Mental Stimulation - Fighting Off Intruders

Avuwyy

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Going to place it into debates as I’m unsure if this is a debatable topic? I’ve tried typing a few words into the search bar and couldn’t find anything specific to what I’m wanting to ask.

Is offering your tortoise something to chase off (such as a figurine which looks like another tortoise) beneficial for your animal? In the past I heard such things as allowing two males to fight a little bit to be beneficial for testosterone, and in turn fertility (Unsure if this is actually true, I’m not going to experiment). But outside of breeding is there any benefit to allowing your tortoise something to tussle with?

I’ve been reading up on Betta fish a lot recently. Absolutely beautiful fish. Occasionally keepers will use a mirror to reflect the image of the fish back to them, and urge them to display themselves in a territorial manner. Of course, for long periods of time, this can be stressful for the fish. But for short sessions every so often, it is stimulating, and allows the fish to do what they were essentially bred to do.

I would think that for short sessions, placing a tortoise-like object in the enclosure of the tortoise to act as an intruder, would be beneficial. Mental stimulation, and allows the tortoise to practice typical territorial behaviours they would show in the wild. For longer sessions, I could see it being stressful.

Is this something that people do? Are there any positives and negatives to doing this kind of thing?
Any thoughts on the subject are greatly appreciated :)
 

Grace-Sophia

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I would say that it would depend on the individual tortoise.
I have a male Eastern Hermann’s Tortoise and I had kept a statue of a tortoise in with him. He really didn’t mind it- he would just climb over it to get to his food ( he’s very food driven 🤣) But, on the other hand, I do know of some keepers that have done the exact same thing, and their torts go crazy making love with it 😳 😂 I would also leave it up to two other things- one being gender of your torotise, if it’s a male, it may go after it, but if it’s a female, they tend to leave it alone as they aren’t the ones in the the wild seeking out the other tortoises, but once again, it completely depends on the individual. The second thing is, if you see your animal getting stressed, simply take it out! If you see no signs of stress, it’s safe to say that they might go on frequent “dates” together 🙈 😆
 

wellington

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I don't see any benefit for the tortoise really. They are solitary animals and look for a partner only to breed, anything else is to fight. I don't think they go looking to fight. Its risky and can backfire. Either a tort could get hurt or it could turn a Male into an aggressive male that gets so bad with wanting to breed. A member used to have a tortoise that had to have medical procedure done to actually get it to calm down.
Let's see what @Markw84 and @Tom @Kapidolo Farms @Yvonne G @HermanniChris have to say.
There is more I want to alert but can't remember their names.
 

jsheffield - In Memoriam

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I live with a creep of 5 Russian Tortoises, 1 male and 4 females.

During the summer I'll often put the male in with the females in their outside enclosure for an hour or four, and he chases them all around, mating with them. I occasionally do the same thing, albeit for a shorter period of time, in their inside enclosure.

I think it's a positive and biologically appropriate activity for all of them... my hope is that it gives their endocrine system a jumpstart and stirs things up.

I've tried hanging and hiding food to let them work for it a bit, and have noted numerous of the torts that I live with hunting earthworms and pillbugs that make up the clean-up crew in the indoor enclosures... this seems a rough deal for their janitorial staff, but the union rep has yet to complain.

Jamie
 

wellington

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I live with a creep of 5 Russian Tortoises, 1 male and 4 females.

During the summer I'll often put the male in with the females in their outside enclosure for an hour or four, and he chases them all around, mating with them. I occasionally do the same thing, albeit for a shorter period of time, in their inside enclosure.

I think it's a positive and biologically appropriate activity for all of them... my hope is that it gives their endocrine system a jumpstart and stirs things up.

I've tried hanging and hiding food to let them work for it a bit, and have noted numerous of the torts that I live with hunting earthworms and pillbugs that make up the clean-up crew in the indoor enclosures... this seems a rough deal for their janitorial staff, but the union rep has yet to complain.

Jamie
Do you think though without breeding them and it's a single tort they would need a staute to stimulate another tort in their territory?
I can see its needed to be done to be able to breed them. But is it needed/beneficial with a single tort not being bred?
 

jsheffield - In Memoriam

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Do you think though without breeding them and it's a single tort they would need a staute to stimulate another tort in their territory?
I can see its needed to be done to be able to breed them. But is it needed/beneficial with a single tort not being bred?
I think with just a single tort, or not to breed, I would do the food and hunting stimulation alone.

J
 

wendigo

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I don't think I'd encourage aggression if you aren't already seeing it. I have a 17 yr old Greek tortoise male, who was sweet until he hit maturity. He spends all of his waking hours trying to kill anything that moves that he can see. He chases/attacks/bites people, shoes, feet, dogs, cats, vacuums, etc. We have tried giving him a tortoise figurine or one of his favorite crocs, he ignores them. He will attack stepping stones in the yard however. I'm hoping he'll level out eventually, because now he's just Angry Willy, all the time.
 

