Red footed tortoise escaped in my backyard (not fenced!)

TortoiseLearner

New Member
Joined
May 25, 2023
Messages
15
Location (City and/or State)
Clearwater
My Joy is a 12” male red-footed tortoise, he escaped this afternoon around 6:30–8:00pm...the weather was raining and day started to get dark.

My husband and I hold a flashlight on our phone, and looked around everywhere in our backyard(completely not fenced), even some part of our opening neighbors’ backyard, but unfortunately we cannot find him. His disappearance was like a mystery to us. Really worried and cannot go sleep. What should I do? The non-fenced backyard is big, and have many bushes.
 

ZEROPILOT

REDFOOT WRANGLER
Moderator
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 16, 2014
Messages
29,208
Location (City and/or State)
South Eastern Florida (U.S.A.)/Rock Hill S.C.
He's bedded down for the night. Probably under a bushy plant.
First thing in the morning I'd place a cut up watermelon in the middle of the yard. He's going to be most active at dawn. Dusk or if it rains.

EVERY REDFOOT I EVER HAD THAT ESCAPED. WAS CAPTURED AGAIN TRYING TO GET BACK IN FOR FOOD.

It's amazing how a RF can disappear into the surroundings without even trying. But they do everything instinctually. He'll want warmth. Security and food. He likely isn't far away.
Red is a trigger food.
 
Last edited:

TammyJ

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2016
Messages
7,427
Location (City and/or State)
Jamaica
Totally agree with Zeropilot! Best Redfoot advice available! Good luck!
 

TortoiseLearner

New Member
Joined
May 25, 2023
Messages
15
Location (City and/or State)
Clearwater
He's bedded down for the night. Probably under a bushy plant.
First thing in the morning I'd place a cut up watermelon in the middle of the yard. He's going to be most active at dawn. Dusk or if it rains.

EVERY REDFOOT I EVER HAD THAT ESCAPED. WAS CAPTURED AGAIN TRYING TO GET BACK IN FOR FOOD.

It's amazing how a RF can disappear into the surroundings without even trying. But they do everything instinctually. He'll want warmth. Security and food. He likely isn't far away.
Red is a trigger food.
Thanks a lot dear, these are very good advices! Would it be better if I place the red-colored food near bush or some places with shade? The middle of my backyard is exposed directly under the sun, and I live at central Florida, I worry about it may too bright and too warm for Joy to come over....
I placed some fresh cut tomato, strawberries, and watermelon in the middle of my backyard since 8:00 am, but isn’t seem like anyone comes yet. 😔 I am thinking of buy a yard sign this afternoon and write on “12” red-footed tortoise missing in neighborhoods” and also send letters to acknowledge my close neighbors...if it still not work I will tape missing animal leaflets on street and contact local animal control or services.
 

ZEROPILOT

REDFOOT WRANGLER
Moderator
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 16, 2014
Messages
29,208
Location (City and/or State)
South Eastern Florida (U.S.A.)/Rock Hill S.C.
Thanks a lot dear, these are very good advices! Would it be better if I place the red-colored food near bush or some places with shade? The middle of my backyard is exposed directly under the sun, and I live at central Florida, I worry about it may too bright and too warm for Joy to come over....
I placed some fresh cut tomato, strawberries, and watermelon in the middle of my backyard since 8:00 am, but isn’t seem like anyone comes yet. 😔 I am thinking of buy a yard sign this afternoon and write on “12” red-footed tortoise missing in neighborhoods” and also send letters to acknowledge my close neighbors...if it still not work I will tape missing animal leaflets on street and contact local animal control or services.
Best of luck to you.
These stories almost always end well
 

TammyJ

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2016
Messages
7,427
Location (City and/or State)
Jamaica
How was your tortoise housed? How do you think he escaped? Was he in an outdoor enclosure and does it have a water pool that he would soak in? Can you post some pictures?
 

