Why Does My Tortoise Chase Me?

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Have you ever been chased by your pet tortoise? I know it sounds absurd, but hear me out. Apparently, the owners and strangers may get charged by tortoises. Let me tell you why.

Tortoises often chase their owners out of affection and excitement. Besides, a hungry pet will pursue the keepers for food. Tortoises may also chase owners because of territorial jealousy, pregnancy, hunger, and boredom. In mating season, the whole run show is an act to impress females.

Which of the reasons is making your tortoise chase you? How to stop them? Find out the answers below.

Key Takeaways

  • Tortoises are smart enough to recognize the owners and approach them out of excitement.
  • Chasing the owners is often linked to territorial issues and hunger.
  • Hormonal changes during the mating season and pregnancy period can also make the tortoises chase their keepers.

6 Reasons Why You Tortoises Chase You

Tortoise can chase you out of love and affection. But then again, there is a chance that the pet is disturbed or going through a physical, mental, or hormonal change. As a result, the sight of humans or any being is causing the reptile anxiety.

See, it is crucial to read the tortoise’s behavior. Otherwise, you can not provide the creature with better care. For your convenience, I have listed all the possible reasons a tortoise may chase you.

1. It’s Just Love!

Many people do not understand that tortoises have feelings too. Of course, the creatures do not have strong emotions like us. Still, you can not ignore the pets’ love or affection for their owners.

Apparently, tortoises recognize their owners well. It takes time, but the pets will definitely bond with the keepers. After that, tortoises pursue the owners whenever they get their sight.

Another reason for such affection is food. Tortoises consider the keeper as a meal provider. So, as the owner approaches the habitat, the creatures get excited thinking of food. No wonder why they act so playful all of a sudden.

As a new or experienced keeper, you should always take advantage of this scenario. Feed the tortoise meal with your own hand (Wear plastic gloves!) to create a sweet bond.

2. You Are On Their Property!

Tortoises can be extremely territorial. There is no doubt about it.

We have seen tortoises fight and bully each other over food, space, basking dock, and whatnot. But it is really surprising that the creatures may get violent with the owners for territory too.

Such aggressiveness is mostly seen in male tortoises. The pets lose their temper if you force them to get along with a tank mate. In fact, tortoises may become so irritated that they will chase and bite you when you enter their pen.

Don’t worry. It is not revenge.

Tortoises will act hostile to both you and the tank companions. It is because the pets consider you all as potential threats to the territory.

3. The Pets Are Starving!

I know tortoises can go without food for weeks and even months sometimes. But it does not mean that you will starve the pets. A hungry tortoise will act crazy and aggressive with owners and tankmates.

See, tortoises recognize you well because you bring them food every day. So, the reptiles expect meals whenever they spot you. Hence, it is only natural for a hungry tortoise to chase the owner for food. This clearly indicates that the pet is starving and requires an instant meal.

You must not starve the tortoises unless it is essential. For example, reptiles must enter hibernation with an empty stomach. Therefore, you have to stop feeding the pets 1 month before the hibernation period.

Continue with a regular food schedule at other times. The hatchlings require a daily meal, whereas the adult tortoises are fine with a 5-days-a-week feeding routine.

You can divide the meals into small portions and feed the tortoises multiple times a day. Finally, go with the safe food list to prepare the diet.

4. Everything Is Boring!

Who says tortoises need no entertainment? They are smart creatures and can easily get bored. No wonder why professionals suggest keeping pets busy. Otherwise, they will start doing weird stuff.

For example, tortoises can eat substates out of boredom. Not only that. The creatures have a name for rock-eating when they are bored. Likewise, chasing the owner or other tank members is also a fun thing for tortoises.

You can play this chase game with tortoises occasionally. But in any case, do not forget to decorate their enclosure with fun toys. Some examples are, climbing rocks or platforms, balls, medium-sized pebbles, etc.

5. Is Your Tortoise Pregnant?

As I always say, pregnancy is a sensitive phase for tortoises. The mother tortoises can act out of character during this period because of hormonal and physical changes.

They become more self-conscious and defensive about their territory. It is why experts suggest separating the gravid tortoises from others.

In the wild, pregnant tortoises have to protect their nests from predators. The pet tortoises carry the same motherly instinct.

So, you will find the creatures hiding or looking for a safe nesting site. They will chase anyone invading their privacy and even attempt to attack the trespasser.

Well, you should leave the gravid tortoises alone. Keep them in a calm enclosure and avoid touching or disturbing them at all.

Why Do Sulcata Tortoises Live So Long

6. Mating Season Is Here!

Male tortoises enter the breeding season all pumped up. They try out different stunts to impress their female partners. As per the professionals, chasing the owners is also a show-off act from the male tortoises.

The males often act as a bully to get their partners too. Chasing or biting the females and mounting them from behind are ways to get attention.

You can separate the male and female tortoises to avoid any unwanted scenarios. Tortoises that do not mate during the season may pace in the enclosure to release energy.

Why Is My Tortoise Chasing And Biting?

Chasing along with biting indicates that the tortoise is concerned about its territory. Such behavior is mostly seen in male and pregnant tortoises. Sometimes the chasing and biting come with head banging too.

Before You Go…

Tortoises can also express their anger, aggression, lust, or love via noise. Yes, you are reading it right. You will find an insight in the link below.

8 Weird Noises Tortoises Make & Their Explanations

About Author

Muntaseer Rahman started keeping pet turtles back in 2013. He also owns the largest Turtle & Tortoise Facebook community in Bangladesh. These days he is mostly active on Facebook.


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