Pyramiding isn’t the worst thing when looking at Giant tortoises

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Baoh said:
Sam, that is a great video. Did they have to turn left? As in, is there any obstruction that prevents them from going straight or to the right after climbing over?
Yes they had to make a right or left, the Iguana cages are in the way if they go stright.

What a great eye you have.

Sam Pascucci
[hr]
Baoh said:
Sam, that is a great video. Did they have to turn left? As in, is there any obstruction that prevents them from going straight or to the right after climbing over?
Yes they have to turn left or right the Iguana cages are in the way if they go stright, you have a good eye for detail.

Sam Pascucci
 

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Baoh said:
Sam, that is a great video. Did they have to turn left? As in, is there any obstruction that prevents them from going straight or to the right after climbing over?
Yes they had to make a right or left, the Iguana cages are in the way if they go stright.

What a great eye you have.

Sam Pascucci
I totally forgot to comment on the video it was funny showed my wife and then spend some time looking at the other video's as well. My kids would love to ride a tortoise lol
 

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tortadise said:
Sam this is fantastic your work and observations being put into a reality to the tortoise community. Not very many understand the details of the giant species. Its ashame so many of them are bought as novelties with the label of "I own a giant tortoise". The lack of knowledge, space and dietary requirements are sometimes overlooked. I recently have posted a thread a few weeks again that kinda pertains to this issue. Even with zoos and the lack of space required for these giants. They are both island grazers and are solely dedicated to seed propogation on those islands. I see a lot of these issues in animals I go to see for relinquishment to our facilities and its very sad seeing such gentle giants that cannot walk from improper muscular development from lack of daily exercise and proper nutrition. Greg(aldabraman) and I talk sometimes and we both keep repeating the few words to each other that sums these giants up in proper care. "They have to be happy". Obviously the label of happy has a deeper meaning than that of a common word. Good space, good food source(which simbiotically is associated with the food source and grazing in one), and sense of security. I love what your doing and love you know these giant species as well that you do. Great post.
I always tell the story 30 years ago collecting tortoises is what I was doing, now it is who I am, I no longer can separate the two. Really my motivation is to give back to the animals they have taken me so many places in my life, they have been a motivation from the time I was a child,
I studied and I learned, I pushed myself to achieve and gather knowledge. I succeeded in business and taught myself medicine so I could keep them.
The tortoises have brought so much to me in life, I just feel I have to give something back to them, that’s my job now.

Sam Pascucci
[hr]
ALDABRAMAN said:
Great thread Sam! I love your videos!
Thanks Greg, Thanks for inviting me to the forum. I respect so much the work you have done there, thanks for being a good friend and sharing your knowledge.

Sam Pascucci
 

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tortadise said:
Sam this is fantastic your work and observations being put into a reality to the tortoise community. Not very many understand the details of the giant species. Its ashame so many of them are bought as novelties with the label of "I own a giant tortoise". The lack of knowledge, space and dietary requirements are sometimes overlooked. I recently have posted a thread a few weeks again that kinda pertains to this issue. Even with zoos and the lack of space required for these giants. They are both island grazers and are solely dedicated to seed propogation on those islands. I see a lot of these issues in animals I go to see for relinquishment to our facilities and its very sad seeing such gentle giants that cannot walk from improper muscular development from lack of daily exercise and proper nutrition. Greg(aldabraman) and I talk sometimes and we both keep repeating the few words to each other that sums these giants up in proper care. "They have to be happy". Obviously the label of happy has a deeper meaning than that of a common word. Good space, good food source(which simbiotically is associated with the food source and grazing in one), and sense of security. I love what your doing and love you know these giant species as well that you do. Great post.
I always tell the story 30 years ago collecting tortoises is what I was doing, now it is who I am, I no longer can separate the two. Really my motivation is to give back to the animals they have taken me so many places in my life, they have been a motivation from the time I was a child,
I studied and I learned, I pushed myself to achieve and gather knowledge. I succeeded in business and taught myself medicine so I could keep them.
The tortoises have brought so much to me in life, I just feel I have to give something back to them, that’s my job now.

