually is?
 

Tom

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lmao I nearly took the bait there to give you a run down of his diet to see if you were right hahahaha
Was it the smiley face that gave away the joke? :D

Some russians are just very territorial. The nice thing is: All you have to do is move your fingers out from in front of him, or move him somewhere else, and the problem won't exist anymore.
 

Cheryl Hills

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Give you some advice. Your tort should never be allowed to run on the floor. The temps are not right and he could get hurt or eat something and it could kill him. And, never let your dogs around him. All it takes is a second, they could bite him and kill him. There are many horror stories on here about this. Even when you “watch them closely”.
 

Laura49

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Give you some advice. Your tort should never be allowed to run on the floor. The temps are not right and he could get hurt or eat something and it could kill him. And, never let your dogs around him. All it takes is a second, they could bite him and kill him. There are many horror stories on here about this. Even when you “watch them closely”.
Oh ok! Good to know! He bangs on the sides of his tank to get out, so I always let him out to run about. I have a che on a clip and a clamp stand that I move so that it heats a spot for him if he cools down, when/if he goes to the heat I'll put him back in his enclosure.
 

TechnoCheese

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Oh ok! Good to know! He bangs on the sides of his tank to get out, so I always let him out to run about. I have a che on a clip and a clamp stand that I move so that it heats a spot for him if he cools down, when/if he goes to the heat I'll put him back in his enclosure.
They usually start banging on the walls when their enclosure is too small, they can see through it, or both. Letting them out lets them know that there’s a world out there, and they will stop at nothing to get to it.
Your tort needs a minimum enclosure size of 4x8 feet. Unless you have a huge, custom made tank, I doubt it’s big enough and that’s why he bangs against the walls.
Don’t let him out anymore. There is so much wrong that can and will happen.
 

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