Kapidolo Farms

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The more I think I understand tortoises, the more they humble me. I often suggest, as an example of interaction when people want to get two baby tortoises, that they tress each other out and even if it is not measurable with blood tests (stress hormones) it become apparent over time by one inevitably growing 'better' than the other. Yet some how this seems less the case when you have several babies, 4 plus, raised together. My guess is that when they are fresh hatched, they want to get away from each other as quick as possible so that (based on some idea that evolution works this way) if they all hung out together, then some opportunistic predator would eat all of them, not just one. So two will desperately want to get away from each other. Say the dominate one feels unsuccessful in driving off the subordinate one, and the subordinate one can't get away - so they both have a 'stress'. When four or five are kept together that driver, get away, somehow is less strong. What I see I feel comfortable with - what I interpretation (how evolution shaped these behaviors) I am less sure about.

Sperm competition, when males combat, is a very short term stressor. Sometimes this idea is quite literal, as sperm do compete with each other on the cellular scale, one males contribution competing with another males. Again ( an evolution POV) when combat is used in this sense, one males saves his load for next time, so there is some advantage that the sperm do not compete in the female, but that the males compete.

I'm blah blah blah-ing, to set the stage for my speculative response. I imagine the toy or figuring, once in awhile might benefit the actual tortoise because it signifies a 'win' - that tortoise successfully drove off an interloper. The harding actionable part of this is frequency and duration. I have no idea what would be a tipping point for what may be beneficial to too much.
 

jeff kushner

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Very interesting discussion....


because as humans, we tend to assign emotions to animals that have none.

We seem to want to stimulate the hard-wired responses to intruders.........


AND because we are talking about creating conflict where there is none.


Then, I only have one question.............why would you create conflict for someone you consider a friend?

The only reason I can wrap my head around; "is for the entertainment of the owner"

When I placed the little fake turtle in Matilda's home last year for a couple of hours, it was only to see if it got a reaction from her.

Just be honest to yourself.............when I put in live mice into my Caimans enclosure years ago....it wasn't to "keep him in shape" by having to chase them, it was so we could watch him kill and eat them.

In both cases, it was all about me, not them!

Not a judgement guys, just my own experiences...
 

Melymann

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I see what you are saying. But it’s also assuming we are trying to trigger aggression. Sheldon doesn’t care about his “frog” 95% of the time. The other 5% is all about love!
 

jeff kushner

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I'm not saying "don't do it" at all, I've beat you guys to do it...... I just admit that I'm doing it for me, not so much for them.

It's okay, I'm just old so I can be honest w/myself w/o embarrassment but who doesn't like seeing a 10" Oscar scarfing down some live prey? Come'on man, that's entertainment of the Caveman variety.


Maybe there's no averse reaction, but aren't we trying to get a reaction? To satisfy whom?

That poor, poor frog.......LMAO

Then again

What if;
Imagine if little turtle ignoring it b/c the statue is submissive and doesn't move in his presence....then every so often, he swears he saw it move, and Dominates it...giving a good screen door in a hurricane impression...yet the whole thing is only in his head....
 

Maggie3fan

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I can't quite figure out if this thread is about mental stimulation or inciting aggression...this probably wouldn't work for your smaller tortoises, or Matilda...but here is how I provide stimulation...for her AND me...lol100_8157.JPG
I am sure she doesn't fit inside the tire anymore...I guess what I am really saying is I try and provide physical and mental stimulation w/out aggression...100_8155.JPG she loves the tires...lol100_8156.JPG
 

Maggie3fan

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For those of you unfamiliar with Mary Knobbins (in the above picrures), she has done that herself. Maggie didn't put her in the tire.
Oh gosh Y!!! You don't think anybody would think I'd actually do that to Mary??? I confess grabbing my camera to get the photos, but I saw that happen from my bedroom window...and ran...then laughed...(sorry I hadda)
 

Avuwyy

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Left this for a bit to see if anyone had any additional ideas.

Tortoises in the wild will often run into competitors. Rivals for females, food, and shelter. In the wild it is unusual for one tortoise to never see another tortoise, to never need to protect their territory. In fending off another tortoise, I would think it would raise a tortoise’s confidence in their ability to protect what’s there’s? (Or a ‘win’ as @Kapidolo Farms had said)0

I would see an issue in doing this to a creep of tortoises as it could throw off the balance of dominance. And I would see an issue in doing this to a tortoise which is already highly territorial, bursting with testosterone, as it can promote those behaviours, and those hormones which can already be causing some stress to the tortoise. But in a lone tortoise, perhaps of a shy species (Such as a Leopard [ Babcocki ], or Redfoot), in the event this DOES urge the tortoise to open up and fend off an intruder, would this not offer some well needed confidence within the tortoise’s territory?

Or maybe I’m anthropomorphising tortoises a little too much, applying my own behaviours and feelings to a tortoise, as well as using other animals (which aren’t closely related to tortoises) to state the benefits of the animal being able to defend its territory.

Also I feel I should apologise before sending this. I’m exhausted so despite proof reading this three times some things might be out of order or simply not make sense.
 

Avuwyy

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I can't quite figure out if this thread is about mental stimulation or inciting aggression...this probably wouldn't work for your smaller tortoises, or Matilda...but here is how I provide stimulation...for her AND me...lolView attachment 343170
I am sure she doesn't fit inside the tire anymore...I guess what I am really saying is I try and provide physical and mental stimulation w/out aggression...View attachment 343171 she loves the tires...lolView attachment 343172
She looks like she’s having the time of her life. Seems like there is no animal that can resist the joy of a tire. I myself was rather fond of them as a child. Bless her soul :)

Should check to see if they take tortoise applications for Ninja Warrior.
 
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