TortoiseLearner

New Member
Joined
May 25, 2023
Messages
15
Location (City and/or State)
Clearwater
How was your tortoise housed? How do you think he escaped? Was he in an outdoor enclosure and does it have a water pool that he would soak in? Can you post some pictures?
Oh dear, I completely have no idea how he escaped! He escaped 3 times before, the first time we found him under a bush, and second time and the third time I caught him when he was walking around the yard. Every time he escaped I reinforced the enclosure, and the last time...this time, I cannot find him at all! 😭 and no idea where he got out from such strict enclosure! I am out now and will post some pics of the enclosure right when I back home...the enclosure doesn’t have water pool for him to soak in, but I soak him twice per week.
 

TammyJ

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2016
Messages
7,427
Location (City and/or State)
Jamaica
He should always have access to water for drinking and soaking himself. I suggest that you get a big flower pot saucer, fill it with water and sink it down so he can just slide easily into it. Put it where he would normally have his enclosure. If he is nearby he may come to drink or soak in it. Don't feel bad, you obviously care so much for him! Looking forward to the pictures.
 

TortoiseLearner

New Member
Joined
May 25, 2023
Messages
15
Location (City and/or State)
Clearwater
Best of luck to you.
These stories almost always end well
This morning when I went out to check, someone ate all the strawberries and watermelons(4 big pieces!)...Could not tell who, we have some wild rabbits and birds active around our neighborhood’s area. I should pour some coconut fiber to see who left the mark & track, and also set my alarm early in the morning to check...really wish we have cameras 😖
 

ZEROPILOT

REDFOOT WRANGLER
Moderator
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 16, 2014
Messages
29,208
Location (City and/or State)
South Eastern Florida (U.S.A.)/Rock Hill S.C.
This morning when I went out to check, someone ate all the strawberries and watermelons(4 big pieces!)...Could not tell who, we have some wild rabbits and birds active around our neighborhood’s area. I should pour some coconut fiber to see who left the mark & track, and also set my alarm early in the morning to check...really wish we have cameras 😖
Raccoons like fruit also
 

TortoiseLearner

New Member
Joined
May 25, 2023
Messages
15
Location (City and/or State)
Clearwater
He should always have access to water for drinking and soaking himself. I suggest that you get a big flower pot saucer, fill it with water and sink it down so he can just slide easily into it. Put it where he would normally have his enclosure. If he is nearby he may come to drink or soak in it. Don't feel bad, you obviously care so much for him! Looking forward to the pictures.
4204B410-AF2A-40A9-A075-175589D9CD41.jpeg
 

Attachments

  • 993E1C49-0C2A-425C-91CE-6F4946CD8840.jpeg
    993E1C49-0C2A-425C-91CE-6F4946CD8840.jpeg
    3.1 MB · Views: 5
  • A5F22736-47CB-4009-A166-675F50E0C0EB.jpeg
    A5F22736-47CB-4009-A166-675F50E0C0EB.jpeg
    2.8 MB · Views: 5
  • 99855806-0626-4FA7-B9C2-9A2F6912F40E.jpeg
    99855806-0626-4FA7-B9C2-9A2F6912F40E.jpeg
    3.2 MB · Views: 6

TortoiseLearner

New Member
Joined
May 25, 2023
Messages
15
Location (City and/or State)
Clearwater
He should always have access to water for drinking and soaking himself. I suggest that you get a big flower pot saucer, fill it with water and sink it down so he can just slide easily into it. Put it where he would normally have his enclosure. If he is nearby he may come to drink or soak in it. Don't feel bad, you obviously care so much for him! Looking forward to the pictures.
Joy lived in a 7 foot long enclosure with another 5.5” cherry head female tortoise name Bubblegum. After Joy was missing, Bubblegum showed depressed...she really seems need a partner and she is a sweet tortoise that always love to cuddle & bond with other tortoises. I reinforced the enclosure again and again but he still escaped 😔 I am thinking of build another habitat for him if I can successfully find him back. I print 25 pieces of fliers sent to our neighbors, and called local animal rescue, also put a big sign in front of our yard...will put some water (shallow water pool) out and red colored food out for him as well, hopefully I can find him back, he is a very big boy, shouldn’t be too hard to find.
 

