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Can Sulcatas smell one another from different areas?

Discussion in 'Sulcata tortoises' started by Mike05, Feb 3, 2019.

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  1. Mike05

    Mike05 Member

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    Hey there. I've only posted in the redfoot threads but here I am with a question. A little back story. I have had a big male for about 25 years now. Used to have two but one passed of unknown causes many years ago. So I'm up in Virginia and have my big male inside the house over the winter. Summer he has free roam of the majority of the backyard. A few years ago I tried putting another male in with him thinking my big male was a female at that time. I was told it was a female many years ago and my mistake was not actually looking myself. Found out quickly my male wasn't a female but a male. I gave the new male back to the original owner since I did not want two males and my big male as males do became territorial.
    So the same friend that gave me the male gave me an adult female sulcata. I brought her home and she is currently in the next room over from where I keep my male. My male during the winter isn't very active even with keeping it 80+ degrees in the room. Any ways when I got home it was at night. I placed her in her enclosure and my male in a totally different room unable to see this female became very active. Which again it's night time and there is a actual wall in-between the two rooms but there is an open door to the two rooms.

    I think I'm already answering my question but to get the expert opinions can they smell one another? Thank you for your time and info. BTW yes I am able to keep them separate in the summer months also if needed.

    Mike
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  2. ZEROPILOT

    ZEROPILOT Well-Known Member 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    I believe tortoises can smell each other.
    Or use some other means of knowing...without seeing...that others are nearby.
    I've had several tortoises separated and or confined that definitely knew where the others were.
    This may be how they locate each other for mating or for establishing territory?
    I'm curious to see what others have experienced.
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  3. LaLaP

    LaLaP Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    I'm interested in this subject too. My 2 Russians are inside for the winter and they are in separate enclosures in the same bedroom. I think they know the other is there because they "parole" their borders at the same time as well as eat and nap at the same time. But this would indicate that they not only know the other is there but they know what the other is doing. If I'm hand feeding one a snack the other wakes up and starts looking around for his snack. It's weird.
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  4. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    My best guess, based on what I've seen over the years is that, yes, they can smell one another.
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  5. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Yes, they can. I take in unwanted, found and injured tortoises (well, I used to. As of Jan.1st I've retired from the Rescue business.), and when I get a large sulcata it has to go in my back yard as that's the only LARGE quarantine space I have for a large sulcata. I have a 110lb sulcata of my own and his yard shares a fence with the back yard. When I have a rescue sulcata in the back yard Dudley marches back and forth along that fence line, bumping it and semi-climbing it, trying to get back there. This is a solid, 6' redwood privacy fence, and it's on the north side of Dudley's yard. The prevailing winds come from the north here.
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  6. Dizisdalife

    Dizisdalife Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    They do smell the scent of others. Once I visited a sulcata breeder with many pens. We walked through the pens watching groups of sulcatas interact with one another ( I have only one sulcata). When I came home my one sulcata went right for my shoes and started sniffing. When he took the "frozen, paralyzed stare posture" that sulcata's get when they are processing new information, I stepped out of my shoes. It was a good thing because his next move was to ram my shoes. He drove one of them clear across his pen before he stopped. Then he walked away with that " I'm still king of the yard" walk that they do. Such little kids they are.
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  7. Mike05

    Mike05 Member

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    I thought I had already did this. But evidently not. Thank you for all your replies. :)
  8. mark1

    mark1 Well-Known Member

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    i've seen folks studying how box turtles find mates set up experiments that showed it to be entirely visual , a sight barrier was enough to prevent breeding , even when the turtles were within feet of each other ……. I believe the conclusion was that breeding encounters were completely visual and happenstance ……….
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