Housing different species together

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MaddieLynn

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Hi everyone! I'm a rather long-term member who hasn't been on in a long time, so I'm not sure if anyone remembers me. Anyways, I had an interesting thought earlier, so I decided to bring it here.

I know that it's not recommended to house different species together because one may carry a disease that, while harmless to it, may be fatal to the other tort/turtle. However, I'm wondering, has a case if this ever actually been documented? I'm wondering more about species with similar temp/humidity requirements, particularly red or yellow foots with eastern or 3 toed boxies, but I'm also just wondering about any documented cases of disease being transmitted between species.

I'm not sure if this is the right section, since I'm not really wanting to debate anything, but since this is a debatable topic I thought it might belong here. If it's in the wrong place feel free to move it!
 

ALDABRAMAN

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Good to see you posting. I am sure that there is cases, I know of a couple. Maybe someone would like to share a personal experience other than second had information.
 

Baoh

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Parasitic worms that can be passed through feces, certain lung infections, and certain viral infections can be passed from tortoise to tortoise, but this can be irrespective of species and is more a matter of infected-to-uninfected contact. Uninfected-to-uninfected would not present a problem in terms of infectious ailments and these won't spontaneously generate, either.

I have never seen any infections passed among my many tortoises over the years and I do not worry about contact between different species. I take special care to ensure that anything wild caught, however infrequently I have possessed them, has an extensive quarantine period and worming prior to possibly allowing it contact with captive bred animals.

My main concerns are size issues and aggression. If these are not a problem, then I do not have a problem.

I always am amused by the general overreaction I have seen from some parties when it has come to discussion of mixed species contact yet advocate outdoor exposure. An animal defecating in your yard leaves a heaping payload of microbial bounty that could or could not prove infectious. That goes for all manners of Orders, too. The worst would surely be birds and any indigenous reptiles. Tortoises comes across bird droppings all of the time outside and yet aren't succumbing in droves. Then there is the matter of airborne organisms, which one isn't really stopping, and the fact that we are all exposing our animals to the great many organisms which colonize our own bodies. As much as people think they are being hygienic, they are transferring loads of stuff all over the place. Any person who works in a GMP Microbiology Lab or Clean Room type of facility knows the realities of microbial contamination are far from what your average person realizes.

I consider it the choice of the individual owner on whether or not it presents a sizable issue. For me, with my animals, it (usually) does not.

My girlfriend's hair is more dangerous to my animals than my other animals. Literally.
 

MaddieLynn

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That is exactly what my thought has always been, but I wanted to get opinions from other turtle keepers also. I think what happened is that people have taken a grain of truth (diseases and parasites can be passed through droppings, etc) and have blown it way out of proportion. Of course it is physically possible for one species to pass a disease to another, but I don't think it's nearly as huge of a deal as many people think, which is why I want to know if there are any documented cases, so I can see if my opinion is unfounded or not.
 

Nay

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Hi MaddieLynn,
I can only tell my experience. I had my ornate(Louise) and Jack(redfoot) together for a number of years.(7 or so) I joined up here and was totally convinced to separate them. I did, and for days on end all Louise did was pace and climb the walls. Jack went in the corner. He still ate but she wouldn't touch anything. I wrote in and was so upset, some said give it more time, others said do what your heart tell you. Someone was nice enough to send me a link to Mzee and Owen http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4754996.
I said I couldn't take it any more and put them back together. And they will stay that way as long as I have them.

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Not sure if that was what you were looking for?
But that's my experience!
Nay
 

Kristina

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There have been documented cases of Sulcatas and Desert tortoises being kept together, resulting in respiratory illness and even death of the DT.

Off the top of my head, I can't think of any other examples but I know there are some.

In my opinion, it just isn't worth the risk. I have put my captive bred babies together for short periods of time, but I keep them separate otherwise.
 

Baoh

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IIRC, Gopherus species are especially susceptible to mycoplasma infections, although I have seen conflicting sides on that issue because some infected individuals seem to remain perpetually asymptomatic according to the researchers I have run into here and there back when I was in Undergrad. Still, for Gopherus species, I would exercise extra special care for this reason.

I haven't had a problem with any members of Testudo (every species) or Geochelone/Stigmochelys (several species) having contact with each other in terms of illness. I have seen a number of Redfoots, Yellowfoots, Leopards, and Burmese Browns living successfully with each other, too, although this latter case is not an example of what I would personally prefer in terms of enclosure provisions.
 

bikerchicspain

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Guilty as charged,:(
I have pumpkin (Russian) in with my Greeks, they get on really well.
Even Henri has mounted her a couple of times, so he had to be separated.

Trying to imagine what a Testudo Greaca Horsfieldii would look like. :D:D:D:D
 

terryo

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My experience is similar to Nay's. I acquired my Cherry Head RF, the same time I got my Three Toed Hatchling. They were both about 3 months old, they both needed the same type of enclosures, warm, humid, low light. I kept them together for two years until people started telling me how wrong this was, so I separated them. The Three toed couldn't care less, but the Cherry Head stopped eating for days. Finally I put them back together until the Summer, when they both went outside in different enclosures, and I lost my Three Toed.
I have friends that have Eastern Box Turtles and Redfoots that are kept together in the yard all Summer with no problem for many years. There was a man (used to post here) who kept different species of Tortoises together in a large yard also, with no problem.
It is suggested not to, but I personally have done it with no problem, and in the Summer when I put mine outside, I'll be keeping a very young Three Toed with a Cherry Head who are the same age, in a small outdoor enclosure. I would only do this with hatchlings that require the same type of enclosure, and if I got them from breeders that I knew.

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evlinLoutries

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actually, I placed all my torts in 2 places, one for radiated, indian star, sulcata and cherry head, and the other one is for all my pardalis babcocki..

after putting them together +- 2months, I got no problem on it and I thank God that everything's working smoothly..

so when you decide it is good to separate them or put them together, it is your own risk, and it depends to you not others..
 

Yvonne G

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Hi Maddielynn:

I don't think you'll have too much of a problem with box turtles and redfoot tortoises. Terryo kept her baby redfoot and a box turtle together for quite a while with no problem. Most likely your redfoot will be captive bred, and the box turtles are long time captive, so it should probably be ok.

I have first hand knowledge of the sulcata/desert tortoise problem. In the past few years I have taken in several desert tortoises that were sick and the owners didn't want to, or couldn't afford the vet. Upon questioning, it usually came out that the owners had recently added a sulcata tortoise to the habitat.

It has long been suspected that the URDS (upper respiratory distress syndrome) that is killing off the wild population of desert tortoises came from released sulcatas.

Good luck with whatever you decide and don't be such a stranger!
 
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