Andromeda (now Marco) the Aldabra Tortoise

wellington

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Congrats on one of your dream torts. Looks like you did a lot of research and took in all the correct info for him/her.
I hope you will reconsider and do the same with the dog/tort debate. Why not? It's too easy to just keep the dog out when you are not around. If nothing ever happens, great. But if something does happen. Well, your tort pays for it and will be scared for life, in pain, and all for something that could have been prevented. Animal instincts always kick in at some point. The problem is, when it does, your tort pays for it. So why not just play it safe.
Btw, besides Aldabramans professional training experience. Tom also is an animal trainer, not just of dogs, but many animals. The knowledge of animal instinct is over flowing on this forum.
 

Tolis

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Thank you all for sharing your experiences and concerns for my little buddy.

I am not a certified dog trainer like Tom and Graig are, but I did a lot of research when I got the dog.
I watched hours and hours of Cesar Millan and other trainers' videos, learned how dog minds work, and I did start him right. Same way I learned how reptile minds work and didn't get a friend for my Aldabra even though it would only cost me a few hundred dollars more. I never taught him the military type of commands instead I taught him cute tricks but I did teach him obedience and he knows the limits and his place in the pack.
He is a fetch addict, he loves playing with and chewing tennis balls. The vet says his teeth look as if he is chewing on rocks because all day long he has a ball in his mouth. He walks for miles twice a day.

If I lock him in a cage with a tortoise for a week then he will kill the tortoise out of frustration. If your dog gets ample training, exercise, stimulation, attention, affection then he will obey and behave.
 

Tolis

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Today was the coldest day of the year. The highest temp all day was 60F and tonight will drop to 50F. I opened his door to see if he wanted out to eat but he chose to spend the whole day inside. Lately, he even gets inside by himself in the afternoon and lays next to the heater. Smart boy :p

I know it is not possible to overfeed but if it is then I am doing it!

He is so spoiled he has not eaten a single hibiscus or mulberry leaf since the day I got him. He prefers mallow, cactus pads, and flowers.

Before and after meal
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Who said tortoises don't celebrate Christmas?:tort::<3::tort::<3::tort:
 

TammyJ

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Today was the coldest day of the year. The highest temp all day was 60F and tonight will drop to 50F. I opened his door to see if he wanted out to eat but he chose to spend the whole day inside. Lately, he even gets inside by himself in the afternoon and lays next to the heater. Smart boy :p

I know it is not possible to overfeed but if it is then I am doing it!

He is so spoiled he has not eaten a single hibiscus or mulberry leaf since the day I got him. He prefers mallow, cactus pads, and flowers.

Before and after meal
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Who said tortoises don't celebrate Christmas?:tort::<3::tort::<3::tort:
They don't. You do. If I was the tortoise that would drive me insane and maybe blind too!
Sorry, no offense meant.
 

Tolis

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They don't. You do. If I was the tortoise that would drive me insane and maybe blind too!
Sorry, no offense meant.
Thanks for the warning I never thought of that but no worries it's on a timer starting long after he is locked in the box. I always welcome all criticism that is why I created this thread so I can improve.
 

Tolis

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I have been postponing an update for a while because I first wanted to install a pair of gas struts I got for the box. In order to do that I need to take apart the top and 2 side panels, strip off the insulation, add framing where the struts will be screwed on, assemble everything again. I have been busy/lazy lately so that project is still pending. I wish I thought of this provision when I was constructing the box... Well, the second one will be perfect!


The tort seems to be doing ok, slowly but steadily gaining weight. I don't know if the growth rate is healthy but at least he is growing.

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His enclosure's baby leaf salad mix garden is flourishing but he ignores it (the picture is staged hehe). 95% of his diet is opuntia pads and 5% hibiscus blossoms. I try to introduce some collard greens, radish leaves, he ignores them. Mallow was one of his favorites but I haven't seen him nibbling on it lately.

