Have you ever thought of housing more than one tortoise together? Of course, you have. But the solitary nature of this species is stopping you. Right? Is there any way of making two tortoises live together?
Female and baby tortoises can live together peacefully when their basic needs are fulfilled. But the male tortoises refuse to share their territory with anyone. However, housing 3/4 of female tortoises against 1 male during the breeding season may lead to successful housing, though temporarily.
Get your hands on the tricks to house multiple tortoises from the article below.
Can You Keep Two Tortoises Together? If No, Why Not?
Tortoises are peaceful creatures. No doubt about that. But at the same time, the species inherits the least social qualities.
When in the wild, tortoises lead a completely solitary life. The only social activity for these reptiles is breeding.
In fact, the gravid tortoises leave their nests after depositing eggs. It means the baby tortoises struggle to survive from day 01, which is their lesson for solitary 101.
Because of the practice of this distaste for social life, solitude is in the genes of tortoises. Even when you raise the species at home, you will notice this behavior in your pets.
So, what happens when you put two tortoises together in the same enclosure?
Well, the answer depends on several factors. For example, if the care sheet is perfect, the baby and female tortoises can adjust to a community.
When it comes to adult males they are quite aggressive and can be a bully. Therefore, you can not really successfully pull off the male-female, baby-male, or male-male arrangements. There is a high chance that the males will start a fight or try dominating others.
Can You Make Two Female Tortoises Live Together?
Of course, female tortoises enjoy solitary. But they do not mind sharing homes with other females. Unlike the males, the female tortoises are less aggressive and have less greed for power.
However, there is still a risk of hostility, especially when you fail to provide the females with basic necessities. For example, if you house multiple tortoises in a narrow space with insufficient food, there will be a fight over territory.
Also, improper temperature, insufficient UV rays, or lack of humidity frustrates the inhabitants. Thus, they may act aggressively toward their companions. Tortoise’s hostile behavior includes biting, mounting, nipping, shoving, chasing, etc.
The female tortoises may also act weird during the breeding and nesting season. Moreover, a trail of avoidant behavior is seen in females.
For example, the pets run away from interaction with other tortoises. They do not burrow and avoid leftover wastes in the enclosure. Pets with such behavior spend most of their hours inside their shells.
Avoidant behavior in tortoises may come from trauma or shyness and is observed when you house multiple tortoises together. Take the tortoise to the vet to diagnose this mental illness and treat the pet as soon as possible.
Do Baby Tortoises Live Together?
Baby tortoises do the least harm to each other. The hatchlings will live together without getting involved in any fights. In fact, all tortoise breeders keep the newborns together for the first few years.
Growing years, especially the first 1/2 years, are crucial for the tortoises. They need space to move, a proper basking area, enough food to build body and immunity, a suitable temperature range, and high humidity. Lackings of any of the factors disturb the growth and immunity cycle of the hatchlings.
I am trying to say that housing multiple hatchings in the same enclosure is the most economical decision for the keepers. It also allows them to control the pen more efficiently. But at the same time, managing a large community can be a struggle for newbies.
Hence, you do not have to worry about fights when keeping multiple baby tortoises together. But you must concentrate on a healthy care sheet. Otherwise, you will end up raising a weak batch of captive breeds.
Can Two Male Tortoises Get Along?
See, male tortoises can be docile and friendly towards you when they live alone. But if you try fitting two males in a single habitat, get ready to witness a bloody battle.
Male tortoises are truly aggressive. They will compete with each other for food and space, even when there is plenty available.
Not only that.
Besides this territorial obsession, male tortoises have a tendency to gain social power. It means the healthy and strong males try to dominate the weaker ones. They will pick up a fight just to prove their physical capabilities over one another.
Moreover, male tortoises can be absolute bullies. The powerful males bully the young by biting, headbutting, kicking, chasing, knocking on the back, nipping, etc.
While the strong males enjoy these fights for power, the weak ones get scared away. The constant bullying and fighting not only cause health damage, but these events also affect the creatures mentally. In many cases, you will notice the weak males looking for an escape from the enclosure.
Can You Put Male And Female Tortoises Together?
The experts advise against keeping sexually mature male and female tortoises together. Well, the sole reason behind this is the aggressive nature of the males.
Tortoises of different species become sexually active at different ages. For example, Gopher tortoises gain sexual maturity between 9 – 21 years. But the elongated tortoises reach the breeding age when they cross 10.
It is no secret that there will be a sexual attraction between the male and female tortoises when you house them together. Now imagine the male tortoise wanting to be involved in the copulation. He will pick up some weird behavior to impress his partner and invite her for mating.
