Aggressive Tortoise

Dollyd

New Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2021
Messages
2
Location (City and/or State)
Lancashire
Hi All

I have a Herman's Tortoise. He is 4 years old. We have never had any issues with aggression until about 3 weeks ago. He is constantly climbing and seems agitated a lot of the time. He has started biting a bit as well. Any suggestion why he maybe doing this would be great. Thanks Karen
 

LeahK

Active Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2020
Messages
78
Location (City and/or State)
Berkeley CA
It could be a lot of things - if you send pictures of your enclosure, lights, and information about food etc, then it would help.
 

zolasmum

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
May 19, 2015
Messages
305
Hi All

I have a Herman's Tortoise. He is 4 years old. We have never had any issues with aggression until about 3 weeks ago. He is constantly climbing and seems agitated a lot of the time. He has started biting a bit as well. Any suggestion why he maybe doing this would be great. Thanks Karen
Hello from Devon. Our Herman's is 21, and at about the same age as yours he started behaving differently. We realised he was developing into a boy , rather than a baby any more. He got very active , and like yours , sometimes a bit aggressive. He also started climbing on things, and trying to mate with very unsuitable objects. Do you know for sure he is a male? We found that out at that time,too !!
Also this hot weather seems to agitate Zola a bit, and yours may be the same.
Zola has calmed down a lot over the years, but he still gets his moods - we call them
"I don't know what I want, but I want it NOW !!"moods.
Angie
 

Dollyd

New Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2021
Messages
2
Location (City and/or State)
Lancashire
Hello from Devon. Our Herman's is 21, and at about the same age as yours he started behaving differently. We realised he was developing into a boy , rather than a baby any more. He got very active , and like yours , sometimes a bit aggressive. He also started climbing on things, and trying to mate with very unsuitable objects. Do you know for sure he is a male? We found that out at that time,too !!
Also this hot weather seems to agitate Zola a bit, and yours may be the same.
Zola has calmed down a lot over the years, but he still gets his moods - we call them
"I don't know what I want, but I want it NOW !!"moods.
Angie
Hi Angie

Thanks for the reply. Yes he is a boy and is called Dennis. He is doing exactly what yours did so maybe it is an age/boy thing! Did you do anything different?
 

zolasmum

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
May 19, 2015
Messages
305
Hi Angie

Thanks for the reply. Yes he is a boy and is called Dennis. He is doing exactly what yours did so maybe it is an age/boy thing! Did you do anything different?
Hello again - I don't think we did anything special - just hoped time would help - and it did. Zola is now a very friendly and laid-back tortoise - most of the time, anyway. He can still get rather frantic, for no obvious reason, and we try to distract him with food or cuddles -but sometimes we have to let him wear himself out. It does seem that the air pressure affects him, and he is rather more unsettled at the moment by the heat.
He should feel better now the weather is changing, and your Dennis may well be the same - in which case you have to accept that is how he is !
If not, then think about other things you could try changing.
Best wishes to you and Dennis
 

Krista S

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Joined
Aug 4, 2019
Messages
844
Location (City and/or State)
Saskatchewan
Hi All

I have a Herman's Tortoise. He is 4 years old. We have never had any issues with aggression until about 3 weeks ago. He is constantly climbing and seems agitated a lot of the time. He has started biting a bit as well. Any suggestion why he maybe doing this would be great. Thanks Karen
Welcome to the forum, Karen!

I have a 2 year old Hermann’s who grew rather quickly. He was showing off his boy parts already around 20 months old. Along with this seems to be the hormones like you are describing. My sweet little tortoise turned into a raging lunatic, seemingly overnight. He’s become incredibly territorial of his enclosure and if he’s been awake for more than 20 minutes and I do any tending to in his enclosure he comes charging like a bull in a China shop trying to bite me. At times he will even lunge towards me to try and bite my hands. During this change he’s gone from being afraid of most things, to being afraid of nothing. He can make trouble out of anything and is constantly trying to climb on things. As @zolasmum mentioned, my tortoise has also been trying to mate with things in his enclosure. I don’t quite understand it, but the only logical explanation in my situation seems to be hormones. I am hoping he will settle down with time. I just have to leave him be more than I used to. Anyhow, I just wanted to assure you that you’re not alone. I’d love to see a picture of your little guy, if you wouldn’t mind sharing! Have you had Dennis since he was a hatchling?
 

zolasmum

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
May 19, 2015
Messages
305
Hi Karen - I remember that when Zola got especially worked up, I would often hold out a tempting radicchio leaf (his favourite food) and that would distract him - sometimes then we were able to put him somewhere different for awhile, too - a change of scene sometimes made him forget what he was agitated about. Maybe a bath would work? If you met Zola now, you wouldn't believe he ever got like that. Treat Dennis as a teenage human terror - I'm sure he will grow out of it !
I would love to see a photo too.
Angie
 
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