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Tortoise bit off the head of cage mate.

Lyn W

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So sorry to hear this - it is very upsetting.
Please separate the others asap or you'll lose another.
 

Beasty_Artemis

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Aug 23, 2016
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Wow!
I was the most surprised of all when I read the post about red foots.....
But scavenging seems more likely. But I really wouldn't know anything to contribute. I've only ever had Artemis. Now I'm never letting her/ he have herd mates.
Has anyone ever witness two red foots torts face off in such an extreme fight? I thought that they were tolerant of other red foots compared to other species. Well I never want to see something like that happen! I hope it was just scavenging!
 

gilamonsterxxl

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May 19, 2019
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Let me start by saying sorry for your loss.

I have been keeping reptiles of many sorts for decades. The one rule I can say is “if it can happen it will eventually happen”.

I would suggest that if you see any aggression, it will most likely get worse before it gets better. It’s not worth the chance to hope for the best.
 

Koopa And Roxie

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Surprise
Hi I'm new to this website and I've never seen anything like this before. My male Moroccan Greek Tortoise, Koopa will often beat up (ram or bite) my other tort, a female Sulcata, Roxie. But I didn't know it could be this lethal. Were they outside when this happened? I so it could have been a cat or something. Are they all the same species? If not depending on their size and bit force it could be possible one of her tank mates did this.

Sorry about your loss. :(
 

TechnoCheese

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Lewisville, Texas
Hi I'm new to this website and I've never seen anything like this before. My male Moroccan Greek Tortoise, Koopa will often beat up (ram or bite) my other tort, a female Sulcata, Roxie. But I didn't know it could be this lethal. Were they outside when this happened? I so it could have been a cat or something. Are they all the same species? If not depending on their size and bit force it could be possible one of her tank mates did this.

Sorry about your loss. :(
Please be sure that you’re tortoises do not have access to each other. Tortoises, especially the species you listed, are solitary creatures that should never be kept in pairs. In addition, it is extremely dangerous for species to be mixed because of their different care and pathogens, which can be fatal to either tortoise.

If they are being housed together, definitely get them separated. They should never be in a position where they’re able to attack each other, or come in contact in general.
 

Koopa And Roxie

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Please be sure that you’re tortoises do not have access to each other. Tortoises, especially the species you listed, are solitary creatures that should never be kept in pairs. In addition, it is extremely dangerous for species to be mixed because of their different care and pathogens, which can be fatal to either tortoise.

If they are being housed together, definitely get them separated. They should never be in a position where they’re able to attack each other, or come in contact in general.

Yeah, I got Koopa in 2015, and Roxie in 2017, thought Koopa was lonely. But he wasn't. He was just grumpy. We've got two different cages for them though.
 

Koopa And Roxie

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Yeah, both torts have an indoor cage and an outdoor enclosure. But I always need to keep an eye on the temp sometimes they overheat when their pool is filled.
 

Stoneman

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I have a few questions, I am sorry to open old wounds, but I just want to rule some things out.

Did you have pets or younger children that had potential access to the enclosure? I noticed that this was speculated throughout the post but never really answered.

How much of a size difference was there between the decapitated and the ones who are remaining?

Thanks for your time, sorry about your loss. You want to keep them in trios or solitary. I think you can revisit putting them together with a new one as a trio once you can determine what the problem was.

Good luck
 

No1much

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Sep 24, 2019
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Cardiff
I'm late to this post but I feel like this might be useful to anyone thinking of keeping 2 together in future (even a male with females)

I purchased my 2 Russians from the same pet shop the same day and they were kept in the same cage with one other. I'm moving in 3 weeks and the pet shop owner, who seemed a really knowledgeable guy, said that as they've always been together that they're be fine together for another few months. At first they were ok. Then small things happened like one laying on the food bowl, always watching each other, climbing on each other stuff like that. I just thought they were "friends" I've never had torts and was naive. Then one day the female (who's a good inch smaller than the male) came up and layed her head on the front of his shell. I watched and thought how cute it was and maybe I should take a pic. Next thing I know she stands up tall stretches out her head and gets right in the front of his shell and bites down HARD on the skin between his head and shoulder right inside the shell. He couldn't retract or anything as she chomped. I picked them up and could barely separate them. I'm convinced she was trying to kill him as she would not release even when I picked them both up. It was horrible I'm so glad I was there. I separated them immediately and never let them even see each other. I'm lucky she didn't do any damage as they're only a year old. If she'd been bigger or I wasn't there it'd probably be a similar story. The pet shop owner said he'd never seen or heard anything like it and they were fine together with the other female.
 