For example, male tortoises make weird noises to attract potential mating partners. Also, they will act as a bully. Chasing the females, mounting them, etc., are common pre-mating behavior for males.
If the female tortoise is interested, the couple mates passionately for hours. But during the copulation, the male gets aggressive and ends up hurting the female. For example, the biting, gripping of the partner underneath, and continuous ramming cause physical injuries to the females.
Moreover, the male tortoises may want to mate more than once. Hence, the risk of injuries in female tortoises may get severe.
Now, if the female tortoise shows no interest in copulation, the male gets frustrated. He will pace back and forth inside the enclosure and keep chasing the female. Such behavior can be stressful for the tortoises.
To avoid these unwanted scenarios, you should not house the male and female tortoises together. Well, if you plan to breed the species, keep them in an enclosure only temporarily. Then separate them immediately after successful copulation.
Another way to handle this scenario is to maintain a healthy male and female mating ratio. For example, for every male tortoise, place 3/4 females. This will reduce the risk of mating injuries in female tortoises.
Can You House Two Different Tortoise Species Together?
I do not think mixing two different tortoise species will be a good idea. Well, I have 4 solid points to back up my statement. Such as,
1. Care Sheet Changes With Different Species
All tortoise owners know the significance of suitable temperature and humidity ranges for their pets.
In my previous write-up, I indicated how the temperature requirement changes with the tortoise species. For example, the Sulcata tortoise basking area temperature should be around 95 – 105F.
On the contrary, the basking temperature for red footed and yellow footed tortoises is 85 – 90F.
Similarly, the suitable humidity level is also different for the species. For example, Sulcata tortoise and leopard tortoise expect a moisture percentage of around 50%. But the humidity requirement for Greek tortoises is 65 – 70%.
So, when housing two or three species in the same enclosure, you can not meet the basic requirements. As a result, the pets may suffer physically and mentally.
2. Risk Of Disease Outbreak
More or less all tortoises carry diseases and parasites. Though the pets themselves are safe from the sickness, other tortoises coming in contact with them may fall sick. Runny nose syndrome is one of the most common contagious illnesses of tortoises.
Considering the risk of illness, it is better not to mix species.
3. A Significant Difference In Size And Behavior
The size and growth of tortoises depend on their species. For example, the Sulcata tortoise is the third largest tortoise species in the world, and it can grow more than 30 inches.
On the contrary, Egyptian tortoises have an average carapace length of 3 – 5 inches. Some other small pet tortoises are Greek tortoises, Pancake tortoises, Indian Star tortoises, etc.
If you put the big tortoise with a small species, the smaller one will feel insecure. Hence, the pet may spend time hiding from the beast mate, which is unhealthy.
Again, the behavioral pattern changes with the species. While the Horsefield tortoises are adventurous, the leopard tortoises are shy and introverted. Mixing these two species will only cause a mess inside the pen.
What If You House Two Different Species of Tortoise Anyway?
Even after the restrictions, you can still go for raising two different tortoise species in the same pen. To avoid any unwanted circumstances, you should be careful about the following factors,
- The tortoises are from the same native region
- There is no huge difference in size and weight
- The pets have similar behavioral patterns and temperament
Many tortoise owners claim that they successfully raised a Greek tortoise and Hermann’s tortoise together. Well, it is possible as both pets have similar sizes and nature. However, Hermann’s tortoises lead a more active life, which may pose a risk to the daily cycle of the Greek tortoise.
I advise consulting with the vet before putting two different species together.
Another important thing.
Do not house male and female tortoises of two different species. If you do, there is a chance of cross-breeding.
Though cross-breeding of the same subspecies is safe, the experiment can get risky for different species. The hatchlings can be weaker and born with physical defects.
Even if you successfully pull off the breeding and hatching part, drafting the right care sheet for newborns will be challenging. In such a case, I recommend going to the professionals for help.
Can Two Tortoises Make Friends?
Unlike us, tortoises do not need a social life. Hence, these reptiles will live well off without making a single friend in their entire life. They prefer solitude to communal life.
But, of course, tortoises interact with each other on different occasions. Though scientists haven’t cracked the nonverbal codes of this species, we can make an educated guess.
Tortoises communicate with each other during burrowing, mating, and nesting season. Besides, alerting the other tortoises about a predator can also be a thing in these creatures.
But will you tag these barely made social activities friendships? I do not think so!
Two tortoises living inside the same enclosure may get along. But they do not cultivate or grow the bond we call friendship. In fact, tortoises have no such word or emotion in their dictionary.
How To Make Tortoises Get Along
I totally understand if you want to house multiple tortoises together due to limited space in the home. Of course, the tortoises will take time to adjust to the new tankmates, and they may end up rebelling against each other. But adopting a few tricks may make this process easier for you.
