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Galapagos Tortoises

Discussion in 'Galapagos and Chaco tortoises' started by Olddog, Feb 22, 2018.

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  1. Sesel

    Sesel Well-Known Member

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    Nice group~ :cool:
    Curious about the injury of one of the Galapagos tortoises. Seems to be a big hole. Do you know how it happened or did you receive the tortoise that way?

    :eek: are the Aldabras yours? How many are there and were you successful in breeding them? (Please share more :D)
  2. Olddog

    Olddog Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    IMG_0905.jpg
    The tortoise with a big light colored concave scuteless area on her left posterior shell had a crush injury to her shell years ago. She was crushed by part of a fallen tree. She is part of our group of deformed or damaged tortoises. We feed and care for them all.

    There are only two Aldabras in our herd. We acquired them as young imports in the 90's so unsure of age. Not sure if he is old or mature enough to breed. Here are some photos of the two Aldabras from 2004 for comparison. Male first

    CABG_10_10_04pm_G167_099.jpg
    CABG_10_10_04pm_G167_088.jpg

    Female:
    CABG_10_10_04pm_G166_093.jpg


    As this is supposed to be Galapagos tortoise thread:
    Morning Dip
    IMG_0905.jpg

    Attached Files:

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  3. Pearly

    Pearly Well-Known Member

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    Beautiful! Thank you for sharing! And please keep those inspirational posts coming
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  4. Olddog

    Olddog Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    Thank you. They are truely magnificent tortoises.
  5. KevinGG

    KevinGG Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    I’m sorry I am just getting back to this thread. I appreciate your honesty. I also favor the latter, but cautiously and with much care to what homes they are placed in. It seems to be the norm to pump out animals with no guidance as to how they should be cared for. Simply, an address and payment for a turtle. I appreciate the work people like Chris Leone do to ensure people understand how to properly care for the animals he sells. It’s a dream, though now it seems cliche, to keep this species. I have the 1000 square foot winter barn and live right near a city named Santa Cruz in California, so it seems fitting. Thank you for sharing your amazing habitats and the incredible animals you care for. Very inspiring.
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  6. Olddog

    Olddog Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    Thank you. They are very special.
  7. Olddog

    Olddog Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    Galapagos Tortoises and hay

    Our area remains very dry. Recently the local ranch supply received a fresh load of O&A hay from New Mexico. It does smell like grass. Although most of our tortoises usually ignore fresh hay, we thought they might make an exception due to sparse areas of quality grass. Many of the females would eat at least some hay, possibly due to peer pressure.

    IMG_1182.jpg

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    When one gets close enough for photos, most, particularly the males, will leave the hay looking for goodies and not return to the hay.
    IMG_1185.jpg

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  8. Olddog

    Olddog Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    In reality, most of this batch of hay was untouched the following morning. Although the tortoises are the mammalian equivalent of hind gut fermenters similar to horses and their diet should consist primarily of grasses, it appears they would prefer to graze over a relatively large area for sparse fresh grass than to indulge in significant quantities of fresh hay.

    There is a possibility they just a little spoiled and holding out for other supplements to their sparse pastures. There are other foods they enjoy:

    Corn on the cob.
    IMG_1114.jpg


    The corn is usually better from another's mouth:


    Apples are also edible.


    Melon and produce are like candy.
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  9. Olddog

    Olddog Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    Pond level falling, two slept in water.

    IMG_1212.jpg
    IMG_1216.jpg

    Little bulldozer had feed cart up on back handrail, caddy-wompus, and nearly overturned before interrupted. Who me?
    IMG_1217.jpg
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  10. ALDABRAMAN

    ALDABRAMAN KEEPER AT HEART 5 Year Member

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    ~ Fantastic photo's
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  11. Olddog

    Olddog Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    Thank you! Fantastic models, suboptimal photographer using iPhone.

    Have very much enjoyed reading your threads and viewing your excellent photos!
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  12. Olddog

    Olddog Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    Overnight in pond

    IMG_1224.jpg
    IMG_1228.jpg
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  13. Olddog

    Olddog Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    Disturbed siesta

    IMG_1278.jpg
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  14. Olddog

    Olddog Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    Rainey Season

    Now that we have gone from drought to rain, tortoises are spending many of their evenings sleeping in shallow water, preferably in mud. Perhaps this is in part to reduce mosquito bites. Frequently they will spend part of the day in individual mud wallows but may congregate in the evening in shallow ponds. One group jockeying for position in late afternoon:
    IMG_1619.jpg

    Pasture Rotation

    Rotating between non-contiguous pastures is something of a pain involving multiple trailer trips. The tortoises are bribed onto the trailer by means of a ramp of reinforced 4x8 sheet of plywood. In this case, a loaf of bread was utilized for motivation. After hosing, scrubbing, and lubricating, they are trailered several hundred feet to a different pasture. The "tailgate" can be used for the dismount. The trailer is then hosed and the process repeated. For the first day, Galaps rarely move more then 20-50 feet, sampling different plants. They appear to have different preferences after initial sampling of bahiagrass. The move is so stressful the Galaps typically wait 3-5 minutes before eating.

