Why does he hate me

timmy_tortoise

New Member
Joined
Aug 7, 2023
Messages
4
Location (City and/or State)
United Kingdom
Hi, new member here.
I've had my tortoise for 7 or 8 years now, and I don't remember a time when he's ever liked me. I got him from being a hatchling so I don't think it could be that he's having a hard time adjusting!
He hisses at me when I open his cage, even when he knows he's getting fed. He won't start eating until (I'm pretty sure!) he knows I've gone, although he does eat straight away if I give him a strawberry. He doesn't seem to mind if I watch him with the cage closed, but he doesn't like it when I get close. He seems to go through weird moods where he's either sulking in the corner for a long period, or he's constantly scrabbling around inside his cage. It's the same when he's in the bath- he'll either sulk with his head in his shell until I take him out or try to climb out himself! He hates being held or touched and runs away when I even stroke his shell! I will admit that I'm not around him often anymore as I'm away at college for the majority of the year, but as far as I remember he's always been this way ( + he acts like this with everyone). I'd hoped that now the summer is here I could bond with him some more, but he just hates me! I'm so disappointed in myself and I feel like I've failed as an owner :( I love him and I just want him to be happy!
 

SinLA

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Joined
Apr 19, 2022
Messages
2,256
Location (City and/or State)
Los Angeles
So the "hissing" sound is actually air being expelled from his shell when he pulls himself in quickly, so he's hiding, not really "hissing".

That said, what you have described is almost exactly the relationship I have with my Russian, except he's wild caught and has had some rough previous owners.

They are genetically programmed to be scared. it keeps them alive in the wild. Not sure how to advise to make it better, but I don't think he "hates" you, he is just scared of you.
 

timmy_tortoise

New Member
Joined
Aug 7, 2023
Messages
4
Location (City and/or State)
United Kingdom
So the "hissing" sound is actually air being expelled from his shell when he pulls himself in quickly, so he's hiding, not really "hissing".

That said, what you have described is almost exactly the relationship I have with my Russian, except he's wild caught and has had some rough previous owners.

They are genetically programmed to be scared. it keeps them alive in the wild. Not sure how to advise to make it better, but I don't think he "hates" you, he is just scared of you.
Oh I didn't know that, thanks for the input :)
I was worried that I'd done something to scare him, but I can't think what it could be. Unless he's just generally timid, but I feel like it's my responsibility to make it better!
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
63,841
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Hi, new member here.
I've had my tortoise for 7 or 8 years now, and I don't remember a time when he's ever liked me. I got him from being a hatchling so I don't think it could be that he's having a hard time adjusting!
He hisses at me when I open his cage, even when he knows he's getting fed. He won't start eating until (I'm pretty sure!) he knows I've gone, although he does eat straight away if I give him a strawberry. He doesn't seem to mind if I watch him with the cage closed, but he doesn't like it when I get close. He seems to go through weird moods where he's either sulking in the corner for a long period, or he's constantly scrabbling around inside his cage. It's the same when he's in the bath- he'll either sulk with his head in his shell until I take him out or try to climb out himself! He hates being held or touched and runs away when I even stroke his shell! I will admit that I'm not around him often anymore as I'm away at college for the majority of the year, but as far as I remember he's always been this way ( + he acts like this with everyone). I'd hoped that now the summer is here I could bond with him some more, but he just hates me! I'm so disappointed in myself and I feel like I've failed as an owner :( I love him and I just want him to be happy!
What species? What size cage?
 

TammyJ

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2016
Messages
7,508
Location (City and/or State)
Jamaica
Tortoises don't "hate" like people do, not do they love like humans. They are reptiles. They can sometimes adjust to being held and stroked, and may even seem to enjoy it, but some never do and we can't always know why. We can love them unconditionally like how I love my Iggy...who hates me totally and forever 😂
 

timmy_tortoise

New Member
Joined
Aug 7, 2023
Messages
4
Location (City and/or State)
United Kingdom
Tortoises don't "hate" like people do, not do they love like humans. They are reptiles. They can sometimes adjust to being held and stroked, and may even seem to enjoy it, but some never do and we can't always know why. We can love them unconditionally like how I love my Iggy...who hates me totally and forever 😂
Haha that's very true 😂 I guess I meant more like he always seems so miserable and barely interacts with me, I just feel like I'm doing something wrong 😭 but yeah I totally accept that he'll never embrace my love in the same way that my cats do haha
 

MaNaAk

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2021
Messages
1,595
Location (City and/or State)
Southend
Tortoises don't "hate" like people do, not do they love like humans. They are reptiles. They can sometimes adjust to being held and stroked, and may even seem to enjoy it, but some never do and we can't always know why. We can love them unconditionally like how I love my Iggy...who hates me totally and forever 😂
Jacky who is 87 behaves like this and I think she loves me!