Here are the tips I follow to make my tortoises get along,
1. Raise Them Separately
You can not put two newly bought tortoises in the same enclosure from the very first day. The pets are already scared and stressed due to the change in their surroundings. Sharing the room with a stranger will make them more anxious.
Therefore, raise the pets in separate enclosures for 6 – 7 months. In the meantime, you can visually introduce the tortoises.
2. Take Notes
Keep track of their behavior and temperament when raising the tortoises in separate habitats. Notice if the pets have any change in reaction when they see each other. Such behavioral notes will help you understand the personality of the tortoises. You can also decide whether the tortoises are perfect as tankmates or not.
Remember, the notes only provide a theoretical perspective. The tortoises may act shy and docile when they live alone. But the creatures will turn violent if you give them a partner.
3. Select The Perfect Pair
No one can tell which tortoise pair will be compatible and which will fail. So the key here is to experiment until you find the couple.
Generally, any pair of female-female, baby-baby, and female-baby live peacefully in the habitat. The problem arises when you pair the females and babies with the male tortoises.
The experts discourage pairing male-male and male-baby. There is a high risk of bloody fighting in this scenario.
A male-female pair may work during the mating season. However, you need to separate the couple as soon as you notice hostility between them.
4. The More The Merrier
Well, this rule is only for the breeding season. As you know, male tortoises behave aggressively during the mating season. Their hostile nature when copulation and demand for repeated mating often physically injure the female tortoises.
Hence, you need to put multiple female tortoises against one male. This way, the male tortoise has more options for finding a suitable mating partner. Also, female tortoises can avoid the terror of breeding-induced injuries.
5. Keep An Eye On The Pets
You need to observe the pairs closely for hours. The pets may start fighting when you are away from the tank. As a result, the weak and submissive tortoise will get hurt.
Do not push the tortoises to adjust to each other. Instead, separate them right away if one of them gets aggressive.
6. Consider The Size
Bulky tortoises of any gender may act dominant towards the weak and small ones. So, I always try to match the sizes when selecting the pairs.
7. Do You Have Space?
Putting more tortoises in a congested space is never recommended. It has several drawbacks. First, the tortoises can not move freely, which makes them stressed. Mental instability will lead to appetite loss, weight loss, and diseases.
Secondly, the lack of space prevents the growth of both tortoises. Not to mention the insufficient space hampers the physical movement of the pets, which causes obesity.
Hence, you should provide the tortoises with more than enough space for walking, roaming, burrowing, and hiding.
8. No Compromise With Food
Well, a tortoise can survive for up to 6 months without food. But it does not mean that you will starve the tortoises intentionally.
You must ensure sufficient food when you raise multiple tortoises in the same enclosure. If you provide meals less than required, there will be a fight for survival. The dominant tortoises will eat up the food making the weak ones starve.
9. A Perfect Surrounding
The enclosure environment plays a significant role in deciding the compatibility of the pair. Too high or too low temperature and humidity make the tortoise sick, uncomfortable and stressed.
In such scenarios, the pets will be in no mood to make new friends. Instead, they will always be in a defensive mode.
Follow this link to learn how to take care of tortoises from level zero.
10. Change The Pair
If the tortoises are still not comfortable with all the necessities, they are better to be separated. You can experiment by trying out new pairs. But in any case, do not force the pets to live together.
Can Tortoises Spend Time Together Temporarily?
Though tortoises hate to share the tank with anyone, a little interaction never hurts. You can allow your two tortoises to play together and graze in the yard weekly. The creatures may get along and enjoy the time peacefully.
However, the whole interaction play may backfire, and the pets may get involved in a fight. Hence, stay alert and do not leave the pets unattended.
Can You Keep Tortoises With Other Pets?
You may have seen tortoises interacting with dogs or other pets. Does it mean tortoises are comfortable with other animals?
Well, chances are that your tortoise will get along with other pets as long as they are calm. Tortoises are peaceful animals, and any loud noise, barking, or continuous meowing can stress them out. There are claims that the tortoises try to escape the enclosure due to the sight of cats, dogs, or chickens.
Hence, whether a tortoise will get along with another animal or not is totally relative. But of course, you can try introducing the tortoise to other pets to see the reactions. Do not leave a tortoise alone with dogs, cats, or other animals in any situation.
Also, ensure a tightly secured tank if you have another animal in your house other than a tortoise. Make sure that the dogs and cats can not trespass on the tortoise enclosure and scare it away.
Before You Go
Do you know turtles are not social creatures, either? These reptiles also hate community habitats. I have discussed the solitary nature of the turtles in detail in the article below.
Can You House Two Turtles In The Single Tank?
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