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how much room for DT?

Discussion in 'North American Tortoises (genus Gopherus)' started by Duhh, Apr 29, 2019.

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  1. Duhh

    Duhh New Member

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    Hi guys. I recently "inherited" 2 male DTs from a friend and I currently have them together in a 30ftx8 foot area of the yard. My friend forgot to mention that they fight he didn't think it was a big deal. Yesterday it was super bad and found one flipped(thank goodness in time) Also I feel that tortoise is getting super stressed and not eating like he should.

    I would like to separate them, but don't want to try and fence off any more of my yard to keep my dogs away from them. If I half the space to 15x8 for each of them. Will this be enough room for them?
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  2. Yvonne G

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

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    Are they full grown? Of course, bigger is always better, but seems to me, looking out at my yard and judging by two 8' sections by one 8' section that it would be a big enough space for one. It would help if you had sight barriers so they can't see all the way across the yard (makes it seem bigger to them).

    Welcome to the Forum! Desert tortoises are one of my favorites!
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  3. Duhh

    Duhh New Member

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    287E00C5-098C-46BA-9394-2A1C0A952FB4.jpeg Each section would be 15x8... i plan to separate with cinder blocks 2 high.
    I believe they are full grown. Unfortunately the pervious owner really didn't tell me much or really know much. He adopted them a couple years ago and sounds like they just hung in the backyard eating grass most of the time.
    We are just creating their space so right now i have to supplement their food a lot with what i can find in other parts of my yard or from the store until the grass takes hold in their area. I will also be adding desert plants and dandelions once i get them grown.

    Above is a pic of the space we are working on that I would cut in half and dig another burrow and soaking pool for him on the far side. (Cinder block in pic were there for while putting up the fence to keep the guys contained)
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  4. Duhh

    Duhh New Member

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  5. KarenSoCal

    KarenSoCal Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    Well, I'd like to say congratulations to you for realizing that fighting IS a big deal! Especially since fighting is only one result of them being together. The bullying is just as damaging, and probably the cause of the subordinate tort not eating well. Good for you!!

    I have one DT, male, in a large enclosure.

    Looking at your space, I think halving it should work ok. Is sun/shade about the same on both ends? As Yvonne said, put some sight barriers in, larger plants and bushes work really well, and also provide shade.

    Remember that they are excellent diggers and climbers, and very persistant. They don't give up on anything. Make sure they can't climb the concrete blocks, and you probably should go underground for about a foot. Either an extra layer of concrete, or you can use wire mesh (hardware cloth or lath, something they can't get a head or leg stuck in).

    Chug is my first tortoise, and I am really enjoying him. He's probably around 12-14 years old, and has been with us for almost 2 years.
  6. ascott

    ascott Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    I think you will seriously need to re evaluate what space you are willing to set up for each. You live in Arizona, right? When I look at this pic I am firstly concerned with what will happen when there is a monsoon in your area? The roof line is extended right over the area you have set up...which means that the water will pour straight off that roof in mass amounts directly into that space...flooding it rather quickly. I am familiar with what occurs in a desert climate when the sky opens up rapidly without mercy....while there is no full proofing, we can try to increase the odds of survival, right?

    If you are in a situation where you find you have limited space, a circular space is a bid better, as this species (and a few others) is a pacer..and circular yards allow a tort do pace without encounter squared off corners (which can be flipping hazards). Again, nothing is full proof. Maybe if you look at your yard/property and move the torts to somewhere else on the property which allows their own stand alone yards? This has worked well for me...I have done lots of "test" areas and found that away from the house or structure proves a bit better for water run off....and 10x10 is an acceptable and super workable space...as in some cases, but not all, bigger is better....

    Sit in your house and look out your window and find your high spots...and that can be a starting point...
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  7. ascott

    ascott Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    There is a significant size difference between these two torts in the pic.....That would also be a concern...this difference means that there is no chance of a "fight" between to equal CDTs, but rather a beating from the one tort to the other....
  8. Duhh

    Duhh New Member

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    The back area gets a bit less sun but both areas get enough throughout the day.there is sun from about 9-4 or 5 right now. We just replaced the fence and we actually dug a trench and did cement along the fence line since I heard they are notorious diggers.
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  9. Duhh

    Duhh New Member

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    I was concerned about the run off from the roof. I was just talking to my husband about adding gutters to that side to redirect the water.. also we just had a good rain last night and I was very happy that when I checked the burrow this morning it was actually pretty dry. I have also added a bit of a trench in front of the burrow so I’m sure that helped.
    Unfortunately the rest of the yard is either garden or the dogs domaine. I figured it was better that they were kept separated from the dogs.
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  10. Duhh

    Duhh New Member

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    Exactly. I have since dug another burrow and made another pool on the far side of their space.. but it was colder and rainy yesterday so the one i wanted to move in there hasn't come out of the burrow again. I think they will both be happier in their own space.
    queen koopa and KarenSoCal like this.
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