Still wondering if anybody has any EVIDENCE that Aldabras are solitary animals

Tom

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I have only been around one Galapagos, squarer flat head and blunt square nose is what I would describe them having and always the goopy eyes, even most pictures they have it. The Aldabra has the pointier nose in my opinion rounder head and I have never seen goopy eyes.
One day I will have to visit the Galapagos at our Brookfield Zoo. Just to see how they behave. Probably no where near the same as one private owned I'm sure.
I agree with your head description. I don't much care for the pointy noses, but I love the blocky square heads of the Galapagos. For the same reason I prefer the look of the Eastern hermanni instead of the greeks.

Seeing either of them in a zoo isn't going to give you much insight. You'll just get a snapshot of whatever they are doing for those few minutes you are standing there. Come to CA. I'll take you to places where you can put hands on them and sit for hours with an iced tea or a fruity drink of your choice. I'll text you some pics tomorrow.
 

wellington

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I agree with your head description. I don't much care for the pointy noses, but I love the blocky square heads of the Galapagos. For the same reason I prefer the look of the Eastern hermanni instead of the greeks.

Seeing either of them in a zoo isn't going to give you much insight. You'll just get a snapshot of whatever they are doing for those few minutes you are standing there. Come to CA. I'll take you to places where you can put hands on them and sit for hours with an iced tea or a fruity drink of your choice. I'll text you some pics tomorrow.
Yeah the zoo won't tell me much. Would still like to see them though. If just to see how they are actually caring for them. The one I did see, and had hands on was friendly, but nothing impressive as far as personality. Didn't care we were there, didn't care if we left.
 

wellington

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Male Galapagos have foamier eyes than females and the amount of foam increases during the dry season. Some of the finches there drink it and they may have a preference for male tortoises because of it.
I was actually going to ask if the males were the only ones that had the goopy/foamy eyes. I mostly see males I believe in pics. The one I had hands on was a male and I believe both at the Zoo here are males but not positive.
Do the young ones have it too or only the larger ones, comes with age?
 

dd33

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I don't know when it starts to develop. The paper I read just said it was more common in males and was more prevalent in the dry season. We don't notice it in any of our young animals (<10yo) but I see it in our sub adult male that is about 20.
 

Andy27012

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I also am quite interested on an update on the indoor room you built for your Aldabras. I followed the build closely and admired what you did. I recently finished a similar build for my Galapagos, so interested in how its working for you.

I do believe you are a bit off track on saying everyone says Aldabras are solitary. I'll do the opposite and say I don't thing most anyone believes that! They live in large groups. I personally believe solitary and pairs is not good. I am certainly willing to take @dd33 's conclusion that pairs may indeed be OK for Aldabras seriously.

Having evolved to live in high density on smaller habitable areas, they have adapted to living with one another. Galapagos are similar, but seem to have adapted a much more aggressive pecking order style for "getting along". Raised solitary, these giants seem to develop very abnormal behaviors and simply don't learn social skills. If later added to others, they don't know how to get along and are also problematic in learning breeding behaviors as well.

I recently was touring the Galapagos exhibit at the local zoo with the CEO of the zoo. He was showing me the 2 Galapagos females donated to the zoo a while back. Raised as a pair, one was quite larger than the other. The biggest thing that struck me was how they acted. Totally different than all the other Galapagos I have worked with and seen. They wanted no part of neck and leg rubs. They would try to bite constantly and butt at us. They acted like 2 yr old Galaps that were just learning to test each other, despite the keepers constant work with them to try to get them to accept attention.

I have come to believe the giant tortoises are group animals. Certainly if you ever hope to develop a successful breeding program, (which to me is the indication of normal, healthy, happy animals) you need to work with animals raised in a group.
Not looking for a fight, just curious as someone who keeps a single Aldabra. Why do you think keeping them alone would harm them?
 

dd33

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Not looking for a fight, just curious as someone who keeps a single Aldabra. Why do you think keeping them alone would harm them?
I would be interested in hearing what @Indian Ocean Tortoise has to say about this. I believe their post suggested there was a behavioral change when animals that were kept solitary were re-introduced to a group situation.
I think it would be a stretch to say that keeping them alone would harm them. I don't think they are a herd type animal that is in a panic when they are alone like a goat, nor do I think the are a like a bird that bonds with another animal.
 

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Not looking for a fight, just curious as someone who keeps a single Aldabra. Why do you think keeping them alone would harm them?
Agree with @dd33 in that I don't believe it will "harm" them. My experience is with Galapagos and lots of accounts told to me with others and zoos. With Galaps, I believe they are very genetically valuable animals if we are to keep the species alive. As extremely long-lived individuals I would like to see possible breeding as an option for as many successfully kept Galaps as possible, especially any pure species, or ones who possess genetics from a particularly genetically rare species. One of our best breeding pairs is 103 years old and still producing babies - so the potential for breeding exists a really long time! Longer than our lifetime, so the possibility to want to breed them may certainly be an issue even though we personally don't have that in mind.

Tortoises kept alone and ones raised in pairs just don't seem to gain the "social skills" necessary to later get along with others! Courtship and breeding can be difficult if not futile. Aggression is much more pronounced to where they even can be excluded from access to night boxes, etc. I believe giant tortoises have evolved to live by social skills allowing high densities to co-exist in relatively small geographic areas. The group dynamics I see developing and changing - from babies getting along with everyone, to youngsters testing each other, to young adults with males sorting out their preferences, and adults choosing who get access to the females and the sleeping areas - tells me that although not herding animals, nor animals that "need" the companionship of others, they are very much animals that have developed a communication and social skill set that allows the species to exist successfully.
 