TammyJ

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2016
Messages
7,427
Location (City and/or State)
Jamaica
Keeping them in pairs is not good, for many reasons including one bullying the other. What seems like cuddling is actually one bullying and trying to get rid of the other. Where is Bubblegum now? And tortoises sleep at night, so it would not have been the tortoise that ate the fruit you put out overnight. Most likely racoons.
 

TortoiseLearner

New Member
Joined
May 25, 2023
Messages
15
Location (City and/or State)
Clearwater
Keeping them in pairs is not good, for many reasons including one bullying the other. What seems like cuddling is actually one bullying and trying to get rid of the other. Where is Bubblegum now? And tortoises sleep at night, so it would not have been the tortoise that ate the fruit you put out overnight. Most likely racoons.
I see...I don’t think Bubblegum was bullying Joy, she is much smaller than him, and she seems really like to live with other tortoise before I got her (she cuddled with other tortoise at the pet store). Bubblegum is inside the larger hide now, the sun maybe too bright for them to walk out, they never come out during the day time (usually come out during the rain and dusk). I checked the food plate around 11:30 today, so could be someone ate during the night, or could be someone ate at very early morning...I live in this neighborhood more than 3 years now, and never saw raccoons in the area, but we do have wild birds and rabbits active in the neighborhood.
 

TammyJ

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2016
Messages
7,427
Location (City and/or State)
Jamaica
I think I am not getting through to you as I would like to, because you believe that they like each other's company, and that is just not so, and each one will always be unhappy. This is not nice to think about, because we mammals are social and enjoy each other's company. But reptiles do not, and especially tortoises, which in pairs will either bully or be cowed. Maybe this is a reason for the escapes. They each need their own spacious, mostly shady and secure enclosure. Good luck, I really hope you get Joy back! I can see that you are a caring owner. @ZEROPILOT .
 

TortoiseLearner

New Member
Joined
May 25, 2023
Messages
15
Location (City and/or State)
Clearwater
I think I am not getting through to you as I would like to, because you believe that they like each other's company, and that is just not so, and each one will always be unhappy. This is not nice to think about, because we mammals are social and enjoy each other's company. But reptiles do not, and especially tortoises, which in pairs will either bully or be cowed. Maybe this is a reason for the escapes. They each need their own spacious, mostly shady and secure enclosure. Good luck, I really hope you get Joy back! I can see that you are a caring owner. @ZEROPILOT .
Oh Dear, I completely believe you that tortoise don’t like to live as pair. I just so shocked of Bubblegum could possibly bullying Joy since he is a lot lot lot bigger than her 😳. Joy’s size is like a volleyball and Bubblegum’s size is like a hamburger.

I definitely think it is true Joy doesn’t like Bubblegum, because he starts to escape after I put Bubblegum together with him. I do think of separate them if I get luck to find him back...😔 he being missing for more than 48 hours now and I look around my backyard everyday...but it is little difficult for me to lower my body and crawl like a tortoise to check very closely under the bushes because I have 30 weeks pregnant belly. Lol.
 

ZEROPILOT

REDFOOT WRANGLER
Moderator
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 16, 2014
Messages
29,208
Location (City and/or State)
South Eastern Florida (U.S.A.)/Rock Hill S.C.
Keeping them in pairs is not good, for many reasons including one bullying the other. What seems like cuddling is actually one bullying and trying to get rid of the other. Where is Bubblegum now? And tortoises sleep at night, so it would not have been the tortoise that ate the fruit you put out overnight. Most likely racoons.
Tortoise cuddling is a whole different thing than mammals cuddling.
Tortoises do it out of aggression. Even with the more subtle species such as RF. Aggression may be hard to see. Unless you know what to look for.
He may have escaped out of the need to get away and get his own territory.
Any two tortoises kept in that relatively small enclosure would have issues with each other.
Tortoises are solitary creatures. Not pack animals like we humans.
 
Last edited:

New Posts

Top