Strange Behavior

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Carol S

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Hi:

DESCRIPTION OF WHAT IS GOING ON:
My newest Russian female (neighbor gave her to me around 3 weeks ago) acts like she is hyperactive. She is almost the size of my grown Russian females, however, she is still growing as she has a growth ring. She doesn’t walk – she runs. She eats super fast. Everything she does seems in warp speed compared to my other tortoises.

She is very personable towards me. She follows me around the enclosure. She stands on her back feet and puts her front feet on my leg, stretching her neck up looking at me, begging for a treat.

My only complaint with her is that she seems to be somewhat of a bully towards my other Russian tortoises. My male Russian wanted to mate with her today and she became somewhat aggressive towards him. My male Russian is not aggressive during mating. (I have heard Russian males can be very aggressive during mating towards the female.) When she became aggressive my male backed off and she ran away. A week ago she acted like she wanted to mate with him (head bobbing, staying close to him), however, at that time he did not seem interested.

If it wasn’t for the fact that my husband saw my male mate with my oldest female last year, I would think that he didn’t know what to do or he was too old or something else was wrong with him. I have seen him approach my other three females, but he doesn’t pursue them if they want to get away (my other three females are not aggressive at all).

QUESTIONS:
Has anyone seen a tortoise act like I have described my new female with her running everywhere, eating fast, etc? Is it perhaps her age, although I have a 3-year-old Russian and he doesn’t act like that.

Also, will she stop being a bully? She was the only tortoise that my neighbors had (they had her for about one year). They bought her from a man who was selling around 5 or 6 Russian tortoises in front of the pet store.

I spend a lot of time observing her and my other tortoises and I intervene when I see her act like a bully. I tap the top of her shell and push her back. I am hoping that she will think it is the other tortoise fighting back and that she will learn to leave them along. As mentioned above, I have only had her for around 3 weeks and I am hoping that she will settle in and behave herself.

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated regarding her strange behavior. If anyone has any feedback regarding the mating behavior of my male I would appreciate it.

Thanks

Carol :)
 

October

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When you add to new tort to the mix, the dominance hierarchy is thrown out of whack. I would imagine that if you let things progress normally, she'll find her place and that will be the end of it. Are you sure she is female?

As far as hyperactivity, maybe she's just ecstatic about her new place? How was she kept previously?
 

Carol S

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October said:
When you add to new tort to the mix, the dominance hierarchy is thrown out of whack. I would imagine that if you let things progress normally, she'll find her place and that will be the end of it. Are you sure she is female?

As far as hyperactivity, maybe she's just ecstatic about her new place? How was she kept previously?

The neighbors kept her in an enclosure outside that was about 6 foot x 5 foot.

I am sure she is a female as she has the same kind of tail as my other three adult females.

Carol
 

October

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Well, I don't know why she'd be hyper then. Maybe she's just a super active kinda gal. ;) But the good news is that if there is no male to male dominance everything should sort out in the end. Just keep an eye out for anything excessive.
 

dmmj

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Carol S said:
October said:
When you add to new tort to the mix, the dominance hierarchy is thrown out of whack. I would imagine that if you let things progress normally, she'll find her place and that will be the end of it. Are you sure she is female?

As far as hyperactivity, maybe she's just ecstatic about her new place? How was she kept previously?

The neighbors kept her in an enclosure outside that was about 6 foot x 5 foot.

I am sure she is a female as she has the same kind of tail as my other three adult females.

Carol
LOL I was gonna ask are you sure it is a female, because it sounds like a male to me. I would imagine it is trying to establish herself as the big dog on campus.
 

GBtortoises

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Sounds exactly like a male. Can you post some photos of "her" tail region? Females will act like males when they are in season to breed but very, very rarely any other time. And are you certain that your male is a male? I've never seen or heard of a passive male Russian when it comes to breeding! Some don't aggressively defend their territory so much but when it comes to breeding they are almost always relentless.

Some female Testudo, Russians included will sometimes defend a chosen nesting spot, although usually weakly. When an entire group is female one will usually become the dominant member, again usually it is a weak dominance. When a male is added this same female will often try to assert it's dominance on the male. It usually isn't long before the male will take control at which time he will often mount the dominant female which is a sign of him taking control.
 

October

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Also, you said your tort is about 3. That may be too early to start showing outward signs of gender. They know long before we do if they are male or female. Could be "she" just hasn't developed yet.
 

Carol S

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October said:
Also, you said your tort is about 3. That may be too early to start showing outward signs of gender. They know long before we do if they are male or female. Could be "she" just hasn't developed yet.

Hi:

You misunderstood her age. I was comparing her behavior to my 3 year old Russian. She is just about the same size as my largest adult female who is over 20 years old. She is still growing as she has a growth ring. She probably will wind up being the largest female. I was comparing her to my 3 year old Russian as I thought that perhaps when they are young they are more active and bratty acting, however, my 3 year old Russian does not act hyperactive like she does.

Thanks for the information.

Carol :tort:



GBtortoises said:
Sounds exactly like a male. Can you post some photos of "her" tail region? Females will act like males when they are in season to breed but very, very rarely any other time. And are you certain that your male is a male? I've never seen or heard of a passive male Russian when it comes to breeding! Some don't aggressively defend their territory so much but when it comes to breeding they are almost always relentless.

Some female Testudo, Russians included will sometimes defend a chosen nesting spot, although usually weakly. When an entire group is female one will usually become the dominant member, again usually it is a weak dominance. When a male is added this same female will often try to assert it's dominance on the male. It usually isn't long before the male will take control at which time he will often mount the dominant female which is a sign of him taking control.

Hi:

She has the same kind of tail as my other 3 adult Russian females and she is almost as large as my largest female and is still growing as she has a growth ring. She is probably going to wind up being the largest female.

I am sure my male is a male as he has a super long tail and last September he mated with my oldest female. This summer he hasn't seemed to really pursue the females. He seems interested - bobs his head and climbs on their shell, but when the females walk away he gives up and doesn't pursue them. I got all my adult Russians in July 2010 (except for my newest one which is the one that is being the brat). He could be mating when I am at work. My husband was the one who saw him mating lasting summer. If it wasn't for that I would think he didn't know how or there was something wrong with him.

Thanks for the information. I will post a picture if I can figure out how to do it.

Carol :tort:
 
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