When tortoise owners ask me if I think they should get a second tortoise, I tell them: only if they plan to get a second enclosure. Then I advise them to spend the money on spoiling their 1 tortoise first: build a big outdoor enclosure, enlarge the indoor enclosure, upgrade the lighting. Put some money into savings for emergency vet care (you'll need it at some point during your tortoise's 80 or so years of life!).
|...."But she's so.... lonely!"|
|When thinking about getting another tortoise, |
a person often thinks they will be best buddies...
|In reality, it will look like this... *BITE!* ... a lot of the time.|
|The infected, oozing, puss-filled tail of my friend's rescued female that was mated too much.|
(I'm posting a small picture just so it's not too gross)
|"Timmy needs a friend. My tortoises will be different and won't fight."|
|Wait. What?! My male is biting my female?! Oh no!|
Watch this video of Roz bobbing his head at Timmy (which is territorial behavior), and then circling her and biting her:
In the wild, this is 'normal' courting behavior. However, in the wild, the female can get away! In captivity, while both tortoises were kept in the same enclosure, Roz wanted to mate with Timmy 15+ times each day. He spent his spare time bullying her away from the food or the basking spot. Timmy started to become withdrawn, and wanted to hide and sleep all the time. I separated the two, and she started eating again, thank goodness.
Now, the 'easy' solution would have been to re-home Roz. This, however, was not an option for me. I had made a commitment to care for him, and did not want to break this commitment. The 'harder' solution was to a) separate my male, b) build a larger enclosure, and c) get a little harem of female tortoises for him. It took me nearly a year to find females, since in the pet trade, most tortoises are male. I finally got Mila and Jill, and then Lady.
|Roz and his harem, basking.|
During the Summer, the tortoises happily (and peacefully) lived outside in the large tortoise garden I built them. They will be divided over several indoor tortoise tables for the winter.
|They spread out over the entire tortoise garden, except to eat.|
IF you decide to keep multiple tortoises, please remember that the enclosure size must adjust accordingly for multiple tortoises! If the absolute minimum size for 1 tortoise is 2'x4', then each additional tortoise will need at least that much more space. As always, larger is better when it comes to tortoise enclosures!