Tortoise walked away outside-- any ideas to attract him back?

Chip's mom

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Hi all,

Our Eastern Hermann's tortoise was outside with our other tortoise. I left him for 20 seconds to run the other tortoise back inside and when I got back he was gone!

He can walk very quickly and it's a hot day, so my best guess is that he wandered off and is under a brush somewhere sheltering from the sun. We looked for hours and had 15 neighbors helping. I feel horribly for leaving him at all and my kids are devastated.

Does anyone have ideas for how to attract him to come back? We put his enclosure outside with food in it and didn't know if there are any other ideas?

Thank you for any thoughts!

Larina
 

wellington

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Look for him when it's cooler part of today. Then look for him in the morning when the sun is first out. Put out a low sided water dish.
Please get a proper outside enclosure for each one as tortoises should not be in pairs and species should never mix. Also, they will disappear every time, no matter how close you think you are going to watch them. Happens a lot on this forum and that's why it's never a good idea to have them outside except in a proper enclosure.
 

Chip's mom

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Look for him when it's cooler part of today. Then look for him in the morning when the sun is first out. Put out a low sided water dish.
Please get a proper outside enclosure for each one as tortoises should not be in pairs and species should never mix. Also, they will disappear every time, no matter how close you think you are going to watch them. Happens a lot on this forum and that's why it's never a good idea to have them outside except in a proper enclosure.
Thank you! Yes, they each have their own enclosure inside and we were working on building them outside enclosures, just had them out eating weeds and getting UV. I know they can move fast but it was literally 30 seconds that I was bringing the other one inside. I am scared that a bird got him, though I think he raced off and is resting under something, we have a lot of brush around.

I will do what you said and look in the cooler parts of the day and place the low water dish out now.
 

wellington

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If there is a lot of bushes to hide under, get on hands and knees and feel around. If it was hot out then it probably went for shade to wait it out.
My tortoises, leopards, will come out early and graze and then hide away in the hottest part of the day and then some days will come back out to graze some more when it gets cooler in the early evening. If yours doesn't do this, then the next morning when the sun is out, he likely will.
But feeling under all the bushes, not just looking, will likely find him.
 

Chip's mom

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If there is a lot of bushes to hide under, get on hands and knees and feel around. If it was hot out then it probably went for shade to wait it out.
My tortoises, leopards, will come out early and graze and then hide away in the hottest part of the day and then some days will come back out to graze some more when it gets cooler in the early evening. If yours doesn't do this, then the next morning when the sun is out, he likely will.
But feeling under all the bushes, not just looking, will likely find him.
Thank you, that is a great tip! I'm going to go out first thing in the morning when the sun comes out. I already cancelled morning work. I will also feel all around in the brush.
 

Cathie G

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It's really hard to see them when they get lost. My tortoise doesn't really dig but he will find a dip and start hunkering down. So feeling around is the best. I've had to do that in my outdoor enclosure that I know for sure he can't get out of. He was wedged sideways in a plant airing out his plastron when I finally found him.🤔😁👀
 

wellington

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Oh wow! Would their temperature be much different from the surroundings?
Well theirs was a larger sulcata. So their heat my be held in longer than a smaller species, but yeah, if it is done soon after the heat of the day has dropped the tortoise would still be holding on to some heat. I'm sure there's a window it has to be done in, probably depending of the size.
 

SinLA

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Oh wow! Would their temperature be much different from the surroundings?
Wait until it starts to cool down. The tortoise will cool at a slower rate than the surrounding ground so try thermal imaging after it starts to cool down.

I spent 45 looking for my tortoise in a 10x12 space. The can really hide when they want to
 

Ek1988

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Hi all,

Our Eastern Hermann's tortoise was outside with our other tortoise. I left him for 20 seconds to run the other tortoise back inside and when I got back he was gone!

He can walk very quickly and it's a hot day, so my best guess is that he wandered off and is under a brush somewhere sheltering from the sun. We looked for hours and had 15 neighbors helping. I feel horribly for leaving him at all and my kids are devastated.

Does anyone have ideas for how to attract him to come back? We put his enclosure outside with food in it and didn't know if there are any other ideas?

Thank you for any thoughts!

Larina
Thats what happened to me yesterday.. i left them outside in the garden for 5-6 mins when i came back one was gone.. it blew my mind.. searched for it for like 4/5 hours nowhere to be found... hope you find yours...
 

BeeZee1

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Some suggestions for finding your lost little guy

Get the neighborhood kids involved

Get down on your hands and knees and look under every shrub and bush - they like to hide in them. Look for tort tracks in any dirt.

Let all your neighbors know and also let the mailman, and regular UPS/FE drivers know – they walk or drive the neighborhoods.

Call the humane society - sometimes people turn them in

Call the nonemergency police phone number and see if anyone called with wanting to turn one in,

Just keep looking and check your yard again - sometimes they hide right in their own yard

Make posters and put them up all over the neighborhood. (say - this is a tortoise not a turtle - please do not put him in water)

S/he may have burrowed down. So when you are crawling around, feel for soft spots, especially under shrubs plants with good roots, or pavers, etc.

Put out favored foods and when the sun comes up s/he might come round or be basking in a nice warm spot

Some suggest using a dog to help you find a lost tort – if you use a dog – keep the dog leashed as torts smell like rawhide chew toys to dogs

Some say torts go north when wandering off

Post on your local Facebook sites and your own timeline, Lost and Found sites, NextDoor, and say this is a tortoise not a turtle and he cannot swim so please if you find him contact me and do not put him in water - thank you


OF NOTE – if the weather has cooled way down – your tortoise might think it is brumation (hibernation) time. When tortoises are winding s/he may have burrowed down. So when you are crawling around, feel for soft spots, especially under shrubs plants with good roots, or pavers, etc.
 

Sarah2020

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Hope you find your tortoise. I think food will be good to provide on a dish you will know if it is distrubed and eaten. Good luck.
 

HoustonHermanns

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Hi all,

Our Eastern Hermann's tortoise was outside with our other tortoise. I left him for 20 seconds to run the other tortoise back inside and when I got back he was gone!

He can walk very quickly and it's a hot day, so my best guess is that he wandered off and is under a brush somewhere sheltering from the sun. We looked for hours and had 15 neighbors helping. I feel horribly for leaving him at all and my kids are devastated.

Does anyone have ideas for how to attract him to come back? We put his enclosure outside with food in it and didn't know if there are any other ideas?

Thank you for any thoughts!

Larina
Are you still in Philadelphia? I found one but in Texas.
 

MaNaAk

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Southend
It's really hard to see them when they get lost. My tortoise doesn't really dig but he will find a dip and start hunkering down. So feeling around is the best. I've had to do that in my outdoor enclosure that I know for sure he can't get out of. He was wedged sideways in a plant airing out his plastron when I finally found him.🤔😁👀
After searching outside a couple look inside the house as sixty year old Daisy turned up in the telephone directory having sneaked inside whilst mum was putting sixty-seven year old Jacky to bed. Ask your neighbours as well?

MaNaAk
 

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