    IMG_1591.jpg
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  15. Olddog

    Olddog Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    Tuscon Kid - Pasture Rotation

    Tuscon is a large male love-sponge (Chelonoidis nigra guntheri/vicini) originally from the La Cazuela region of Isabella. He would much rather have his neck rubbed than eat. One has to ignore him when feeding treats or his fellow enclosure occupant devours the groceries. When he hears you he will typically erect his neck for attention and rubbing. If successful in capturing your attention, he stands for the full treatment. He is generally not very food motivated. We had several boxes of string beans as well as melon which was utilized to motivate Tuscon on the long walk to the trailer. Tuscon weighed in excess of 500 pounds years ago. He takes things slowly and steadily (unless distracted). Tuscon calmly climbed up the ramp to the trailer. He continued to eat in the trailer, completed his bath, and rather ungracefully exited the trailer by means of the small and flimsy tailgate. He is the only large male moved to the separate pasture area. His calm behavior is very much in contrast to that of some of the younger males transferred. Some of the younger males act like poorly behaved teenagers full of hormones. They are upset at being confined to the trailer even for a few minutes, go busting out, and bulldoze the first set of shrubs they find. These sub and young adults tend to get over their temper tantrum in 3-5 minutes and may choose to initially eat low hanging leaves rather than grass.

    IMG_1632.jpg

    Tuscon Kid


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  16. ALDABRAMAN

    ALDABRAMAN KEEPER AT HEART 5 Year Member

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    ~ Can you share the size of your pastures?
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  17. Olddog

    Olddog Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    Surely

    The non-contigious pasture to which part of the herd is being transferred is part wooded and part open grass that was lightly fertizied prior to the rains. It is an irregular shape but is approximately 139,500 square feet or 3.2 acres. There is no irrigation or winter shelters for this pasture. It will likely not be able to supply enough forage for the group. Likely may have to open the gate to a second pasture which currently contains many fallen trees and brush piles following Irma. it will require cleaning and removal of any toxic weeds prior to use. If the herd does not mow the pasture areas down pretty far, I may have difficulty finding all as they start digging in. They are expert in burrowing into brush piles.

    The permanent enclosures desparately need reworking. They total approximaely 363,000+ square feet or about 8 1/3 acre. This space is cross fenced with multiple yards and 6 heated winter houses, each serving two or more enclosures. Two of these winter enclosures are insulated 40 foot truck refrigerator bodies. As the tortoises have grown, the current heated areas have become inadequate and additional wiring has been run for expansion. Over the past 20 plus years, the trees have grown in the once open areas. Irma has partially rectified same, falling ancient oaks and pines, taking out smaller trees.

    We are rotating two groups of tortoises to contigious yards without enclosures. As tortoise yards are vacated, additional downed trees will be removed and areas reseeded. As the area has not been fertilized in many years,the soil is quite poor and will require at least minimal fertilizer. It would be nice to install irrigation in the winter enclosures as well. Currently there is a burn ban but anticipate it will be lifted soon. This will allow us to dispose of many of the dead trees and brush piles not taken care of previously. Hopefully efforts will result in lush pastures by fall. It is unlikely time will permit removing too much of the overgrown shade trees this year. Ideally the areas near the winter houses would be bright and open for cool weather basking, however this is not always the case. Ideally this will be rectified, but perhaps not this year.

    There is also a wire enclosed areas and heated boxes for a group of 3 yr-olds and another wire enclosed area for some that are older but likely not big enough for open yards.

    Hope this rather convoluted explanation makes sense.
  18. ALDABRAMAN

    ALDABRAMAN KEEPER AT HEART 5 Year Member

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    ~ Thank you, that is simply awesome!
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  19. Olddog

    Olddog Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    Pasture Rotation

    Each morning while it is relatively cool, groups of tortoises have be transferred to summer pasture. The Tuscon Kid (pictured previously) was moved 3 days ago. He has learned where the trailer unloads and now presents himself for love and adoration. When his neck is rubbed he holds himself erect in a trance-like state lasting for several minutes.
    IMG_1652.jpg
    This trance-like state is not permanent. When he finds you are working with another tortoise, he steps in demanding your attention. He does not hesitate to gently step on or over tortoises which may be in his way. He can keep it somewhat challenging. Will probbly unload the last group tomorrow in a different spot.

    It was amusing to witness a couple of recently unloaded younger males rise to challange and "face off" with Tuscon. The tortoise with the higher head elevation wins. They withdrew.
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  20. KevinGG

    KevinGG Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    That’s really great.
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