Is it a bad idea to keep 2 tortoises together regardless of their age & sex?

willee638

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Hi, I had my red foot tortoise for almost a year now & she has tripled in size. I & probably a few other tortoise keepers would like to know if they will always behave aggressively towards each other regardless of their age, size differences or of any sex even of the same species? Is it the more of them together the merrier by spreading out the bullying?
 

TammyJ

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Always best to separate your tortoises, but it sometimes works to keep say, a male and three females of the same species in a suitable, large enclosure - works sometimes and especially with redfoots. But you have to watch them and remove any aggressive ones before damage is done and cannot be undone.
 

Carlos-NL

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I agree separation is based on size. Its not safe to keep 1 year old with 8 year old as an example. I was once curious to the interaction if I put them together 3 month old with 8 years old and I was observing. The result was shocking the old female was about to bite one of the babies head!!! I am not sure what was she thinking at that moment!!! So it definitely not safe to keep RF of big difference in size together.
 

Tes

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I had two indian star tortoises that where from the same clutch, and they did show aggression towards each other, even though they were only a few months old. You can see pictures from it in my thread https://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/the-life-of-yoda-an-indian-star-tortoise.186362/ . In the third picture the one is trying to turn the other, but there were also more subtle signs that I probably wouldn't have noticed if I wasn't working at home due to covid. Such as trying the block the food by sitting on it, blocking the entrance of the hide, and more such things.

What I've read on this forum is that if you keep a bigger group together (three of more) in a certain male/female ratio it works out better, but others might chime in with their experience.
 

Yossarian

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Unless your trying to breed there isnt a reason to keep more than one together full stop. If you have a big outdoor space to keep 3-4 torts in, then a male and a few females can be ok together but its difficult to imagine an indoor space that would be suitable for that. In the wild, tortoises mating looks a lot like fighting as well and can result in injuries, so even that involves a fair amount of aggression, afterward they go their own ways, they dont want to hang out. The common exception is babies, that can be kept in groups without issues.
 

Neon_xero

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Hi, I had my red foot tortoise for almost a year now & she has tripled in size. I & probably a few other tortoise keepers would like to know if they will always behave aggressively towards each other regardless of their age, size differences or of any sex even of the same species? Is it the more of them together the merrier by spreading out the bullying?
I would say yes! if you have a female and a male and you don't at them to mate separate basically its best to separate
 

JoesMum

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Tortoises are loners. In the wild they roam for miles, meet up to mate and move on.

They don’t get lonely. They don’t want or need company. Another tortoise is simply a rival for food and territory regardless of gender or being siblings.

It’s hard for us to replicate that in captivity. If you have a very large enclosure AND there are lots of sight barriers then a group of tortoises of similar size with one male to two or more females may be successful.

However, there are no guarantees and you may well have to split a group.

I recommend that you only keep as many tortoises as you have room for if the worst happens and the group has to be split.
 

willee638

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All of these advices & comments are excellent, yeah we all think torts doesn't do much except for hiding & sleeping when not feeding. I only have a wooden enclosure of 2 feet by 20 inches for my red foot yearling & she still finds it not enough room & tries to get out, imagine if I had 2 RFs the same size with a doubled or tripled the enclosure size my guess would be it's still isn't enough to keep them from encroaching into each others territories & cause aggressions. Tortoises in my own experience & observations are not social & playful animals by nature, my RF doesn't even interact with me that much although I've heard her make tiny clicking noises hardly audible unless very close to my ears when I pet her. I don't know how to interpret it as a pleasure or a dislike reaction from her.
 

Tom

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Is it a bad idea to keep 2 tortoises together regardless of their age & sex?

Yes. Yes it is. Tortoises should never be kept in pairs. Groups of juveniles are usually fine. How well groups work varies greatly with adults of different species.
 

bonsai tortoise

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Redfoots are generally peaceful but there are a few exceptions to that rule. 1. A mature male redfoot will constantly want to mate with a female so keeping a pair would likely stress out a single female. That leads to nothing good. 2. Larger redfoots May think a much smaller redfoot is food. I don’t introduce a juvenile redfoot to my adult group until they are at least 7” and even then I watch them and don’t allow them to stay unsupervised until I’m sure they don’t show an interest in the smaller ones. 3. Although generally peaceful/agreeable by nature, don’t assume that’s the rule. You might get that one redfoot that just doesn’t get along so it’s always good to monitor them when introducing them to each other. 4. Redfoot pairs aren’t always bad. I kept two adult females together for years with zero issues. I wouldn’t expect the same with two males though and as I mentioned above a mature M/F pair probably isn’t a good idea as the female would suffer. If you want more than one either try to ensure it’s two females or go for a group of at least 3. I started my group about 15 years ago with just the two females. I added the male a few years later to make a trio. It’s much larger than that now. I have never had any aggression issues with redfoots regardless of age or size but, as I said, there’s an exception to every rule. That’s why it’s important to carefully monitor them when introducing new tortoises to ensure compatibility.
 

willee638

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Redfoots are generally peaceful but there are a few exceptions to that rule. 1. A mature male redfoot will constantly want to mate with a female so keeping a pair would likely stress out a single female. That leads to nothing good. 2. Larger redfoots May think a much smaller redfoot is food. I don’t introduce a juvenile redfoot to my adult group until they are at least 7” and even then I watch them and don’t allow them to stay unsupervised until I’m sure they don’t show an interest in the smaller ones. 3. Although generally peaceful/agreeable by nature, don’t assume that’s the rule. You might get that one redfoot that just doesn’t get along so it’s always good to monitor them when introducing them to each other. 4. Redfoot pairs aren’t always bad. I kept two adult females together for years with zero issues. I wouldn’t expect the same with two males though and as I mentioned above a mature M/F pair probably isn’t a good idea as the female would suffer. If you want more than one either try to ensure it’s two females or go for a group of at least 3. I started my group about 15 years ago with just the two females. I added the male a few years later to make a trio. It’s much larger than that now. I have never had any aggression issues with redfoots regardless of age or size but, as I said, there’s an exception to every rule. That’s why it’s important to carefully monitor them when introducing new tortoises to ensure compatibility.
That is valuable information to know thanks, tortoise owners like myself with only a year or so experience must listen to seasoned keepers to avoid making mistakes & suffering for the animals. Most pet owners never study or have much knowledge on the animals' behaviors they keep, the pet shops depending on the staff doesn't always give accurate useful information.
 

Tortisedonk7

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All of these advices & comments are excellent, yeah we all think torts doesn't do much except for hiding & sleeping when not feeding. I only have a wooden enclosure of 2 feet by 20 inches for my red foot yearling & she still finds it not enough room & tries to get out, imagine if I had 2 RFs the same size with a doubled or tripled the enclosure size my guess would be it's still isn't enough to keep them from encroaching into each others territories & cause aggressions. Tortoises in my own experience & observations are not social & playful animals by nature, my RF doesn't even interact with me that much although I've heard her make tiny clicking noises hardly audible unless very close to my ears when I pet her. I don't know how to interpret it as a pleasure or a dislike reaction from her.
That enclosure is much too small for a tortoise that age and size. Hope your are building a new one soon.
 
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