I don't get it......hydration

KSeaman

Member
Joined
Jul 9, 2018
Messages
39
Location (City and/or State)
Washington
First I want to say thank you, I REALLY appreciate all of the information shared on tortoise forum and I am following ALL of the care information that I can. That being said, I don't understand how tortoises survive in the wild if they need separate "forced" soaks even when water is available via, food and actual water in captivity.

I understand if you are working with babies but how do adult tortoises survive in the wild if they don't instinctually take in enough water to keep themselves hydrated? Is there a high mortality rate among adult tortoises in the wild?
 

KSeaman

Member
Joined
Jul 9, 2018
Messages
39
Location (City and/or State)
Washington
Do you think maybe it's because our man made enclosures, because of the artificial lights and heat are hotter and dryer than their wild environment? I do not have the same "issues" with my Box Turtle. She drinks from her water dish and soaks herself.
 

Maro2Bear

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
May 29, 2014
Messages
12,125
Location (City and/or State)
Glenn Dale, Maryland, USA
Id also throw out that a lot of people are keeping and housing non-native species in artificial enclosures. I have a 70 lb Sulcata, hardly native to Maryland. Others have Leopards in Virginia and Redfoots in New Hampshire and Aldabras in Germany, Russians in Washington (State). No matter how hard keepers try, it’s still never the same. Soooooo, we provide assistance with good fresh food, water, soakings, lights, heat...etc.

If i lived in Khartoum, AND had a massive back garden for my Sully to roam about, I probably wouldnt worry about soakings and water (as much).

Anyhow, just my thoughts at 0600 in the morning.

Happy Torting
 

xMario

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2019
Messages
413
Location (City and/or State)
Germany
First I want to say thank you, I REALLY appreciate all of the information shared on tortoise forum and I am following ALL of the care information that I can. That being said, I don't understand how tortoises survive in the wild if they need separate "forced" soaks even when water is available via, food and actual water in captivity.

I understand if you are working with babies but how do adult tortoises survive in the wild if they don't instinctually take in enough water to keep themselves hydrated? Is there a high mortality rate among adult tortoises in the wild?
My sulcata tortoise is 2 years old I have a humid enclosure and a water dish that is easy accessible she drinks and soaks every day on her own... maybe this is totally enough to keep her healthy and hydrated but I cant talk to her or see if shes actually hydrated enough to be sure shes hydrated I soak her daily... u know just to make sure..
in the wild young tortoises stay under ground most of the time in warm and humid hides. so they dont get much heat like our lamps put out... since we cant build an enclosure that is like nature or we could but I dont think anyone would want to never see the tort cause its underground we need to soak in our hot enclosure to ensure they are healthy

since no one actually knows for sure how tortoises live in the wild and go through there life we just try to do everything possible to keep them healthy and hydrated and many tortoise keepers had success with soaking and high humidity thats why it's best to follow that way and I'm really happy that I dont need to experiment with my tort since other people already experimented with there torts to find a way for others to keep their tortoises healthy [emoji16]
 

wellington

Well-Known Member
Moderator
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2011
Messages
39,363
Location (City and/or State)
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Don't forget everything we do for our tortoises is not only on a much smaller scale then the wild but also artificial. Even people in California has too use fake heat and lights. Because of this we need to do everything possible to help them along. Soaking helps to hydrate them and their shell. Drinking only hydrates them. My year and a half leopard self soaks and drinks very well. I still soak every other day. Why not! Gives time to check him over, make helps to get them human friendly and I make the water deeper then I would want in his enclosure.
Oh the adults dont get soaked as much. In the wild they will drink when water of course is available. In the wild they will get some hydration from what they eat. In the wild they aren't trapped in small areas with hot bulbs beaten down on them from a short distance away. Less hydration is most likely needed. Coolet damper temps always under ground.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
53,769
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
You already answered your own question.

Yes, mortality in the wild is high. Yes, they need our extra help if we want them to thrive in our foreign captive environments. Conditions in the wild are survivable most of the time, but I don't want survivable conditions. I want optimal conditions for my animals.

If a tortoise has a suitable water bowl, and if that tortoise drinks enough on its own, and if that water stays fresh all the time, and if the tortoise is comfortable in its environment, and if there is not another tortoise living with it that might discourage it from drinking, then you might not "need" a soak. Can anyone 100% guarantee any of that? I know I don't have time to watch each of my tortoises 24 hours a day. This being the case, I soak them. It ensures they are well hydrated instead of me assuming and guessing that they are. If they didn't need to be soaked, well, it does no harm, and it gets me handling and inspecting them more regularly which can help me notice any issues sooner rather than later.

There is a clear argument for soaking regularly: Guaranteed hydration and greater likelihood of good health.

What is the argument for not soaking?: I don't feel like it? Its a hassle? My tortoise probably maybe doesn't need it today? I don't have time to soak my tortoise?
 

Maro2Bear

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
May 29, 2014
Messages
12,125
Location (City and/or State)
Glenn Dale, Maryland, USA
You already answered your own question.

Yes, mortality in the wild is high. Yes, they need our extra help if we want them to thrive in our foreign captive environments. Conditions in the wild are survivable most of the time, but I don't want survivable conditions. I want optimal conditions for my animals.

