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Two adult males?

Discussion in 'Redfoot and yellowfoot tortoises' started by gleana, Mar 7, 2018.

  1. gleana

    gleana New Member

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    Hi all,

    I'm adopting two adult redfoot males from a rescue in a week and a half (one is ~10' and the other 11'). She has had them for a few weeks, and thinks that the two should stay together. I know that some redfoots are social creatures, but I have also seen some people saying that two males don't do well together. She seems to know a lot about them, so is it possible that they'll be just fine?

    On that note, has anyone had any success with two story enclosures for redfoots? I live in an apartment, so I am planning on building a three story enclosure: 6'x2' for the bottom two levels and a 3'x2' on the top (for a total of 30 sq ft plus the ramps which are around 12 more feet). I am considering boosting the foot to 6'x3' so they'll have more room to spin, but man, my space is tight as is... I live in Montana (northern USA), so while I can keep them outside in the summer with more roaming space, I'd like to give them a comfortable winter home indoors.

    I tried to find multistory plans, but most had "partial" second stories, not the full set up I was thinking of.

    Any thoughts or guidance would be awesome. Thanks!
  2. wellington

    wellington Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member

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    Tortoises of that size really need to be outside. Two feet wide will not do and the smaller section really won't do. Two males in an inside enclosure will not get along, specially in a too small a space.
    Why not find a younger smaller one, just one. Leave these be for someone that can give them proper outdoor space.
    TammyJ likes this.
  3. Robber

    Robber Active Member 5 Year Member

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    I have a two level cage for mine and it works well as she is up and down the ramp quite often and uses all of the space, but it is 8 ft by 3ft and then the upper level is maybe 3 by 3. The dimensions you gave will be too small for those two. I will try to post a pic of mine later.
  4. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    A lot of people use their emotions and feel ins to make decisions about animals. Two tortoises should not live together. Especially not two adult males and especially not in a small enclosure. A new member came along a couple of years ago and decided to ignore this advice. After six weeks she came back and asked us what to do as one RF had literally eaten the tail and part of the back leg of the other. Then she got all upset and called us "judgmental" for explaining that this was her fault and she should have separated them when 6 people told her to previously.

    One of these tortoises needs a whole room, not a triple decker small tortoise table. They also need warm humid conditions 24/7 which will be impossible to maintain in an open table in a normal house. Can you dedicate an entire room divided in half for these boys to live in most of the year? Can you move to a house with more room? If not, it sounds like you will not be able to meet the needs of these tortoises in your current living situation.
    JoesMum and TechnoCheese like this.
  5. gleana

    gleana New Member

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    I haven't figured out how to "reply" to all of you at once, so I'll just go in order:

    Wellington, do you think these tortoises shouldn't winter inside at all? So they shouldn't be kept in the northern states or cold climates? I guess I was just under the impression that indoors is nonideal, but with enough space and the right UVA/UVB lighting, they get along fine for a few months. It'd be interesting to hear that isn't the case.

    Robber, that would be incredibly helpful. I was torn between a 6x2 and 6x3, and ultimately decided to go with the 6x2 with an external ramp thinking it wouldn't impact their floor space very much because the ramp at a ~20% grade would take up almost the entire 6x1 space anyway. I would love to see your design.

    Tom, that's also pretty good to know. I kept reading varying things about whether or not this could work? Has it ever worked before? My current plan is to take them both, and then if I see bullying (although I've also read that it can be "hard to notice"), to take one of the two back to the rescue and separate them. If you all really think this is an exercise in folly, though, I'll talk to the rescue. I know that we habitually anthropomorphize animals, but I am not familiar enough with tortoises to know if that's what is happening thinking that the two should stay together, or if they really have just bonded (they've been kept together the entire time they've been with the rescue, and for an unknown length of time prior to that (a really, really bad situation)).
  6. gleana

    gleana New Member

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    OH! I missed something:

    Regarding the humidity, I know that's a problem. I've been keeping snakes for years. I'm setting up an automatic humidifier system, and it won't be an entirely open table. One of the perks of having a multistory system is that the sides will be primarily wood, some acrylic, and then window screen for air movement. I'm planning on messing with the acrylic/screen/wood ratios until I find one that keeps humidity high enough. Also, the floor space is primarily top soil and coco coir, and will be planted, which should hold the humidity up.

    I am open to extending it to a 6x3 bottom story, 6x3 or 6x2 mid story, and then maybe a 3x2 or 3x2 upper story. The uncertainty here is why I want to see some other designs to see how they accommodate the ramps.
  7. JoesMum

    JoesMum Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    We warn about bullying because we have seen the resukts too often. There are few species of animals where keeping males together works and tortoises are no exception. They are scrappy and they disagree. Redfoots are less scrappy as a species, but 2 males in a small enclosure is guaranteeing trouble.