MaNaAk
 
Joined
Feb 7, 2021
Messages
33
Location (City and/or State)
Alabama
Jacky who is 87 behaves like this and I think she loves me!

MaNaAk
Reading this made my day. Picturing a cantankerous 87 year old and you doting on her was something I could relate to. My Sulcata Tonka is a grumpy young soul but I choose to believe that way down deep deep deep inside he loves me as much I love him. Lol 😂

Jacky who is 87 behaves like this and I think she loves me!

MaNaAk
 

MaNaAk

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2021
Messages
1,595
Location (City and/or State)
Southend
Reading this made my day. Picturing a cantankerous 87 year old and you doting on her was something I could relate to. My Sulcata Tonka is a grumpy young soul but I choose to believe that way down deep deep deep inside he loves me as much I love him. Lol 😂
Yes he does this same as Jacky loves me. @zolasmum, @MoggyMad, @MenagerieGrl, @Cathie G have you read this?IMG20230730101839.jpgIMG20230730101404.jpg
 

Sarah2020

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Mar 16, 2020
Messages
1,670
Location (City and/or State)
London, UK
Persevere as mentioned tortoise will not provide the cat dog love. However their growth, wellbeing, health is what we back from tortoise husbandry . As mentioned the hissing is the head retracting suddenly. Suggestions...... Shallow warm water soaks similar to above pics are a great way to get used to each other and beneficial for hydration. I also small sessions of handling and stroking may gain trust.
 

MaNaAk

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2021
Messages
1,595
Location (City and/or State)
Southend
Reading this made my day. Picturing a cantankerous 87 year old and you doting on her was something I could relate to. My Sulcata Tonka is a grumpy young soul but I choose to believe that way down deep deep deep inside he loves me as much I love him. Lol 😂
🤣
 

Cathie G

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Aug 9, 2018
Messages
15,288
Location (City and/or State)
Lancaster
This is my favorite picture of Sapphire 🤗. It was taken on a 2007 Panasonic cell phone. I was laying on my belly in the grass and dirt just watching Sapphire and doing a photo shoot. He was fine with it. To this day after 16 years his first reflex is to draw in and hiss when I help him fly outside. In fact he's begging me to by standing as tall as he can and looking me straight in the eye. After that first reflex he'll poke his little head out and allow me to pet him even on the head. At that point I feel privileged. But they're worth it.10028.jpeg
 

MaNaAk

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2021
Messages
1,595
Location (City and/or State)
Southend
This is my favorite picture of Sapphire 🤗. It was taken on a 2007 Panasonic cell phone. I was laying on my belly in the grass and dirt just watching Sapphire and doing a photo shoot. He was fine with it. To this day after 16 years his first reflex is to draw in and hiss when I help him fly outside. In fact he's begging me to by standing as tall as he can and looking me straight in the eye. After that first reflex he'll poke his little head out and allow me to pet him even on the head. At that point I feel privileged. But they're worth it.View attachment 359994
 

Cathie G

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Aug 9, 2018
Messages
15,288
Location (City and/or State)
Lancaster
This is my favorite picture of Sapphire 🤗. It was taken on a 2007 Panasonic cell phone. I was laying on my belly in the grass and dirt just watching Sapphire and doing a photo shoot. He was fine with it. To this day after 16 years his first reflex is to draw in and hiss when I help him fly outside. In fact he's begging me to by standing as tall as he can and looking me straight in the eye. After that first reflex he'll poke his little head out and allow me to pet him even on the head. At that point I feel privileged. But they're worth it.View attachment 359994
I guess what I was trying to say is don't feel bad. Your tortoise is just being a little tortoise. Even if you are a small person you look like a giant. Try to allow your tortoise to greet you first. That's what Sapphire does now but he'll still pull his head in and hiss when I first try to pet his little head. Then he'll poke his head out and allow me to pet him. It takes patience to care for a tortoise 🐢 you are right they aren't like a cat or dog thank goodness 😊
 

MenagerieGrl

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Nov 11, 2020
Messages
1,188
Location (City and/or State)
El Sobrante, CA.
Well, thank you Natrah, for forwarding this. . .
timmy_tortoise, I don't think there is a "Like" or "Dislike" to a tort, unless like you have found it involves strawberries . . LOL.
I must be Lucky, because My Leopard Seymour ( a lil over 5 yrs old), has no problem coming to me.
He might retract his head with a "Hiss", but he will stay standing up. If my Seymour is hungry, and see's I have food, he will come a runnin (so to speak) So, what I'm trying to say is two things . . they are all different, and . . they can learn to not be as "afraid" of the GIANT in their environment.
 

New Posts

Top