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RE: Aggressive Male Sulcatta

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Posted by: tglazie at Mon Nov 19 21:18:47 2007  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by tglazie ]  
   

Female or no, male sulcatas are aggressive, toward one another, toward fencing, toward people, and lawn furniture. I have a seventy five pound male who is always pressing against the fence line. Separation is a good idea, whether it is temporary or permanent (this ofcourse will depend upon the level and frequency of aggressive behavior). Aggression also becomes more frequent when the animals are confined in too small an enclosure. Once my boys got over ten inches, I basically gave them the run of the yard, sectioning off certain areas where I grew natural graze and where I would place injured or stressed combatants. Include multiple shelters, as dominant animals will occasionally repel subordinate animals into a cold corner. A friend of mine lost a large male this way in the mid nineties when two females forced him out of the burrow. He caught a chill during the cold winter night and didn't recover. My friend has since placed an additional three shelters in the pen. With all but the most aggressive animals, shelters tend to act as a DMZ for tortoises (demilitarized zone), so having many shelters generally prevents frequent fights.

Keep in mind that even with these modifications, your male may still insist on relentless bullying. If such is the case, then permanent separation is necessary. I've never seen this in my sulcatas, but I have seen it in my male Turkish ibera Hector. This young gentleman was fighting since his third birthday. He is relentless, attacking shoes, baseballs, and even the shell of a deceased Trachemys scripta elegans I found on the Sabinal River. I made the mistake of releasing him and one of his offspring into a grazing area together. As soon as I placed them on opposite ends of the pen, he made a b-line, passing the dandelion and romain lettuce, straight for the hatchling, at which point he rammed the poor fellow and turned him over. He would have resumed to bite had I not interfered. Some tortoises simply cannot control their darker impulses, and these need to be separated. Despite his cruel intentions, however, he is one of the healthiest tortoises I've ever owned. He is never ill, always hibernates on time, and is always hungry, busy, and ready to mate, even on cool rainy days.

T.G.


   

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