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It's been really cold at night goes down to 38-41F (3-5C). The little oil radiator is working non-stop and manages to raise the temps up to 77F(25C) which is sufficient. I added a heat mat in one corner that was approximately 85-90F (30-33C) warm. He only used it the second night then avoided it so I removed it a few weeks later. Thankfully we get lots of sunshine during the daytime, temps go up to 65F(18C) so he comes out between 10 am-3 pm to eat and bask and usually goes back inside by himself unless he decides to hide in a bush.
Last week was cloudy and rainy, he didn't leave the box for 2 days. He didn't even move a muscle. He likes to always park at the same spot around and next to the radiator.
The dirt in the corner has roselle hibiscus seeds. I am trying to germinate them early on so they are monsters in August. This plant I learned from one of Tom's post, check it out. Even though I have never seen it grown before I am hoping it will do well in my area.

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I have finally finished the adjacent greek tort enclosure. I can now separate the male from the female before that mad rapist wakes up in a couple of months.
The next project I need to get my head around is the pond. The summer sun is very hot and temps can often go over 100F. I envision a 2x2 ft concrete pond in the corner with a bottom pipe for easy drainage. I will need to also cover it on top with some shade cloth otherwise the tort is just gonna boil in there.

Let me know if you have any suggestions on the pond design.

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Tolis

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Greetings tortoise lovers, today is a special day we just hit the 1 kilo milestone! In 5 months he more than doubled in weight and is on his way to becoming a little tank 🐢. And that was during winter months, I assume the growth will be even faster now.

I suspect the seller lied about his age, how can he be 500 grams at 2 years old and 1kg 5 months later. I am sure he wasnt being fed so well but still... Perhaps there's a law on how young they should be before exporting them or he thought I would mind if he said it was younger..who knows.

The spring has finally arrived, the temps are reaching around 32C/90F and the past week at night it was only falling to 17C/62F so I am leaving him sleep outside.

The echiums are getting out of hand but the tort and bees seem to enjoy them so I am hesitant to prune them. He spent last night outside 55F/12C because it was dark and we couldnt find him thankfully he seems fine today.

Next update will likely be the pond build! I will probably not make a drain as I initially planned just a food grade concrete pond 40-50cm deep with a smooth ramp to easily get in and out and just pump the old water out every week or so. If needed will pressure wash the algae and slime.

I hope you and your torts are well and healthy! ❤

P.s you can see him eating if you zoom in the base of the tree!
 

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Tolis

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If I was a tortoise that would SCARE the heck outta me!!!
Poor tortoise..😭
Yes the suffering is immense poor tort 🤣
I replied to Tammy check it out chef. The tort never saw those lights.

And btw everything, LITERALLY EVERYTHING scares the **** out of that tortoise. It's been living in constant anxiety since the day it has arrived and will most likely remain that way forever.
If I introduce a second aldabra it will completely change personality and become more social and relaxed around humans. But they will eventually start fighting and have to be separated when they sexually mature.
Something for everyone to keep in mind if thinking of getting an aldabra, or two, or more...
 

Sue Ann

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I've never had the pleasure of caring for an Aldabra, but it could be the presence of the dog - for now - might be a stress-producing event for the tortoise. But your meticulous attention to duplicating the natural environment is admirable.
I’m in the process of having a new nightbox built, enjoy seeing yours.
I would strongly suggest you keep Dexter away from your little guy. Jacks especially are fast and are hunters. We get lots of bad stories here about torts injuries from trusted dogs in the blink of an eye.
Guarantee Dexter causes stress for the tort.
 

Sue Ann

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Suc
Hello, friends hope you all had a nice weekend. The little guy is healthy and always hungry. He must have never tasted opuntia before because he can't have enough of it! He also likes all kinds of flowers growing in our garden, bougainvillea, geranium, snapdragon, I just check on the tortoise table and if it's safe I feed it.

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It was a green weekend for us. I planted lots of edibles so I don't have to buy greens especially when he is a 400-pound eating machine.

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I have no idea what's in the package. There were various sizes of seeds. I will post some pics when they start growing.

