Kids and biting

Morob7

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I am hoping to receive two yearling Mees from Vic this week and was wondering about experiences with biting. I have two 8 yr old boys that will want to "help" with them and of course will be curious. What advice would you offer? Should they expect to be able to pet them on them head, etc?
 

Yvonne G

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Manouria are very people friendly, however, they see people as food. You can put down a nice big pile of food and they will traipse right through it to get to you because YOU are the food. So, in that sense, your kids might possible get bitten. It's just something you have to watch out for.

A Manouria tortoise moves quite slowly. They don't snap out a bite. They come at you with their mouth open, very slowly. It's easy to stay out of that mouth's way.
 

Morob7

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That helps a lot. If my kids can pay attention to what the tortoises are doing, they should be able to avoid bites. My kids have a tendency to be very paranoid if they know they may get a bite. Do they tend to care if you touch their heads while they are eating?
 

Morob7

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I assume that this slow nature would make it relatively easy to hand feed without injury. I am reluctant to put my fingers close to my box turtles mouth. He seems to be pretty quick.
 

dmmj

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if they see people as food personally I would avoid hand feeding. it sort of feels like poking the bear with a stick you know
 

Yvonne G

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I have never hand fed my Manouria, and yet they still see me as food. I don't think there's any way around that. You might show the kids how to offer a morsel of food on a skewer (like in my avatar).
 

Tom

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In general animals should not be petted or "messed with" while they are eating. That is probably the worse time to have the boys try to pet them as the tortoises are actively reaching out and biting at things on purpose during feeding time.

Also, pairs are a bad idea. Tortoises are not social. They do not see other tortoises as "friends". You should get just one, or a group of three or more.

One last thing. Its very hot where you are. I'm sure Vic has already told you, but do your best to keep these guys cool in spring and summer. Lots and lots of shade, misters, sprinklers, water and heavy cover. This species can easily die if they get overheated in the sun on a hot day.
 

Morob7

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Thanks. I have done my research on the habitat. Not much is available on biting humans though. I have a 50 gallon rubbermaid tub with moss that sits under a japanese maple nestled up next to a fence. The temperature and humidity are remarkably stable in the recommended range for Manouria. I do not have them yet, but I have been monitoring the habitat for three days. I have also made a hinged lid using copper pipe and hardware cloth that will protect them from other critters. This tub can be moved into my garage when the weather cools off.:) In the spring I will look at building a more elaborate enclosure.
 

Morob7

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I have never hand fed my Manouria, and yet they still see me as food. I don't think there's any way around that. You might show the kids how to offer a morsel of food on a skewer (like in my avatar).
And I thought that was a toothpick. ;) Sounds like a good idea.
 

X TORTOISE---MAD X

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Hi there

My son got bitten by my brown and he bled. He was younger however and climbed up to her enclosure being a curious 3 year old and she took a bite at his finger. In saying this he has never put his hand in from of her again! He now turns to me and says mummy you out the food in now! Bless my boy learnt the hard way I suppose.
 

Morob7

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We will definitely be careful. I believe that if I tell them that they think we are food, they will know to look out and not go poking fingers in front of them. Your poor guy did learn the hard way.
 

dmmj

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because kids are very smart and they always listen right? :) sorry I couldn't resist
 

X TORTOISE---MAD X

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He did indeed! My tortoise was extremely pleased with her self, she had crazy eyes +++++++ lol
On serious note though they will bite it's just in their nature being meat eaters just makes them blood thirsty! & they do just see us as maybe a piece of chicken. Look forward to seeing your babies. I still have to put pictures up of my own yet
 

dmmj

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I don't know about you guys but I'm the other white meat :)
 

Alyssa412

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I second what everybody else is saying! I've only had mine for a few weeks and while they are usually not interested in me at all, one of them (ron) did chase me around part of the yard when I was picking up leaves the other day. then I sat down indian-style on the ground to watch the other two eat and the third (ron again, who was finished eating) kept coming towards my upper leg and looking way too interested for my comfort!

also, make sure the kids are wearing shoes if you have the tortoises out and about! I am always barefoot or in flip flops when i'm outside, so if I get bit I will be totally to blame. but based on what I've read here and seen with my torts, toes are just as tasty looking as fingers. I've got to pick up a cheap pair of slip-ons or something.
 

Morob7

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Sounds like they are pretty funny. Ron seems to think you are either trespassing or that he can hunt you down and eat you. It is a good thing they move slowly.
 

Alyssa412

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Sounds like they are pretty funny. Ron seems to think you are either trespassing or that he can hunt you down and eat you. It is a good thing they move slowly.
one at a time is no problem, but if the three of them decide to gang up on me they've got some good odds :)
 

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