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Why not to keep 2 tortoises together - a lesson learned the hard way

DutchieAmanda

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Oct 21, 2014
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I connected two tortoise houses end to end, creating an enclosure with 6 square feet of space, including two hide spaces on opposite sides so they could avoid each other. Interestingly, at night they usually shelter on the same side. I've seen some minor dominance displays and bumping, but nothing on-going or serious, certainly no combat injuries at all. I think the key is having two females.
The sleeping together could also be a sign of bullying. I'm no expert but @Tom knows a lot more about tortoise behaviour.

Also I don't think newspaper is a very good substrate. They cannot dig into it and there's the risk of them eating the paper (and ink).

Your torts look cute though!
 

KatyshaB

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Apr 5, 2016
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It's never a good idea to keep them together.
Biochemnerd, I'm gonna be honest. A few months ago I recently adopted a female Russian Tortoise for my male (for breeding purposes) I proceeded to put them together. The male was showing signs of mating, but I thought it would only happen for a few days and then he would stop. I was wrong! I was looking up stuff about tortoises when I stumbled across your blog. (*Tortaddiction) I proceeded to read it. After reading it I realized my mistake and then separated them as soon as I could. My male (Bosley) had hurt her, not severely but he hurt her eye so she couldn't open it! :eek: It's getting better now, but she can't open it all the way still. But she is certainly making progress healing. But imagine what would have happened to her if I HADN'T read your post. You may have saved my tortoise from suffering more and getting hurt more. Thank you.
 

Geri

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Aug 28, 2016
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Thanks for the info! I just got my 1st RT a week ago, a male that's 3. I was all set to get him a "girlfriend " but now, no way!! I'll just spoil Bob! I wouldn't want him to get hurt!
 

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NiinaHawk

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May 17, 2015
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Finland
I have more than one tortoise in same area. They have lots of spece where then can be. I haven't notised any bulling, biting etc. Ofcourse they need separate if they starting to bulling others. I have seen that one male and 4 girls is good group to keep together.
Or 6 girls and 1 male. Almost all my tortoises have come here cause their owners can't keep them anymore.

Sorry for my bad englis, i'm from finland and i try to practice my english skills and find a people to talk about tortoises.
 

Tom

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I have more than one tortoise in same area. They have lots of spece where then can be. I haven't notised any bulling, biting etc. Ofcourse they need separate if they starting to bulling others. I have seen that one male and 4 girls is good group to keep together.
Or 6 girls and 1 male. Almost all my tortoises have come here cause their owners can't keep them anymore.

Sorry for my bad englis, i'm from finland and i try to practice my english skills and find a people to talk about tortoises.
Groups are different than pairs.
 

NiinaHawk

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I have pairs too. Two female are good pair or female and male, but never keep two male together.
 

Allecto

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Sep 26, 2016
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I really enjoyed this post, I have a female Russian and one of the things I liked was that I read over and over again that Russians were okay if kept in female only groups, or one male to a harem of girls. It looks like this is only true with a somewhat generous definition of 'okay'. I certainly don't think my female is lonely, so that helps as well.
 

stephkesh

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my female died earlier this year. I wonder if this is why. My male was constantly after her :(
 

Yvonne G

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my female died earlier this year. I wonder if this is why. My male was constantly after her :(
Aw, that's too bad. I'm afraid you'll never know for sure, but there's a very good chance he pestered her so much she stopped eating.
 

LeaderSama

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Feb 10, 2017
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Daejeon, In Korea
Thank you for this post. I agree about it.
I have been a beginner and grown two turtles. After 6 months of living together, suddenly, one turtle has slept all day.

When I called a pet shop, they suggested growing turtles separately. I have made them live in their own space.
It seems that everything is better than before.:tort:
 

Vanessa Schnautz

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Nov 25, 2016
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I've been watching the adoption sites/craigslist waiting for spring, and I saw a craigslist add for a male/female pair that have apparently been living together for 5 years. After reading all this, it sounds odd. I can't imaging how 5 years later, they are both still healthy.
 

Yvonne G

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Thank you for this post. I agree about it.
I have been a beginner and grown two turtles. After 6 months of living together, suddenly, one turtle has slept all day.

When I called a pet shop, they suggested growing turtles separately. I have made them live in their own space.
It seems that everything is better than before.:tort:
Wow. . . a pet shop that gave good advice. Glad to hear things are going better since you separated them.
 

Yvonne G

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I've been watching the adoption sites/craigslist waiting for spring, and I saw a craigslist add for a male/female pair that have apparently been living together for 5 years. After reading all this, it sounds odd. I can't imaging how 5 years later, they are both still healthy.
You just never know. It sometimes works out ok.
 

Tom

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I've been watching the adoption sites/craigslist waiting for spring, and I saw a craigslist add for a male/female pair that have apparently been living together for 5 years. After reading all this, it sounds odd. I can't imaging how 5 years later, they are both still healthy.
If you got 1000 adult males and housed them as pairs with 1000 adult females, some small percentage of those 1000 pairs would survive. You might even be able to call some of them "healthy". But the vast majority of those 1000 enclosures would be either empty, or housing a single occupant at the end of 5 years. Most of the survivors would not be thriving if still being housed as a pair.

There are so many variables in how people house them too. Green iguanas serve as a good example here. Most people don't house them correctly. Many of these animals survive and seem very tame and gentle. Give the lizard to someone who starts housing and caring for it correctly, and suddenly the formerly "nice" pet becomes an aggressive wild animal that doesn't want to be touched anymore. Seen it many times. Same thing with some tortoises that are surviving in less than ideal conditions.
 

Callumjj

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Mar 4, 2017
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I have a 2 year old girl called mimi and a boy called tommy hes 3 can my girl still have babys at that age because my male keeps trying to get on top off her please could somone help me they have only been together a day what should i do
 

SarahChelonoidis

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Those tortoises look older than two and three - regardless, I would separate them asap. Russians can do serious harm to each other.
 

cmac3

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I have a 2 year old girl called mimi and a boy called tommy hes 3 can my girl still have babys at that age because my male keeps trying to get on top off her please could somone help me they have only been together a day what should i do
You should separate them.
 
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