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I planted lots of spineless (allegedly) opuntia cactus.

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A couple of vines

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A total of 9 hibiscuses around the property

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A mulberry tree

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Spoiler of the new enclosure currently under construction

That's all for now. See you on the next update!

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Such a cute face!
 

Relic

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Regarding your pond, I would think long and hard about a drain. I have a little pool in my box turtle pen and I honestly can't imagine not having a drain. It makes it super-simple to clean (a weekly event). I built the pool on the side of a slight incline in the pen, making it easy to have a drain that exits below the pool and drains away. My only regret is using 1" PVC pipe - it can get clogged with leaves, etc. requiring a lot of me poking metal rods down into the drain pipe to dislodge the plug. I would use 3" pipe if I ever build another one; it will drain super fast and everything will go out with the tide. Your other issue will be building it large enough to accommodate a growing behemoth...best of luck, and keep those pictures coming.

And dogs? I had the sweetest female German Shepard dog many years ago. She had shown no interest in turtles whatsoever...until...one day she discovered they tasted much like chew-bones and got one out of the pen and carried it around with her, chewing on the shell to her heart's content. Turtle was saved, severe repercussions ensued, and it never happened again. Like a wise old-timer once said: "You never know what a dog is thinking..."
 

Tolis

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I’m in the process of having a new nightbox built, enjoy seeing yours.
I would strongly suggest you keep Dexter away from your little guy. Jacks especially are fast and are hunters. We get lots of bad stories here about torts injuries from trusted dogs in the blink of an eye.
Guarantee Dexter causes stress for the tort.
Thank you for the kind warning Sue Ann. Im sure most dogs are not safe to be left alone with torts but you will see there's some keepers here that do it successfully and the torts get used to being around dogs. He has been around torts for 10 years and never harmed one, he won't do it now. He hunts lizards birds cats all day long but recognizes that torts belong to the pack.
He only approaches the torts when I do otherwise he ignores them so I dont worry about him causing extra stress to the aldabra. The greeks are so used to the dog that today they were mating right next to him and he got spooked when the male started head bumbing the female you should have seen his face 😂

I am attaching a couple of tips I have from my personal experience if you are planning to build a box. It's a screenshot from one of Tom's theads. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have.
 

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Tolis

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Regarding your pond, I would think long and hard about a drain. I have a little pool in my box turtle pen and I honestly can't imagine not having a drain. It makes it super-simple to clean (a weekly event). I built the pool on the side of a slight incline in the pen, making it easy to have a drain that exits below the pool and drains away. My only regret is using 1" PVC pipe - it can get clogged with leaves, etc. requiring a lot of me poking metal rods down into the drain pipe to dislodge the plug. I would use 3" pipe if I ever build another one; it will drain super fast and everything will go out with the tide. Your other issue will be building it large enough to accommodate a growing behemoth...best of luck, and keep those pictures coming.

And dogs? I had the sweetest female German Shepard dog many years ago. She had shown no interest in turtles whatsoever...until...one day she discovered they tasted much like chew-bones and got one out of the pen and carried it around with her, chewing on the shell to her heart's content. Turtle was saved, severe repercussions ensued, and it never happened again. Like a wise old-timer once said: "You never know what a dog is thinking..."
Wow, I'm surprised to hear that happened after 9 years living with the torts...I will keep that in mind, thankfully the tortoise was saved but I'm sure that was a terrible experience.

The problem with the drainage is that the pen is around 20-30cm higher than the rest of the field, if I make the pond 40cm deep then the drain will be underground. Can you share a pic of your pond please?
 

Relic

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The sides are steep, but box turtles can easily enter and exit. I suspect your fellow will need more gentle sides...
 

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Tolis

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My little man is growing heavier everyday.
I am spoiling him with watermelon once a week for hydration. He seems to be taking the summer heat just fine even though I didnt build him the pond I promised. I never see him chilling in his water like my greeks do and since I am gonna build him a proper pond when I move to my house I didnt bother building one this summer. My spine is not helping either I will undergo a surgery in September.

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