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Getting your tortoise to trust you...

Discussion in 'Advanced Tortoise Topics' started by TerryTheTortoise2016, Mar 1, 2017.

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  1. TerryTheTortoise2016

    TerryTheTortoise2016 Member

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    My tortoise is not very sociable with me even though he would recognise me and stuff like that and I have seen people posting about their tortoise trusting them enough to even let them open its mouth and things like that! I was wondering how to get my tortoise to trust me a bit more. Also I need to add I do pick him up quite a bit and thats not been helping too much, please leave a comment on what you think would help.. :D
    Gillian M likes this.
  2. Alexio

    Alexio Active Member

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    I would say time is a big factor. It could take over a year before a tortoise stops feeling skiddish around you. Also making sure you have short, positive, limited interaction. Torts just don't love to be picked up and held, they feel the best with all 4 legs on the ground. As long as you keep handling to a minimum and make sure you don't scare the tortoise too much when you interact with it. Sometimes hand feeding leaves or grass can be a good way to build trust.
  3. Gillian M

    Gillian M Well-Known Member

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    An interesting thread. Thanks for posting @TerryTheTortoise2016 . :)

    Personally, I have noticed that Oli trusts me a lot. It did take time, though. I hand feed him (which very few members approve of), and since then we've become very attached to one another. :<3:
  4. Stuart S.

    Stuart S. Well-Known Member Tortoise Club

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    Time, time and time!
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  5. Tidgy's Dad

    Tidgy's Dad Well-Known Member

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    And patience.
    And did anyone mention time ?
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  6. GingerLove

    GingerLove Well-Known Member

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    I think Ginger will always be afraid when I pick her up or come at her suddenly. However, when she's wandering around the yard and I come out, she comes to me! I've had her for almost two years and she's only just started to come to me. I'm pretty sure she trusts that I will never hurt her now! But she takes a LONG TIME before she trusts anyone. I feel like I've heard that before...
    Gillian M, cmac3 and Tidgy's Dad like this.
  7. Kenno

    Kenno Well-Known Member

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    Every year I have to rebuild trust when they come out of hibernation.
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  8. Patty P

    Patty P Active Member

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    Perhaps try holding food in your fingers and allowing your tortoise to eat from you (assuming it will not bite you). Food is a great motivator. Did you get your tortoise older? My tortoise I got as a hatchling as he trusts everyone because he doesn't know any different. However, last year I rescued a juvenile RES and he is afraid of everyone except me.
  9. Big Charlie

    Big Charlie Well-Known Member

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    Charlie doesn't hibernate but I don't interact with him as much during the winter, and I have to work on getting him to trust me once it warms up every year. In the winter, he'll start to suck his head in when he first sees me. By summer, he comes when I call.
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  10. CalifornianReptile

    CalifornianReptile Member

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    Same with me! I hand feed my tortoise when ever possible to build trust! The weird thing is that whenever I put my hand flat in the enclosure he actually walks right into my hand and doesn't mind being help on the palm of my hand!
    Kenno, Gillian M and GingerLove like this.
  11. ethan508

    ethan508 Member

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    This is where I'm at with my Russian currently. She flinches every time my shadow crosses her. Plus we've had to handle her more as it has been too cold to keep her outside at nights.
  12. Cubed8ball

    Cubed8ball New Member

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    bit late to this thread but my african leopard tortoise, einstein likes to sleep on my neck and feel me breathing, you could try that. then again einstein has literally no fear and barely goes in his shell and has been like that since i got him when he was just a baby
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