    You will have testosterone fuelled bullying sooner or later. At least one will get sick, could well be injured and possibly die.

    The kind and caring thing to do is to keep one and to keep it in a a properly setup humid large, enclosure.

    @Anyfoot has experience of keeping this species indoors.
  8. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Supporter

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  9. Anyfoot

    Anyfoot Well-Known Member

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    2 males in a small enclosure is asking for trouble. From what I'm seeing with my herd of redfoots is that there is always dominant male, a pecking order. All is well until a subordinate male is no longer happy not being top dog. I have a problem at the moment where one of my males is trying to knock the dominant male off the top spot. They are biting, ramming and pestering each other. I have a 300sq ft indoor enclosure, plenty of room to be rid hide from each other, but animal instinct is to fight until one backs off. Females are laying again so I suspect this is playing a role in the males aggressive behaviour. My 'was' subordinate male is now the dominant male, and my 'was' dominant male is now very subdued with a small injury on his bottom jaw. I'm going to end up splitting my group or getting rid of a male. (Dawn won't let me do the latter :rolleyes:) .
    I've had these males for near on 4yrs now and only in the last 2 months have I ever seen fighting. I suspect the young subordinate male is maturing.

    Point is, even in a 300sq ft indoor enclosure with plenty of hiding places to be away from each other where I feed in three places and offer a huge amount of water so everyone gets enough of what they need my males still insist on duelling for top spot. I'm waiting to see what happens when I can let them outside in a 1500sq ft area. I suspect the problem will persist.
    I'm slowly learning redfoot talk:D
    One sharp flick of the head is indicating annoyance, and males try to raise their heads higher than the opponent to show dominance.

    Are they defo both males? Many get sexing wrong.
    Personally I think you should get yourself a 2x4ft vivarium and start off with one baby.
    ColaCarbonaria likes this.
  10. Robber

    Robber Active Member 5 Year Member

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    I took the pics and will upload later. I do not have humidity problem because as you will see it is enclosed; I can't imagine trying to keep Redfoot humid enough in an open setup inside.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2018
  11. Robber

    Robber Active Member 5 Year Member

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  12. Robber

    Robber Active Member 5 Year Member

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    Well,I edited every image to have it right side up only to see they all get turned horizontal when inserted anyway...oh well, you can get the idea despite the orientation and poor lighting. While I don't have a problem with humidity, I do have to nearly flood the floor with the hose every few days or it will drop below 50% humidity, at least a bit above the substrate. Of course, it isn't air tight by any means - I built it with some cheaper materials than I should have here and there, so there are some small gaps. It does a great job overall though - I have three heat sources in it: the ceramic emitter in the hanging fixture, the heat pad, and also a dark bulb(75W) under the second "floor", although she actually goes in that part the least.
  13. gleana

    gleana New Member

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    Robber, thank you so much. This is great. I like your door system, I might steal that... Your entrance at the top of the ramp is also pretty interesting. It looks like you have a wall that the ramp goes under? I hadn't thought of that, but it might make the overall structure more stable to have a "brace" like that in the middle. I have a CHE, UVA/UVB bulb w/o heat, and a 100W basking spot. I just got it all set up, so I'm going to give it a few days to see how it equalizes...

    Updates:

    Temporary enclosure is finished. It's 4.5 ft x 3.5 ft with a 2 x 3.5 foot upper story (so a total of circa 23 sq ft). Humidity seems to be hanging around 50%, so I'm working on an automatic humidifier to stick in there. Once that's done, I'll start working on a nicer winter enclosure and the outdoor one. It is currently functional, but far from pretty...

    And the update that I think everyone wants to hear ( ;) ): I'll be getting a single male tortoise. I spoke to the rescue, and we'll be splitting the two up.
    manuetaaz likes this.
  14. MountainFox

    MountainFox Member Platinum Supporter

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    @gleana, can you post pics of the enclosure? I’m always curious to see the configuration and ramp placement in multistory designs. How temporary is this enclosure? That’s still small for a tort of his size, and I think you’ll find that once he’s in there with his water dish and hide, he will look squished! Are you planning on keeping him in there for the duration of the current cold season and then moving him outside? You mentioned building a second indoor enclosure, so I’m not sure if this is just a super short term home. As for the humidity, given that fact that this is a temporary situation, it may be easier to just hook a hose up to a traditional humidifier (located outside of the enclosure) and run it all of the time. Anything located inside will just take up precious space!

    We have been discussing your tortoise crib at length, but we must know more about your tortoise “baby”! What did you name him? How are things going? I DEMAND to see photos of your tiny dinosaur!
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