Do tortoises “need to be bred” for optimal happiness?

aidbre94

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Hello all,

I just thought I’d spark a friendly conversation about tortoise breeding. For background, I have one sub-adult Russian & one hatchling Egyptian that are thriving, from lots of help from the forum & my tortoise breeder.

I am eventually going to get one of the Hermann’s to round out my wants & spacial limits etc in regards to my outdoor pens & indoor winter enclosures. I like the idea of reproducing babies for a few reasons but I’m not sold on it just because of overhead, space etc so I for sure won’t be diving into that until some serious time & learning have been completed.

My main question to all keepers whether you’re a long-time breeder, or maybe you’ve kept solitary tortoises for a long time is a question I can’t seem to find an answer to; do they need sexual stimulation?

For example I probably will never be able to reproduce Egyptians ethically in my country due to there being literally two blood lines owned by one breeder (awesome breeder who I’ve worked with now for a few years), and although some have been producing babies from what are likely siblings, it’s not my cup of tea. But has anyone ever noticed any negative implications from animals being kept alone their whole life without even sexual stimulation; even if it’s not successful breeding? I know they’re are solitary by nature but I’m just talking those few moments a year in the wild where they do seek a mate.

I know it’s a very odd question & I apologize for the big read but it’s been a burning question I’ve had for years and just would like some insight because although I don’t have much serious intention on breeding right now, but in time I’d be open to it diversify my countries bloodlines (not the Egyptian) but especially if it’s felt to be a semi- necessary practice in regards to their total well being.

Thanks!
 

ZEROPILOT

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Its an interesting and valid question.
I don't honestly know how strong the urge to breed is in tortoises.
They do best alone it seems. But I've seen restless single tortoises and of course I can't ask them.
I'm curious to see what evidence or theories others have.
 

aidbre94

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Its an interesting and valid question.
I don't honestly know how strong the urge to breed is in tortoises.
They do best alone it seems. But I've seen restless single tortoises and of course I can't ask them.
I'm curious to see what evidence or theories others have.
Its an interesting and valid question.
I don't honestly know how strong the urge to breed is in tortoises.
They do best alone it seems. But I've seen restless single tortoises and of course I can't ask them.
I'm curious to see what evidence or theories others have.
Right? When we keep mammals, for the most part we disrupt their hormones with neuter/spay, but with reptiles; especially tortoises it’s been eating at me. With snakes & lizards it’s not really seen as a problem and many keep individuals their whole lives and other than maybe some seasonal food strikes etc, most never make comments about it.

Maybe it’s just my profound love for Chelonians that make me wonder more than other species but I appreciate your response and I am definitely curious to hear more peoples opinions & thoughts so I can help further form my own.
 

The_Four_Toed_Edward

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I don't have your definite answer, but this topic interests me.

There are some studies showing that during breeding season males sense the location of females getting the urge to mate, but not vice versa. ( https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10164-020-00657-z ) This could mean that with no access to females in their whole life, males wouldn't have the urge to mate. So basically, the presence of females gets the males to seek a mate.
 

zolasmum

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Zola is a Hermanns, and is almost 24 yeqrs old. Many years ago, he was introduced to a female, and ran away from her in horror, but that was his only time! He gets "romantic" with my shoe at times, but apart from stroking that, and bouncing up and down squeaking on my foot, he doesnt seem to be very concerned.
Sometimes he gets in an odd mood, which we call "I don't know what I want, but I want it NOW ! "
but it seems a general sort of extreme restlessness, related to nothing in particular, and generally wears off in a short time.
Angie
 

The_Four_Toed_Edward

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As for the behaviour of my own tortoise, he used to have this branch in his enclousure that he would mount. This usually happened in the mornings accompanied with some mating squeks. Since then the branch has been taken away to avoid injury.

I have seen flashing twice. Both times I was vacuuming the room outside his enclousure. I don't know whether this was a coincidence or did he feel threatened or something.

Also, when I let him roam on our lawn inside a cold frame, he will sometimes patrol the premises of the cold frame (especially when moved to a new area), perhaps looking for other males. He will also show exprolatary behaviors. But after a while of patrolling, soaking up the sun and grazing he will always start to lot your typical Russian escape plan... Interesting thing is, does he feel the need to get out and find a mate, or are there other reasons to this oh so typical behavior for Russians...
 

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