Sam Pascucci
[hr]
ALDABRAMAN said:
Great thread Sam! I love your videos!
Thanks Greg, Thanks for inviting me to the forum. I respect so much the work you have done there, thanks for being a good friend and sharing your knowledge.

Sam Pascucci
Seems your ideology is a mirror of mine. Glad your here. I am also glad Greg invited you. He is a very humble, and intelligent man. He has succeeded very well at his passion too. I wont put words in his mouth but I am certain his beliefs in keeping his giants are relatively similar at best.
 

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wellington said:
Because some people will run out and buy another tortoise by reading your opinion on tortoises having buddies. Will you say that you are really only talking about the Galops and Aldabras? Also, would you say, the right size (very large)enclosures, sight barriers, etc plays a big part in it? I am just concerned about all the members that have been waiting for at least one person to say their tort needs a buddy, to run out an get that buddy, without paying attention to the rest of what you said. Example, Your talking Galops and Aldabras and your being asked about a species you haven't even mentioned. So we don't have a bunch of tortoises thrown in to be a buddy, and members with fighting tortoises, can you elaborate a little more on the exact (as close as possible) conditions that your multiples tortoises were kept and be species specific. As much as I would love tortoises to all get along with a buddy. I do believe it is a few species that can get along with little or no problems. Then the others, need more specific enclosure considerations, in order for them to get along in pairs/groups. Thanks. Interesting reading your thread. Do look forward to more of your post.
Your right my comments we specifically aimed at Galapagos and Aldabras. I also raise Redfoots, Yellowfoots, Spurs and Elongated Tortoises, (Not to mention Cyclura Iguanas) I have seen all of those species seemingly getting along fine individually, But to be honest I have not done a scientific study, it’s only my observations of my own animals. I tried to make that clear in my post.
Something that bothers me in the Tortoise world is, you always find someone who thinks they’re an expert because they have 3 animals and have been doing it for 5 years. All of a sudden they are an expert. Quite honestly, I at one time felt the same way about myself.
Its only after years of studying and reflection do you realize how little you actually know.

I do feel in all of those species cases when raising hatchlings they do much better with mutable animals, this motivates them to eat, I always think of it as food competition. I also notice that they are more active as hatchlings when in groups.

But I agree with you, I am sure there are species that require a lot of thought and cage design to produce the best results, but I think that plays out much more so as they get older. The other point I tried to emphasize in the post is these observations even though they are done over the last 30 years does not necessarily mean every person will have the same results, The animals on the farm here are a special group of animals and you can only conclude behavior just on this set of animals. I’ll give you another example; you have heard me talk about the article I want to write about Galapagos and Aldabra differences in behavior. I have 8 Galapagos and 8 Aldabras it’s in the observation of these animals I note the differences. I don’t think it would be scientifically correct to conclude results based on such a small group of animals under these very specific conditions and then try to conclude that all animals in these species group will behave as mine do. What takes place here conditions or (impresses) those animals to act a certain way.

I talked about Aldabras being a social animal,
Here my Aldabras are very social they need each other. They don’t like to be separated, they sleep on each other, one will put his head inside the shell of another animal, I have even seen two animals sleeping with their heads inside the others shell.

Back a few months ago I had to separate one of the males from the grope (I have 6 males) he was in an adjacent cage, all he did all day long was work to brake the fence down so he could get back into the group. And that’s what he did. I have seen countless examples of this.
On the other hand, a Galop would have nothing to do with another animal (Let alone another male) putting his head that close to him.
Galops want their space and don’t appear to need much company from others. I am not saying that they want to be alone, I don’t really know, I am just saying they don’t appear to need it the way the Aldabras do. But I will say this, while I don’t think they are sensitive to needing others around them when all eight Galops are in their pen, there is a definite sense of community and a definite sense of hierarchy I don’t see this hierarchy in the Aldabras.

I have also talked about this “Aldabra socialism” with my friend the Aldabraman and he has concluded the same findings.
Actually we concurred on many points of behavior. I would love to hear others experiences and stories on Aldabra behavior.

