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CDT pair...separate or is adding more to the family okay?

Discussion in 'North American Tortoises (genus Gopherus)' started by thelifeofbuttons, Apr 28, 2019.

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  1. thelifeofbuttons

    thelifeofbuttons Member

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    So, we have a pair of CDTs and they currently have a somewhat large outdoor enclosure, with soaking pond, and lots of native plants. Recently I started reading that pairs do not work well together! I don't know why that information never came across in my research and discussions with other torty owners, or even out local vet who I picked because he was listed by the local CTTC site). But anyway, here I am now. I am a stay home mom, and spend a bit of time outside with them, and fussing over them. I rarely see them together or near each other, and they always seem to settle in for the night in their own separate and respective "favorite" spots. But now I'm thinking I should either divide their enclosure, or add more tortoises? Would adopting more be an okay solution to this? I prefer the latter, as I LOVE LOVE LOVE them, and would like to be a crazy tortoise lady.

    Thank you for your time, and any advice that may help me work this out.
    Cndlou0309 likes this.
  2. wellington

    wellington Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member Tortoise Club

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    You wont always find the correct info beyond this forum and vets know very little sadly about tortoises.
    You could do either choice. Just keep in mind that any new tortoises should be quarantined at least 3 months from your current ones. Also that getting more may cause fights and may still need separating from the others. As long as you have the room available to add more and seperate if needed then you can go either way you want.
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  3. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Hmmmmm.....

    What size and age are your current two? What sexes?

    The safe bet is to separate the two and not add more. Then each will be happy and healthy, you know exactly what the appetite and activity level of each is doing, and there can never be any stress or conflict caused by another tortoise. This is how I like to house certain species, like my current Chersina. I only have one male at the moment, but they do better all alone. When I get a female or two, all will live alone with brief conjugal visits for reproduction.

    Having said that, I enjoy keeping groups of tortoises of the same species together too. A group of 3-4 female DTs would probably get along well together in a large enough enclosure with lots of sight barriers and hiding areas. One the other hand, if they don't get along for some reason, you'd have to make multiple enclosures to keep them all separated. Also, don't forget that you'll need a separate enclosure to use for quarantine anytime you bring a new one in. No matter what you do or how careful you are, adding another one risks the health of your other ones. Some tortoise diseases are difficult or impossible to diagnose no matter how much time or money you throw at it. A 3-6 month quarantine with a couple of vet checks thrown in, greatly reduces the chance of disease or parasite introduction into your herd. I keep my three South African leopard females together, and they get along perfectly. I have two males and they have to be housed all alone, each in their own separate enclosure. The males can be great big jerks! They even come after ME when I have the audacity to enter their territory. I put them in with the females once in a while for a day or two for breeding, then they go back to their solitary confinement. DTs are usually similar in personality. Females are usually docile and get along with anything, but DT males can be territorial A-holes.

    You'll have to decide if its better to leave well enough alone, or if you want to risk disaster with the hope of making a good thing even better.
    thelifeofbuttons likes this.
  4. Yvonne G

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

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    I ran a tortoise rescue for many, many years. Female CDTs are few and far between, so when a female came in I would keep it. They are up for adoption, but it has to be to the right home, and the 'right' home is also few and far between.

    It is illegal to breed them or artificially incubate their eggs, so finding a good home for a female CDT, a home where she could be a pet and never be bred, it was just hard to do. So I've ended up with several CDTs in one yard.

    I've said all this to show you that several female CDTs can live peacefully in one large yard. With a female group you can never legally add a male.

    Now if your two are male, sooner or later you're going to have to start being the referee. It is a given that male CDTs fight. Yours may not fight now, but I guarantee they will eventually.

    So, if you have a large enough piece of property to subdivide into individual tortoise yards, go ahead and get as many as you have room for. It's up to you!
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  5. thelifeofbuttons

    thelifeofbuttons Member

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    Okay, thank you so much for taking the time to respond. I'll have to see how life plays out for us. At least I have options. And yeah. the vets are hit and miss. I'm hoping the vet I've used just focused more on the reason for my visit, than assessing my general tortoise living situation. He is an exotic animal vet, whose name I got from our local CTTC and also has CDT himself. fingers crossed I don't need too much medical help moving forward, anyway.

    Anyway, thank you again!
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  6. thelifeofbuttons

    thelifeofbuttons Member

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    okay, wonderful...this is all really helpful. Thank you for such a thoughtful reply, as always.

    My biggest is about 16 years old, (measuring 9"), and I believe she is female. I've had her since she was 2 years old. My little one is about 9 years old, and measuring 7" (was the runt of the clutch, and always a bit on the small side, although growing steadily), and I've had that cutie since it was a hatchling. Not sure if I can accurately determine sex yet, but leaning towards female?? Is it possible to tell at this age/size? Maybe I can upload a photo, if I can figure out how to get it from my phone to my computer.

    Ideally I'd love to have a herd of female at least 3 DTs I guess, but I'll be honest and realistic about whether that is best for their overall health. These DTs are my babies, other than my own human babies. I lock them up together at night so they won't fall victim to raccoons, but maybe I should house them at night separately as well? That's really the only time they are together.

    Thanks again!
  7. thelifeofbuttons

    thelifeofbuttons Member

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    Thank you! This is all really good information, and all makes perfect sense. I'm pretty sure my oldest (16y old) is a female, and I think my littlest (9yo, 7") is quite possibly female...? Could I have lucked out with two females, considering I've had them since they were tiny tiny? Now, I'm wondering how I can add and find at least one more female...but i'll definitely take the proper time, precautions with quarantine, and separation as necessary. How do you determine if a home is the "right" home? ANy recommendations on the best way to find a female available for adoption? I fuss over my tortoises, (and all my animals) like their my babies, so I know I'll always make the right choice for them first. And at least I know I have options...

    Anyway, I appreciate your time and help with figuring this out.

    Thank you again!!
    Cndlou0309 likes this.
  8. ascott

    ascott Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    I am going to bet that what you will discover is that you have two males in the end. With this species, 9 and 7 inches is not mature enough to be visually 100% of the sex. As outlined earlier, this is a Gladiator species. Tenacious, assertive and can be very aggressive towards one another....once maturity hits it is even worse....to the death is what this species can and do fight to. I would separate them and off them a chance to do what they would each do in the wild---occupy their own space and be the king of their own domain. In the wild the only reason they would come together is to procreate....and not to socialize.....they are very nomadic.
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  9. thelifeofbuttons

    thelifeofbuttons Member

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    Okay, thank you! gosh, I thought I could maybe make a somewhat educated guess at sex once my dudes hit a minimum of 9"... the wild guess for my little dude of 7" was more wishful thinking than anything. At what size do you feel you can accurately determine the sex of a CDT?

    In the meantime, I guess I'll have to err on the side of caution, separate and patiently wait to see how they end up. I'm definitely not going to risk their safety.
  10. thelifeofbuttons

    thelifeofbuttons Member

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    Okay, so now I'm curious... I've gone back and read quite a bit more information from multiple posts in the forum and articles on sexing and it seems I should be able to determine sex for at least my oldest, who is 16 years old and 9". What am I missing? @Yvonne G I've seen that you post on these types of threads often. Do you have an opinion on by what age and size you should be able to determine sex somewhat definitively? Maybe I can get a few photos...
  11. RosemaryDW

    RosemaryDW Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    Post photos, otherwise we can’t say.

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