Tom

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Agree with @dd33 in that I don't believe it will "harm" them. My experience is with Galapagos and lots of accounts told to me with others and zoos. With Galaps, I believe they are very genetically valuable animals if we are to keep the species alive. As extremely long-lived individuals I would like to see possible breeding as an option for as many successfully kept Galaps as possible, especially any pure species, or ones who possess genetics from a particularly genetically rare species. One of our best breeding pairs is 103 years old and still producing babies - so the potential for breeding exists a really long time! Longer than our lifetime, so the possibility to want to breed them may certainly be an issue even though we personally don't have that in mind.

Tortoises kept alone and ones raised in pairs just don't seem to gain the "social skills" necessary to later get along with others! Courtship and breeding can be difficult if not futile. Aggression is much more pronounced to where they even can be excluded from access to night boxes, etc. I believe giant tortoises have evolved to live by social skills allowing high densities to co-exist in relatively small geographic areas. The group dynamics I see developing and changing - from babies getting along with everyone, to youngsters testing each other, to young adults with males sorting out their preferences, and adults choosing who get access to the females and the sleeping areas - tells me that although not herding animals, nor animals that "need" the companionship of others, they are very much animals that have developed a communication and social skill set that allows the species to exist successfully.
Talking to the group here, but referencing Mark's words:

I agree, and without me realizing it along the way, the ideas that Mark has articulated above have been influencing my tortoise keeping preferences for years. I don't think in terms of having "a tortoise" of a given species anymore and I haven't for years. I think in terms of having groups of tortoises. Turtles too. I'm putting together some lizard groups currently, and considering a couple of snake species that can live communally too. Ctenosaura pectinata and Cyclura cornuta in large outdoor cages, and a couple of large Spilotes species indoors.

Pertaining to the subject of this thread, the idea of keeping a single "pet" tortoise is but a distant memory for me, but I'll agree that there is no harm in this, other than potential behavioral issues later on if the animal ever becomes part of a breeding group. I've seen that with tortoises raised alone of several species. Anyone old timers remember what a tyrant Daisy was?

This discussion has reminded me of the Hermanni book by Holger Vetter. I can't remember whether it was eastern or westerns, or both, but the book explained how they lived socially in relatively small territories in the wild and had distinct hierarchies. Other than the island giants, this is the first time I can remember reading a reference of social behavior in wild tortoise groups. Upon reading the words in the book, my mind expanded and the idea of groups of tortoises in large naturalistic outdoor enclosures became a passion and a goal. I'm still learning and improving, but happy with the progress so far. Its a life time endeavor and I'll never stop learning and improving.

Back to the subject of this thread, nowhere have I seen reference to wild tortoises pairing up like some of the raptor or water fowl species do. Groups yes. Pairs no. And a detail that is often over looked in these discussions is that our little back yards and tiny pens are NOT the wild where there is not only unlimited space, but also factors of predation, weather phenomena, competition from other animal species for space and food, drought, torrential rains, etc... There is much to contend with for a wild tortoise other than conspecifics. Not so with a pair of captive tortoises in a small back yard.

What happens in the wild is fascinating and many lifetimes can be spent studying what happens out there, but only a fool would ignore mountains of evidence and decades of experience of what is observed when tortoises are kept in pairs in our captive care situations.
 

dd33

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@wellington is this the eye goop you're talking about? The first picture is a male and the second is likely a female. The third photo has two of our Aldabras to stay on subject.


chewy.jpgnibbles.jpg

aldabra-becki.jpg
 

wellington

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@wellington is this the eye goop you're talking about? The first picture is a male and the second is likely a female. The third photo has two of our Aldabras to stay on subject.


View attachment 365494View attachment 365495

View attachment 365496
Yes that's it. They always seem to have it. Well at least all the pics, TV, or the one I seen in person. I don't live with them, so don't know if it's all the time, except for what you had said about it earlier on. I see now the bubbling you mentioned. From further away, it always looks goopy lol.
For the Aldabras, I never have seen them have it and for some reason, I don't know why, but I thought your Aldabras were much smaller.
Beautiful, all of them, but the Aldabras are still my fave.
 

dd33

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For the Aldabras, I never have seen them have it and for some reason, I don't know why, but I thought your Aldabras were much smaller.
Beautiful, all of them, but the Aldabras are still my fave.
The largest is a little over 100lbs. They have become serious pains recently. For 5 years they were very good about using their night box but over the last 6 weeks or so at one or two of them attempt to stay out every night.
 

wellington

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The largest is a little over 100lbs. They have become serious pains recently. For 5 years they were very good about using their night box but over the last 6 weeks or so at one or two of them attempt to stay out every night.
That's one thing I've noticed about tortoises. They go thru streaks where they decide to change things up and not do what they have been doing for months or years. Like any animal, keeping us on our toes and guessing.
How old are all of them? They look bigger in the pic than 100 lb. Pics are so deceiving sometimes.
 

dd33

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That's one thing I've noticed about tortoises. They go thru streaks where they decide to change things up and not do what they have been doing for months or years. Like any animal, keeping us on our toes and guessing.
How old are all of them? They look bigger in the pic than 100 lb. Pics are so deceiving sometimes.
The three Aldabras were hatched sometime in early 2018, we have had them since September 2018.
 

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I just recently purchased a vet scale so I could weigh Jackson and General, I kept really good records of their weight when they were younger , smaller and easier to weigh, Yesterday I weighed them, Jackson is 96 lbs, General is 84 lbs. they were 500 grams when I got them in june of 2020. not even 4 years to go from a little over 1 pound to almost 100lbs , The last recoreded weight I have of them is july of 2022 they were 35 and 32lbs. Still getting along great.
 

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