Female attacking Male?

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theguy67

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I have had 2 red foots for over 10 years now. Just this year, I bought them a mate, and had encountered some puzzling issues. First off, the 2 females I have came from the same clutch. Today, one is slightly larger than the other, but I blame competition as they have been housed together their entire life.

The new male actively seeks out one of the females, while she appears to void him until they meet, then they exchange head movements. The other female approaches him and attempts to bite his head (separate occasion). I am confused as she LOOKS like a female, even compared to the other female and male. Small tail, smooth carapace, no hour-glass figure, etc. The 2 females look identical except for size (one 8 inch, other 9) I have only seen him push her (not ramming) once as he wanted to get away. I am going to separate them until they calm down for now.

Just wondering if this is normal behavior even for a female? This seems to be male behavior to me. Perhaps its just an initial meeting behavior? I was going to take a picture of her, but she had already turned in for the night.
 

Baoh

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Are they otherwise unharmed?

Take photos of all three side by side. A ventral pic and a dorsal pic.

One could be a male, but it could just have its own concept of how stuff goes and has decided a new animal causes ripples in her pond. I have (had; one has been sold for other awesome reasons) two dominant females among my adults (neither being a RF). They would not behave aggressively unless their rhythm was bucked in a particular way (direct presence in front of their face / anterior shell). They can be bred, fed, stared at, petted, and more, but close proximity that forces them to retract their head and then blocks them from extending their head beyond the leading edge of the carapace almost always results in a sumo showdown. It does not matter if it is a tortoise, a bucket, a shoe, a piece of wood, or whatever. They get along with that one caveat.

Maybe the female just has to get used to his presence.

If you can give them more space outside with site barriers, that would probably help.
 

theguy67

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Yea, they are all fine. Maybe attacking was too strong of a word. "She" didn't cause any physical damage (maybe psychologically de-maculating him?:D), just annoys him. He doesn't seek her out, usually she will see him and confront him. This is the first new tortoise they have seen in their life so perhaps its just a phase?

I will try and get pictures tomorrow, but like I said, the 2 females look VERY similar. Even the shell near the vent is narrower on the aggressive female, compared to the smaller female. At this size, I would expect to see at least some sexual differences, as they will only grow maybe 5 more inches. The new male has extremely obvious physical differences (this is the first male I have seen in person), and is only 3 inches larger than the larger female.

Perhaps "she" is just a late bloomer? (seems kinda late for even that), but I just remembered, while I am typing, some older pictures I have and will atleast post those tonight.
 

Baoh

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I would continue to observe only and see if they work out their own stuff by themselves. If it gets more intense or goes on for too long, then I would start to consider separation.

Looking forward to the pics.
 

EricIvins

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What you are seeing is very normal. Separating them is going to do no good. The behavior will come right back when they are re-introduced. This is all part of forming a social group, and you interfering only serves to further screw up that dynamic. They will figure it out, just give them the time to do it.
 

Baoh

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EricIvins said:
What you are seeing is very normal. Separating them is going to do no good. The behavior will come right back when they are re-introduced. This is all part of forming a social group, and you interfering only serves to further screw up that dynamic. They will figure it out, just give them the time to do it.

I feel this way about many instances of what people describe as "bullying".
 

theguy67

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ok, after finding the old pictures I realized how awful of a photographer I was back then, and decided just to go take some new ones real quick.

First 3 are of the 2 females. The larger/bully is on the left.
photo.JPG
tort 2.jpg
tort5.jpg


Obviously, the next one is a male, and the 2nd which follows is the large female next to the male.
tort4.jpg
tort 3.jpg

I am not sure if these pictures will work, as they are not showing up on preview.


Baoh said:
EricIvins said:
What you are seeing is very normal. Separating them is going to do no good. The behavior will come right back when they are re-introduced. This is all part of forming a social group, and you interfering only serves to further screw up that dynamic. They will figure it out, just give them the time to do it.

I feel this way about many instances of what people describe as "bullying".

Ok, I wasn't positive, and assumed the advice I would receive was to separate. I only separated them since this evening, so I will put them all back together and observe.
 
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Baoh

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Looks like the one throwing her weight around is a female to me. She is probably just a dominant figure and is setting the tone for who is top dog so there is no misunderstanding in the shelled kingdom.

There is a general theme to separate here. Sometimes warranted. Sometimes not.
 

theguy67

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Baoh said:
Looks like the one throwing her weight around is a female to me. She is probably just a dominant figure and is setting the tone for who is top dog so there is no misunderstanding in the shelled kingdom.

There is a general theme to separate here. Sometimes warranted. Sometimes not.

Yes, I'm guessing the smaller one is more passive due to its size. The large one is nearly the same size as the male as seen in the pictures. I couldn't get all three in the same shot, as one was always running off.......:tort:......:tort::tort:
 

Greg T

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I have seen similar encounters with my leopard male/female also. Normally he is the one following her around and trying to mount her, but on occasion I have seen her chase him and actually climb on him as if to mount him instead. There was no harm and it happens infrequently, so I believe like others said, it is just part of the social interaction. Perhaps like you said earlier, she is just giving him a taste of his own medicine. :p
 
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