Sam Pascucci
 

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I talked about Aldabras being a social animal,
Here my Aldabras are very social they need each other. They don’t like to be separated, they sleep on each other, one will put his head inside the shell of another animal, I have even seen two animals sleeping with their heads inside the others shell.
...
I have also talked about this “Aldabra socialism” with my friend the Aldabraman and he has concluded the same findings.
Actually we concurred on many points of behavior. I would love to hear others experiences and stories on Aldabra behavior.
Sam, this is very interesting, and it certainly seems to be the case in the wild, too. On the inland tortoise turfs on eastern Grand Terre, there are plenty shade trees/shrubs around. However, during noon heat, the tortoises congregate under just a few of these trees (always the same trees), sometimes in numbers of >50. Now, an interesting question is to what extent the tortoises under each tree are the same each day! I hope to be able to study this sometime (so much to do, so little time).
[hr]
Anyway back to the story. One rainy day one of the Aldabras parks himself at the base of the gate (The lowest part of the fence) then another one stood on his back
Slid the top rail over and jumped over the fence. Then over the next few minutes each and every one of them jumped the fence then he simply got up and climbed over the now partly open gate.
This is a fantastic story & even better footage; thanks a lot for sharing! I think I'd like to visit your tortoises in Florida sometime...! :tort:
 

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Sorry I meant no disrespect in my comments about your setup or caring of your animals.
Sam Pascucci
[hr]
AldabraNerd said:
I talked about Aldabras being a social animal,
Here my Aldabras are very social they need each other. They don’t like to be separated, they sleep on each other, one will put his head inside the shell of another animal, I have even seen two animals sleeping with their heads inside the others shell.
...
I have also talked about this “Aldabra socialism” with my friend the Aldabraman and he has concluded the same findings.
Actually we concurred on many points of behavior. I would love to hear others experiences and stories on Aldabra behavior.
Sam, this is very interesting, and it certainly seems to be the case in the wild, too. On the inland tortoise turfs on eastern Grand Terre, there are plenty shade trees/shrubs around. However, during noon heat, the tortoises congregate under just a few of these trees (always the same trees), sometimes in numbers of >50. Now, an interesting question is to what extent the tortoises under each tree are the same each day! I hope to be able to study this sometime (so much to do, so little time).
[hr]
Anyway back to the story. One rainy day one of the Aldabras parks himself at the base of the gate (The lowest part of the fence) then another one stood on his back
Slid the top rail over and jumped over the fence. Then over the next few minutes each and every one of them jumped the fence then he simply got up and climbed over the now partly open gate.
This is a fantastic story & even better footage; thanks a lot for sharing! I think I'd like to visit your tortoises in Florida sometime...! :tort:

Wow, what a fantastic opportunity to learn for someone actually studying Aldabras in their home land.
This is great stuff, keep the information and pictures coming.
Thanks so much for sharing.

What diversity do you see in shell shapes, I have this one Aldabra and I have always wondered about him. What do you think?


You are always welcome to the farm I am in FT Lauderdale, Florida USA

Sam Pascucci
[hr]
Rover15 said:
Rover15 said:
Great thread I love learning and this deffinitly opened my eyes when buying a tortoise that is a couple years old. Do you have a thread started with the ideal enclosure set up that would be "interesting" enough to get them moving?
Cage size can be tricky and all of my experience is dealing with outdoor pens. That is because my farm is in South Florida.
Let me try to answer this by way of example. If you had a 7” Aldabra I would not put it in a pen 20’x20’ that pen is too big and I have seen just as much problems making pens too big for rearing young animals. I would like to see something at least 4’x8’ to as large as 6’x10’
Pen ornaments like Trees, rocks, and logs give some ground diversity and set up blind areas for them to explore. Keep in mind having things to climb over is great exercise but also can be very dangerous if they flip in the sun. also one of the most stimulating things they can have, is a cage mate or mates.
But I don’t like mixing different species and I don’t like mixing animals that are very different in size.
Mixing species I understand is a no no however you read a lot on this forum that tortoises are solatery animals and DO NOT need a "buddy" or "friend" now they do mention if you feel the need to add this "cage mates" that you go with a trio 1male 2females or other combenations. If you don't mind me asking why do you feel a cage mate(s) would help stimulate when most say it would just cause problems? I'm only curious in your point of view.

