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Problems with aggressive Hermann Tortoise

Discussion in 'General Tortoise Discussion' started by Lady Thompson, Jan 6, 2018.

  1. Lady Thompson

    Lady Thompson Active Member

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    I have a male Hermann tortoise who is turning 4 years old in March. I've had him since he was a hatchling. I'm wondering if I made a mistake getting him. Don't get me wrong, I do love the little guy, but he is so aggressive.

    I have him in a tortoise table in winter and in summer he has an outdoor enclosure. But I live in Canada so he is mainly inside. He is really big now and I've made the mistake of allowing him full run of the house at times. So he will incessentally try to get out, banging and smashing on the walls, until I let him free range.

    But once he is out all he does is chase us around, full speed, and try to bite us. Or he mounts our feet. He is turning into a pain in the butt. I thought tortoises were supposed to be slow but he is fast like a rat and persistent.

    Does he need a girlfriend? Will this be how he is from now on? Will he eventually calm down? I thought he wasn't supposed to reach sexual maturity until he is 9 years old? He is not even 4 yet and has been like this for almost 2 years. I think I overfed him and he has grown super fast.

    I don't know if I should rehome him somewhere that he can have a girlfriend. HELP!
    Gwen Loves Tortoises likes this.
  2. Bambam1989

    Bambam1989 Well-Known Member

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    Your tort is trying to run you out of his perceived territory. Even if you got him a "girlfriend" he would only harass her until she becomes sick from the stress.
    I do agree that letting him roam the floors was a mistake. Not only does it cause them to be unsatisfied with their enclosure, it can be hazardous to their health.
    I would recommend not letting him roam free in your house anymore. Building him a larger inside enclosure may help keep him from attempting escape constantly. May I ask how big his current enclosure is? If you provide pictures we would be willing to give advice to make it more comfortable too.
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  3. Cheryl Hills

    Cheryl Hills Well-Known Member

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    No girlfriend. He would be aggressive to her.
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  4. Cheryl Hills

    Cheryl Hills Well-Known Member

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  5. Lady Thompson

    Lady Thompson Active Member

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    Okay no girlfriend, got it, thanks. I'll upload a picture. 20171109_102441.jpg
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  6. Lady Thompson

    Lady Thompson Active Member

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    It extends only slightly on the side you can't see. And here is his summer home. But it has much more plants. 20170706_182109.jpg
  7. Lady Thompson

    Lady Thompson Active Member

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    One more of inside. 20171008_183326.jpg
  8. Bambam1989

    Bambam1989 Well-Known Member

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  9. Lady Thompson

    Lady Thompson Active Member

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    But even when he is in a bigger enclosure all he wants to do is get out as soon as he sees you. We even gave him an entire spare room and he wanted more space.
  10. Lady Thompson

    Lady Thompson Active Member

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    He is also bigger than my hand. Is this a normal size at his age?
  11. Bambam1989

    Bambam1989 Well-Known Member

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    Is he trying to get out, or get at you?
  12. Lady Thompson

    Lady Thompson Active Member

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    I would say both. Sometimes he is perfectly fine in his cage all day long but as soon as he sees me he runs towards me. Then he won't stop trying to get out. Where ever I am he wants to be.

    Or if he hears the vacuum he wants to get out so bad. If out he will run after the vacuum trying to attack it.

    Currently he is mounting a slipper. Sigh.

    He will chase us all over the house. The only safe spot is on the couch with your feet up. Sometimes he won't bite and will just stay by your feet. But most times he bites.
  13. Maro2Bear

    Maro2Bear Well-Known Member

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    Good looking tort for sure.
  14. Lady Thompson

    Lady Thompson Active Member

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    Awe thank you. I really do love him. He is just such a jerk at times.
  15. Bambam1989

    Bambam1989 Well-Known Member

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    All of this sounds territorial. Even when he is only sitting by your feet, this is an act of "crowding" which is used to intimidate other torts, a type of psychological aggression. He sees you as a rival and wants you gone. Due to being allowed to wonder the house, he thinks of it as HIS house and anything that moves or draws his attention is a trespasser.
    The only advice that I, personally, can give is to provide him with a much larger enclosure and to not let him out to roam the floor ever again. Outside in a secure enclosure once the weather warms up is always great.
    Someone else who has more experience may be able to give more advice.
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  16. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    I agree with BamBam. Make this tortoises indoor enclosure much larger. 4x8' should be the minimum. Add rocks, logs, potted plants and hiding areas, and leave him in there.

    The outdoor enclosure also needs to be much larger and it needs some furniture too. Tortoises need room.

    Even with these changes, this might just be your guys personality. Some of them turn out vey bold, aggressive and assertive. I call them little super males. Access to females has nothing to do with this and will not change it. Access to a large outdoor enclosure that is full of obstacles, sight barriers, plants, hides, logs, boulders, caves, etc… might.
    JoesMum, Kaliman1962, TammyJ and 3 others like this.
  17. Gwen Loves Tortoises

    Gwen Loves Tortoises Member

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    Lol! What a great story! Well um I’m stumped? I bet it has to do with his hormones and wanting to mate. I’m so sorry he’s speedy Gonzales and try’s to bite you and your family. I don’t know what I would do? Now I’m going to be even more sweet to my baby in hopes he always stays nice. I think he needs a gf too. Or maybe he just got so spoiled being free range?? I’ll look up some info & see what I can find. Good luck with your tort.
  18. Reptilian Feline

    Reptilian Feline Active Member

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    Until you can build him a larger enclosure, can you make a barrier around a portion of the floor so he can excercise? I was on the verge of creating a monster in Tank Girl, always responding to her trying to get out for her daily walk-about, but once I stopped always comming to her, she has then quieted down, She will always coem when I offer her a treat, so that's fine. Embers is still too small to make a big thing out of getting my attention, but he is also more friendly than she is.
    With that said, he might finally realise that he can't get to you and that he won't be taken outside whenever he wants to, but that might take time to re-train him.

    And... if you put him in a "paddock" indoors, give him a slipper to mount... at least he'll be occupied... and maybe happy. Or get a wooden tort for him to play with.
  19. Lady Thompson

    Lady Thompson Active Member

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    Aw thanks everyone for your responses. I think I have spoiled him, lol. Sometimes when he is obsessing on chasing and attacking me I throw a slipper or towel down and then he is quite happy for a long time. I guess I really didn't think it would be like this having a tortoise. I thought they were slow creatures. No one believes me about how fast he is until they come over and see it for themselves. Then they are in shock.

    He is also obessed with fabric. Pj bottoms especially. He will run so fast to get to them that he'll literally lose traction on our floor and run in spot like in the cartoons.

    He is especially aggressive after his baths. Well, at least he doesn't try to bite when you are holding him. It is only when he is on the floor. I think he has a very strong personality. And a LOT of confidence. Hahaha, sigh, just my luck.

    We took him with us to my Mom's over Christmas and barracaded him in a spare room but all we could hear was him trying to get out for HOURS. Crashing and banging. We finally had to turn all the lights off so he would calm down and go to sleep.

    If you are in the bathroom and he knows it he will try to come in, and smash and push the door open. Anything new that is brought into the house he will charge over full force to see what it is.

    Is there no one else that has a demented tortoise like this?
  20. Big Charlie

    Big Charlie Well-Known Member

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    Tortoises like routine. They aren't comfortable with being put into new environments. Like with any animal, you need to make sure you aren't rewarding behavior you don't like.
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