Russian Becoming Aggressive?

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ktsnuggles

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Tortoise Becoming Aggressive?

Recently ive been noticing that my Russian tortoise has been becoming more and more aggressive. Ive had him for about 3 & 1/2 years. I take him to the vet annually to make sure he is still healthy. For the past week he has been constantly trying to get out of his enclosure (40 gallon breeder tank). He even tried to bite me yesterday when i went in there to take him out. He charges at me when i walk by his tank. I dont know what to do! I love him, but i dont want to fear being bit every time i want to pick him up, to bathe him or let him out, or even to feed him! Please help!! Hes normally a very docile tortoise, but lately, he just seems very irritable.
 

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GBtortoises

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The aggression that you're seeing is most likely territorial defense based on your tortoises desire to mate. Male Russian tortoises are very well noted for being aggressive, especially when the temperature and light duration that they are kept in trigger their breeding senses. A dominant male, will defend his territory usually with vigorous aggression, against other males for the right to breed females within their range. Often times in captivity, without another male or a female present lone male Russian tortoises will often turn their aggression towards other creatures and sometimes even inanimate objects like rocks, shoes, etc...

Some things that you may try to lessen the aggression is to re-arrange his current enclosure or move him into a new enclosure to trick him into thinking he is in a new territory. Decrease his activity temperatures, light duration or both, although he will still need to be kept at some activity level in order to remain healthy. The ultimate solution (for him anyway) is to introduce him to some females! Obviously, this takes on a whole new level for you because it would mean taking on and caring for more tortoises. Something that many people prefer not to do. If that is ever a consideration 2 to 3 females or more would be best so that no one female is subject to the males constant aggression.

There is a good chance that your male will calm down after a few weeks, although there is no telling when, how often or to what degreed that his aggression comes about again.

The instinct to defend their territory and breed is usually very strong with male Russian tortoises.
 

Missy

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RE: Tortoise Becoming Aggressive?

It is a male thing to charge. My 3 yr old sulcata charges me sometimes when I put my hand in but does not try to bite. I really don't no what to tell you except try to let him know your there before you go in. A larger enclosure without glass sides and a couple hides may help the trying to climb out.
 

Terry Allan Hall

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RE: Tortoise Becoming Aggressive?

ktsnuggles said:
Recently ive been noticing that my Russian tortoise has been becoming more and more aggressive. Ive had him for about 3 & 1/2 years. I take him to the vet annually to make sure he is still healthy. For the past week he has been constantly trying to get out of his enclosure (40 gallon breeder tank). He even tried to bite me yesterday when i went in there to take him out. He charges at me when i walk by his tank. I dont know what to do! I love him, but i dont want to fear being bit every time i want to pick him up, to bathe him or let him out, or even to feed him! Please help!! Hes normally a very docile tortoise, but lately, he just seems very irritable.

Hmmmm...just a thought, but maybe put saltpeter in his food? (That's what they fed us in the mashed potatoes at Boy Scout Camp, I'm told)

Maybe you might think about getting him a couple of females...Your boy-tort is now a man-tort and he has a new agenda! :D
 

Kristina

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More tortoises may be the WORST solution. If the male is overly aggressive with the females, then they will have to be kept separated. There are quarantine periods that need to be observed, and the OP has to have the room and resources to keep several torts.

Is it possibly food aggression? It may be that he has come to see YOU as the food source, so he is begging when you walk by and charging you when you reach in, trying to get something to eat from your hands, because he associates your hands with being fed.

Try using tongs or some other implement to put the food in the enclosure, and take him out and handle him at random times, so that he knows he isn't going to get food EVERY time you walk up to the enclosure.
 

gwennie26

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My male russian tortoise is doing the same!
I also have one female and therefore much of his aggression is directed at her. She is constantly being mounted and he dominates the food when they used to peacefully share it. I'm thinking about getting a separate tank so that they can have time being separated. Thoughts?
 

Terry Allan Hall

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gwennie26 said:
My male russian tortoise is doing the same!
I also have one female and therefore much of his aggression is directed at her. She is constantly being mounted and he dominates the food when they used to peacefully share it. I'm thinking about getting a separate tank so that they can have time being separated. Thoughts?

Get a nice big tub and set her up a "gal pad" for when he's too "attentive"... :cool:
 

Yvonne G

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gwennie26 said:
My male russian tortoise is doing the same!
I also have one female and therefore much of his aggression is directed at her. She is constantly being mounted and he dominates the food when they used to peacefully share it. I'm thinking about getting a separate tank so that they can have time being separated. Thoughts?

Hi Gwennie26:

Welcome to the forum!! In order for you to receive a more personalized answer to your problem, you should start your own thread.
 
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