If a tortoise has a suitable water bowl, and if that tortoise drinks enough on its own, and if that water stays fresh all the time, and if the tortoise is comfortable in its environment, and if there is not another tortoise living with it that might discourage it from drinking, then you might not "need" a soak. Can anyone 100% guarantee any of that? I know I don't have time to watch each of my tortoises 24 hours a day. This being the case, I soak them. It ensures they are well hydrated instead of me assuming and guessing that they are. If they didn't need to be soaked, well, it does no harm, and it gets me handling and inspecting them more regularly which can help me notice any issues sooner rather than later.

There is a clear argument for soaking regularly: Guaranteed hydration and greater likelihood of good health.

What is the argument for not soaking?: I don't feel like it? Its a hassle? My tortoise probably maybe doesn't need it today? I don't have time to soak my tortoise?


I like the last point - what’s the argument for not soaking?
 

TortoiseRacket

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 26, 2018
Messages
259
Location (City and/or State)
New York
How I think of it is, although the burrows in the wild are probably not at 80% humidity, and they’re not soaking daily, they’re not eating spring mixes in the America’s in a glass tank. And there is a reason that most animals in the wild have shorter life spans than in captivity.
 

ascott

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2011
Messages
16,147
Location (City and/or State)
Apple Valley, California
How I think of it is, although the burrows in the wild are probably not at 80% humidity, and they’re not soaking daily, they’re not eating spring mixes in the America’s in a glass tank. And there is a reason that most animals in the wild have shorter life spans than in captivity.

Ah yes, but there then is the question of "what" makes a great life....I mean sure, there may be a few years less in the wild but what a life...I mean, no tv, no micro snacks and such but still, there is a sense of wild that only the wild I am sure would appreciate. I am not trying to invoke an argument (seriously, I am not) just saying, it is likely all relative.
 

jsheffield

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Sep 29, 2018
Messages
2,252
Location (City and/or State)
Westmoreland, NH
Darwin has told me that he vastly prefers watching episodes of SWAT and Hannibal while soaking in a dishpan and nibbling on exotic kibbles and bizarre food like salmon and opuntia pads and strawberries over being eaten by a jaguar or a harpy eagle ... #fakefirsthandknowledge

Jamie
 

TortoiseRacket

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 26, 2018
Messages
259
Location (City and/or State)
New York
Ah yes, but there then is the question of "what" makes a great life....I mean sure, there may be a few years less in the wild but what a life...I mean, no tv, no micro snacks and such but still, there is a sense of wild that only the wild I am sure would appreciate. I am not trying to invoke an argument (seriously, I am not) just saying, it is likely all relative.
I definitely agree with you that there is only a sense of the wild, only the wild can provide. I do question whether tortoises are “happy” in our care or would rather leave us in the dust. But we’ll never know, or at least my tortoise isn’t talking soon.
 

Toddrickfl1

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 7, 2018
Messages
6,332
Location (City and/or State)
Ga
Darwin has told me that he vastly prefers watching episodes of SWAT and Hannibal while soaking in a dishpan and nibbling on exotic kibbles and bizarre food like salmon and opuntia pads and strawberries over being eaten by a jaguar or a harpy eagle ... #fakefirsthandknowledge

Jamie
Once my tortoise Murphy had his first bite of Mazuri he decided the wild was not for him....
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
53,769
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
I'm reminded of a story that is funniest when told by my friend with his subtle intonations, but I'll try to relate it here.

He was walking back to his car with his well-exercised, tired Goshawk on his fist. This man has been a master falconer for more than 20 years, and this is a CB Goshawk raised and trained masterfully by him. They'd been out hunting, and as often happens, they didn't catch anything in that field, so he was going back to the truck to move elsewhere and try again. On his way, he was accosted and verbally assaulted by some ignorant woman who walked up in a huff and started berating him. She went on and on about how it was horrible that the bird was tied to his hand and that it was kept in a cage in captivity. She had obviously been over there smoldering and had been mentally preparing this tirade for him for some time. He politely listened and allowed the woman to say her peace. When she finished and was staring at him waiting for his angry counter-argument, he just smiled a little smile and said: "Okay" and proceeded to cue the bird to fly off the fist and take to the sky. He then asked her: "Feel better now?" She stammered: "Uhhh... yes." and he turned and walked away from her. As he neared his truck, he simply called his bird back down, and she quickly and willingly came. He then loaded the bird into the transport box and peacefully drove away.
 

ascott

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2011
Messages
16,147
Location (City and/or State)
Apple Valley, California
I'm reminded of a story that is funniest when told by my friend with his subtle intonations, but I'll try to relate it here.

