Interacting with young sulcata

JoshSloane

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Hi Everyone,

I'm sure this topic has been discussed a lot, but I still wanted to ask the experts. I've had my hatchling sulcata for about 7 months now. He seems to be very healthy, has a voracious appetite and enjoys his soaks. I've noticed that since I brought him home, that he seems pretty frightened by me. Even after 6+ months of daily maintenance in his cage, he still walks away from me and hides the second I open his enclosure.

I know that tortoises don't especially love contact at a young age, but I do want him to grow into an animal that can trust me, and isn't terrified. What can I do to help him lose this fear? Or is this something that will change once he grows up a bit?
 

Bogie=babyDINO

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I'm glad you asked cause I have a little guy I'm wanting to work with more to get him used to me. I see some people will put them on their lap and handle them more so I'm wondering if that's a good way to desensitized them to being touched?
 

wellington

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Some will say leave them alone, others like me will say to handle them every day for at least an half hour or so. Now, even with doing that, some torts will still not want to be social, others will.
I handled my first hatchling leopard a lot. Kissed his face, touched his head, neck, feet and legs and now he doesn't have a problem being handled. Which will be good if he ever has to go to the vets. He will walk over by me, sometimes. Sometimes he goes the other way
 

MPRC

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I pick and poke at my torts constantly, but aside from occasionally hiding in their shells when I surprise them they have never acted incredibly stressed by me. They always come right back out and are eating immediately.

Even with my new redfoot I flipped her upside down to trim her nails and she kept her head out the whole time watching what I was doing. When I was done i put her down and she climbed right on my foot expecting a treat.
 

Tom

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Their personalities do vary a lot, but most of them get bold and fearless by about 3 years old.

Hand feeding will get some of them to come around faster.

I also notice that females are a lot less outgoing than males, but there are exceptions. Like RV, for example. So if your baby was incubated for female, you might expect it to be a bit less bold.
 

Rue

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Yes. I want mine used to people and being handled too. Less stressful for them if they are a pet.

Mine also doesn't seem to be overly worried. I stroke her shell. Touch her toes and feed her a bit of her food. She has let me touch her head without turtling. I am not constantly touching her - but if I am taking her out for her bath regardless...may as well add a bit to the experience.

I draw a line at actually 'kissing' any animal (air kissing is fine). Especially so with reptiles that can carry salmonella (along with several other diseases). Zoonotic disease transmission is a real issue. So you can pick up diseases from them...and they can potentially pick up diseases from you too. So health and safety concerns are very real. Wash hands well before and after handling too.
 

wellington

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Yes. I want mine used to people and being handled too. Less stressful for them if they are a pet.

Mine also doesn't seem to be overly worried. I stroke her shell. Touch her toes and feed her a bit of her food. She has let me touch her head without turtling. I am not constantly touching her - but if I am taking her out for her bath regardless...may as well add a bit to the experience.

I draw a line at actually 'kissing' any animal (air kissing is fine). Especially so with reptiles that can carry salmonella (along with several other diseases). Zoonotic disease transmission is a real issue. So you can pick up diseases from them...and they can potentially pick up diseases from you too. So health and safety concerns are very real. Wash hands well before and after handling too.
The problem of the diseases you talk of is not as likely as some may want you to think. In my fifties and still alive and never one disease or illness from handling or kissing any of my animals. Oh, and I have an auto immune desease, no, not from animals, and still nothing. Not to say washing your hands isn't a good thing, just saying the threat isn't that great.
 
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Maggie Cummings

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I so absolutely agree with everything Barb said. I don't kiss my animals because I'm a cold broad, but I'm not a good hand washer either and they've never made me sick and I have a group of them. I right now I am fostering 2 young Sulcata. So I wrap the 2 month old in a towel, (they both pee) and I hold her and mess with her until I get bored with it, then we just may sit quietly together and watch TV. I also have a 2 yr old I do the same thing and here's why. Until August 23rd, I had a 125 pound Sulcata that was so outgoing he was invited to events around town. Petco advertized at Xmas, get you pix taken with Bob for $5 or Bob and Santa for $10. All donated to the Senior Dog Society. Bob then would walk around Petco for about 4 hours. Perople would take photos of him, kids would ride him. He was also specially invited to OSU Pet Day.Bob would walk around like the juggler at the fair, he'd draw crowds and entertainn people. So I am super handling these babies. I also have box turtles and other tortoises I handle. When you go to the Vet, for one thing, they make examination easy when they are socialized. Heads stay out. That's Bob in my avatar.
P1080555
 
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Bogie=babyDINO

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I will always love hearing about bob! It is such a sad heart breaking story what happened to him but I feel like his story will always live on and inspire tort owners to socialize their torts. I know I think about bob a lot when I'm with my tort even though I never met him. Long live bob's story!!! :D
 

Bogie=babyDINO

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Oh and is it normal for juvenal torts to pee Niagara Falls when You hold them? Bogarts is one years old and I feel like he's saying, "take that you human! How dare you hold me!" Do they grow out of this?!
 

Speedy-1

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Yes. I want mine used to people and being handled too. Less stressful for them if they are a pet.

Mine also doesn't seem to be overly worried. I stroke her shell. Touch her toes and feed her a bit of her food. She has let me touch her head without turtling. I am not constantly touching her - but if I am taking her out for her bath regardless...may as well add a bit to the experience.

I draw a line at actually 'kissing' any animal (air kissing is fine). Especially so with reptiles that can carry salmonella (along with several other diseases). Zoonotic disease transmission is a real issue. So you can pick up diseases from them...and they can potentially pick up diseases from you too. So health and safety concerns are very real. Wash hands well before and after handling too.
I agree , because my biggest concern is cross contamination between pets . Feeding our 5 critters in the morning is one example , I have gone to putting alcohol in a spray bottle , because it is cheap and dries fast. It works for me ! ;)

I have always used Speedys soaking time to interact , he cant stay in his shell too long so he is a captive audience . he is outside all day now and when I go outside he does follow me around , to the point I have to watch where I step ! :eek: I think he is saying "theres the guy with the food !" :D
 

Big Charlie

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Oh and is it normal for juvenal torts to pee Niagara Falls when You hold them? Bogarts is one years old and I feel like he's saying, "take that you human! How dare you hold me!" Do they grow out of this?!
I think that is exactly what he is saying.

Personally I wouldn't pick him up if it makes him uncomfortable. Just pet him and talk to him. Eventually he will be too big to pick up. If I recall correctly, @maggie3fan had a problem with Bob trying to climb into her lap, causing her great pain, so you probably don't want to train him to sit on your lap.
 

Nibs

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Oh and is it normal for juvenal torts to pee Niagara Falls when You hold them? Bogarts is one years old and I feel like he's saying, "take that you human! How dare you hold me!" Do they grow out of this?!

Mine used to do that up until they were about 18 months old - after that they seemed to realise that usually being handled meant that they were off to somewhere more fun and they stopped :)
 

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