Here is my current setup for my almost 4" yellow foot

First half with my slate rock for feeding also has my CHE above and you can kind of see a hide in the bottom right corner



Here is the second half with live plants



I'm always worried about tipping this is why I kept my rocks level instead of a pile to climb over

It is in a 36L"x18W"x15H" I'm working on building a tort table I started with a 3'x3' layout but I want to try and go bigger. But what is your opinion as far as my set up goes?

P.s. I use tinypic.com to upload my pictures
Sorry I meant no disrespect in my comments about your setup or caring of your animals.
Sam Pascucci
 

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tortadise said:
Greg(ALDABRAMAN) and I talk and we both keep repeating the few words to each other that sums these giants up in proper care. "They have to be happy".
Thanks Greg, Thanks for inviting me to the forum. I respect so much the work you have done there, thanks for being a good friend and sharing your knowledge.

Sam Pascucci
* I have talked to both Sam and Kelly extensively about these giant tortoises and one thing for sure, we all share extreme passion for our shelled friends!

* I love to see these threads and interest regarding these gentle giants!


 

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The pattern looks more like an H then an upside down V you can also look at the pads on their rear feet, if their wearing on the sides of their feet their back legs are splayed. An animal that walks normally will put the entire pad on the ground not just the side.
 

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What diversity do you see in shell shapes, I have this one Aldabra and I have always wondered about him. What do you think?
I see all kinds of shapes; from 'nearly saddlebacked', to quite flat, to quite domed; from narrow (width-wise) to wide animals. Whether there is a heritable component to this we might know in a year or two, when a genetic analysis of many/most of Picard Island's population of ~2,000 animals is finished. There is a big difference between tortoises on Picard & Malabar (lower density, larger), and the ones on Grand Terre (higher density, smaller) in terms of size. Whether this is the result of availability of food, we hope to find out.
 

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Welcome to the forum. Great first few posts. There was an article on this very thing in the TTPG newsletter from last year. The article mentioned keeping an eye on the wear patterns on the rear feet and suggested the the damage starts with young giant tortoises being kept on soft, non-abrasive substrates. This allows their toenails to overgrow and causes them to walk improperly. The author suggested keeping the toenails of young giants properly trimmed if they are not wearing down on their own. The article explains it much better than me and has pics for illustrative purposes.

I wonder if you'd share your thoughts on a couple of points. Wellington hit one with the "buddy" thing. I have found that most species do fine in groups, especially as babies or juveniles. Where I have seen the most problems is when people attempt to keep pairs, of any sex combo, especially in small indoor enclosures. Would you agree?

Second topic: Your enclosure size recommendation. You mentioned that you thought a pen could be too big. What would be the harm in too large of a pen? I start brand new sulcata hatchlings in 4x8' planted enclosures. They will circle the perimeter several times in a few minutes. By the time my babies are 7", they are in 30x30' enclosures with hills, underground bunkers and multiple other features. I've just never heard that an enclosure could be too large, and since I intend to get into Galpos as soon as I can find a good source for hatchlings, I would love to gain from your experience. Greg and I had a conversation about why so many zoos fail to reproduce the giants. Two possibilities we discussed were too much foot traffic and the resulting lack of "comfort" in their environments, and the other was small enclosure size in relation to the size of the tortoises. I wouldn't keep a leopard tortoise in most of the enclosures that zoos keep their Galops in.

Thanks for sharing your experience with us. Glad to have you here.
 

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Sam, I just read your first post again, and after knowing that Tom has read the same article about this, I would like to know more. Do you have any picture showing the worn pattern between H and V shape posture for giant tortoise?
 

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Baoh said:
Sam, that is a great video. Did they have to turn left? As in, is there any obstruction that prevents them from going straight or to the right after climbing over?
Yes they had to make a right or left, the Iguana cages are in the way if they go stright.