He was walking back to his car with his well-exercised, tired Goshawk on his fist. This man has been a master falconer for more than 20 years, and this is a CB Goshawk raised and trained masterfully by him. They'd been out hunting, and as often happens, they didn't catch anything in that field, so he was going back to the truck to move elsewhere and try again. On his way, he was accosted and verbally assaulted by some ignorant woman who walked up in a huff and started berating him. She went on and on about how it was horrible that the bird was tied to his hand and that it was kept in a cage in captivity. She had obviously been over there smoldering and had been mentally preparing this tirade for him for some time. He politely listened and allowed the woman to say her peace. When she finished and was staring at him waiting for his angry counter-argument, he just smiled a little smile and said: "Okay" and proceeded to cue the bird to fly off the fist and take to the sky. He then asked her: "Feel better now?" She stammered: "Uhhh... yes." and he turned and walked away from her. As he neared his truck, he simply called his bird back down, and she quickly and willingly came. He then loaded the bird into the transport box and peacefully drove away.

Ah yes, anything can be trained to perform in exchange for food and shelter. But that does not indicate if given the opportunity from its start to be wild it would still choose to be trained to perform?
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
53,769
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Ah yes, anything can be trained to perform in exchange for food and shelter. But that does not indicate if given the opportunity from its start to be wild it would still choose to be trained to perform?
They aren't being trained to perform. They are simply tamed down to lessen their natural life-preserving fear of a given human or humans, and then shown that paying attention to a human will give them more opportunities at game. What they do in the field is exactly what they would do if a human wasn't there. Having a human to make the rabbits bolt simply helps them do what they do. Choosing to cooperate with a human gives them a benefit in the form of more chances at game. The make the choice daily to stick around or fly away forever.

And to answer your question, yes, many wild birds and other animals, figure this out all on their own and make the choice to associate with humans. This is how we got dogs. Ever feed the raccoons or squirrels? Hummingbird or songbird feeders? Sea lion ever come up to your boat and beg? Ravens? Even reptiles will do this. My aunt and uncle had a place in Yucca Valley and they used to send me pics of a chuckwalla and a desert tortoise that would regularly come to visit them and hang around hoping for some food. In my falconry thread I related the story of the little male redtail that was following me around the fields and stooping on the game I was stirring up. That was certainly his choice. He could have chosen to fly away from the human. Instead he chose to fly to the human and follow me because he had learned all on his own that there was a benefit to him for following me.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
53,769
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
The birds here in Maryland have ME trained to provide them breakfast, cracked corn, millet, sunflower seeds and fresh water, especially when it’s below freezing.
As I read your post, I had a funny thought. I've not trained my bird to perform. My bird has trained me to perform.

She sits on a high perch of her choosing while her human dances around in the bushes below doing her bidding. At most she gives a look of disdain as if to say: "Hurry up human. I'm tiring of your lack of performance." No reward for me. No tid bit. My reward is getting to observe her doing what she does. And then I get to drive her home and return her to her place of shelter from the elements and predators with a full belly.
 

ascott

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2011
Messages
16,147
Location (City and/or State)
Apple Valley, California
They aren't being trained to perform. They are simply tamed down to lessen their natural life-preserving fear of a given human or humans, and then shown that paying attention to a human will give them more opportunities at game. What they do in the field is exactly what they would do if a human wasn't there. Having a human to make the rabbits bolt simply helps them do what they do. Choosing to cooperate with a human gives them a benefit in the form of more chances at game. The make the choice daily to stick around or fly away forever.

And to answer your question, yes, many wild birds and other animals, figure this out all on their own and make the choice to associate with humans. This is how we got dogs. Ever feed the raccoons or squirrels? Hummingbird or songbird feeders? Sea lion ever come up to your boat and beg? Ravens? Even reptiles will do this. My aunt and uncle had a place in Yucca Valley and they used to send me pics of a chuckwalla and a desert tortoise that would regularly come to visit them and hang around hoping for some food. In my falconry thread I related the story of the little male redtail that was following me around the fields and stooping on the game I was stirring up. That was certainly his choice. He could have chosen to fly away from the human. Instead he chose to fly to the human and follow me because he had learned all on his own that there was a benefit to him for following me.

This is exactly what I mean Tom. Remove the human and the animal would do what an animal does without the human. Remove the human and the hangers that also come with the human also is removed.

Don't get me wrong. As with the wolf tailing humans for food...if the human was not there the animal would have done just as it was designed to do. We humans do not offer a new thing...we just make it easier...in exchange for the animal doing it themselves....as they are designed to do.

Also, yes, I have fed a few wild animals in my day...after all I do live in the desert. Prime example Tom. Where I live, my property was directly in the path of wild Quail. they would show up each year and do what they do. I thought hum, there has not been much rain lately and therefore there is not the same wild plants growing, offering seeds and in turn bugs and such. I thought well, I will offer up a watering hole and toss some seed out for them. Within 3 years not one Quail passes through the yard but the more prolific Pigeon has instead taken up residence...a Quail is a much less aggressive animal and in turn I have created a false environment (not on purpose mind you) by offering water and food....a Quail is a much more resilient bird than the Pigeon....and had I not intervened and tried to make things "easier" for the Quail...the Pigeon would never have found an easy meal here and would not have taken up residence....period.

All my point is, is that we humans can make things easier by all means....but easier is not always the best answer...you know what I mean. I am not trying to say what I am saying the right, nor wrong thing....but I do give props to the "wild" for leaving it alone....so as much as I can and at as many times I am presented with the opportunity support the wild way..I will. That's all :)
 
Top