Professor Brenda

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Pflugerville, Texas
I'm late to this post but I feel like this might be useful to anyone thinking of keeping 2 together in future (even a male with females)

I purchased my 2 Russians from the same pet shop the same day and they were kept in the same cage with one other. I'm moving in 3 weeks and the pet shop owner, who seemed a really knowledgeable guy, said that as they've always been together that they're be fine together for another few months. At first they were ok. Then small things happened like one laying on the food bowl, always watching each other, climbing on each other stuff like that. I just thought they were "friends" I've never had torts and was naive. Then one day the female (who's a good inch smaller than the male) came up and layed her head on the front of his shell. I watched and thought how cute it was and maybe I should take a pic. Next thing I know she stands up tall stretches out her head and gets right in the front of his shell and bites down HARD on the skin between his head and shoulder right inside the shell. He couldn't retract or anything as she chomped. I picked them up and could barely separate them. I'm convinced she was trying to kill him as she would not release even when I picked them both up. It was horrible I'm so glad I was there. I separated them immediately and never let them even see each other. I'm lucky she didn't do any damage as they're only a year old. If she'd been bigger or I wasn't there it'd probably be a similar story. The pet shop owner said he'd never seen or heard anything like it and they were fine together with the other female.
Thank you for sharing what must have been a harrowing experience.
 

No1much

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I shared because there were a few people who seemed to think that maybe it was caused by a third party like a cat or child and this may lead to people researching whether it's ok to keep two Russians together to think that "they'll be ok together" like I did. They won't be they can be viscous to each other. Always keep separate. Even if they've been together forever they're animals and they can be unpredictable.
 

Sa Ga

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Nov 19, 2019
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MN
Russians have incredibly strong bites. I don't know that they would eat each other (they are strict vegetarians), but if one got a hold of the other w/ her neck out, I do not doubt she could snap it in her territorial rage...

I'm so sorry and thank you for sharing. May others learn from your loss and may they learn that a seemingly small squabble today may lead to massacre tomorrow.
 

Charlie's pal

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Jan 22, 2020
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Atlanta, GA
I am so sorry for the loss of your tortoise. I am new to tortoise keeping and just joined the forum. I am sure the experienced keepers have the best advice about keeping tortoises separate but I wanted to share a thought. I used to raise quail and predators were getting to the birds in their outdoor enclosure. I thought it might have been a raccoon or cat because they would try to pull the birds through the cage. I brought them inside the basement thinking they were safe. It turned out that rats were attracted to the food and found a way to get in the basement. They killed another young bird devouring the head and leaving the rest of the body. The exterminator said that a large rat can do a lot of damage. Just a thought. I hope things are going well with your other tortoises.
 

Sa Ga

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Joined
Nov 19, 2019
Messages
210
Location (City and/or State)
MN
Hi I'm new to this website and I've never seen anything like this before. My male Moroccan Greek Tortoise, Koopa will often beat up (ram or bite) my other tort, a female Sulcata, Roxie. But I didn't know it could be this lethal. Were they outside when this happened? I so it could have been a cat or something. Are they all the same species? If not depending on their size and bit force it could be possible one of her tank mates did this.

Sorry about your loss. :(
I sure hope you separate them asap! Even if he doesn't kill her, imagine how stressful it is for Roxie to get attacked! Please please please find a way to keep access to each other barred.
 

Sa Ga

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Nov 19, 2019
Messages
210
Location (City and/or State)
MN
Tortoises dont want or need friends. Best to keep single or in a group of one Male to several females and even then they may all need to be housed alone.
That's what this was....
 

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