What a great eye you have.

Sam Pascucci
[hr]
Baoh said:
Sam, that is a great video. Did they have to turn left? As in, is there any obstruction that prevents them from going straight or to the right after climbing over?
Yes they have to turn left or right the Iguana cages are in the way if they go stright, you have a good eye for detail.

Sam Pascucci
Thanks for the information. I was curious. If they had a choice of left versus right, then, but not straight due to obstruction, they could have gone either way. However, the fact that they all went left after the first one went left indicates that they either 1) had a monkey-see-monkey-do social aspect to the serial direction selection or 2) had something otherwise attractive on the left path relative to the right path. My feeling is that it is number one more than number two, but that is just my feeling.
 

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Baoh said:
Baoh said:
Sam, that is a great video. Did they have to turn left? As in, is there any obstruction that prevents them from going straight or to the right after climbing over?
Yes they had to make a right or left, the Iguana cages are in the way if they go stright.

What a great eye you have.

Sam Pascucci
[hr]
Baoh said:
Sam, that is a great video. Did they have to turn left? As in, is there any obstruction that prevents them from going straight or to the right after climbing over?
Yes they have to turn left or right the Iguana cages are in the way if they go stright, you have a good eye for detail.

Sam Pascucci
Thanks for the information. I was curious. If they had a choice of left versus right, then, but not straight due to obstruction, they could have gone either way. However, the fact that they all went left after the first one went left indicates that they either 1) had a monkey-see-monkey-do social aspect to the serial direction selection or 2) had something otherwise attractive on the left path relative to the right path. My feeling is that it is number one more than number two, but that is just my feeling.
You know what’s amazing how you can see something and not process it.
I never gave it a thought but your right everyone went left. What’s more peculiar is there is no specific reason to go left. You are looking at them in their “Home pen” the walkway in front of that pen leads to the main yard (either direction) they are let out into the main yard every few months during the year, so it’s not like they didn’t know where they were going. What’s more funny is when I open the gates to let them out in the main yard some go left some go right and some stay there for a whole day, there is no mad exit out of the yard. So the question is, why was this time different? The only explanations I can think of are, they knew it was an escape or all of them were tired of being in that yard and wanted to get to the grazing yard. The problem with the second idea is, it was pouring and late in the day which hardly seemed like a good time to graze. Which leaves the first idea, of all tortoises I have kept they are the most mischievous and I swear they know they are doing something wrong. Whether they are tearing down or jumping over fences, digging up or breaking water lines or escaping, when I find them they all take off like kids. It’s so funny to me, I always think where are you running to, how fast do you think you can get away?

Now this is getting into a little of my upcoming behavior stores but I believe there is some form of communication between them, even if it’s only observational and body language but too often we see them act as a group when something is happening. My Curator Kurt believes it goes beyond observational

Talking about the differences in Behavior. Now if this escape had been executed by the Galapagos first off I just don’t see that level of cooperation between them and second, when I come up on them, they would simply look at me like, what,,, I am supposed to be here whats your problem.

God these guys are fun and its great digging up these old stories.
 

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I am greatly looking forward to your behavioral observations too. I am an animal trainer by trade, so studying and reading tortoise behavior is particularly interesting to me. I also have my own thoughts on the matter, and I find it interesting how little some tortoise keepers consider the behavior of their tortoises. I guess its the same with most people and their pet dogs. There are worlds of information present, that most people never even consider.
 

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Amazing stories you have...And that video was very interesting. Judging by what you have to say, and my own experiences, I think our shelled friends are way smarter then people give them credit for. I just don't think they are as good at expressing it, nor is it as easy to see in them, as animals such as cats and dogs. I wish all of the people out there that vehemently insist tortoises are completely void of emotion, or any measurable intelligence (sadly, there are some of those on this very forum :() would read all of this.
 

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Hey Sam, glad to see you on the board. I visited you in December 2011, and you gave us a great tour of your facilities.
 

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Hi Sam. Welcome to the forum. I can see that you are going to be a great member. I love to hear about your experiences and your ideas about tortoise behavior. :cool:
 
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