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Author Topic: What to do about inbreeding tortoises?  (Read 2838 times)

Offline Don_1

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What to do about inbreeding tortoises?
« on: 24/04/2013 15:47:49 »
My question here http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=47599.0 was prompted by a problem which has reared its ugly head.

Some years ago I took in two Med Spur Thigh tortoises, when their owner no longer wanted them.  (I do wish people would be more careful and consider the implications before they go buying pets. )

These two were little more than hatchlings when they came to us. Being of the same parents and same clutch of eggs, I assumed and hoped they would be the same gender. They have both always displayed a stubby tail and flat plastron, indicating they were both female. But with tortoises, it can be very difficult to tell the genders apart until they reach maturity. Their vet was also of the opinion that they were both female.

Since coming out of hibernation this year, one has been acting a little strange toward the other. A week ago, or so, 'she' started butting her sister. This can be sign of aggression, but is usually confined to males, but it can also be a sign of a male wanting to mate with an unwilling female.

Keeping a close eye on the situation, I have noticed 'she' is pestering her sister and has butted her again on occasions and, just the other day, tried to mount her. An inspection of the tail and plastron still showed all the signs of a female tortoise. But it is only now that they are both 9yrs old that the truth my become evident.

Either I have a brother and sister, or I have a lesbian tortoise!

Today, 'she' has again been trying to mount her sister and butting her. Getting myself down to ground level, I tried to see what I could see as 'she' mounted her sister. To my horror, there it was.... A willy!!!

'She', or rather HE is trying to bonk his sister. I tried to explain that this is not socially acceptable, but I don't think he understood, or just doesn't give a damn.

I now have a dilema, do I keep them both or should I have one re-homed, in which case, which one?!?!?!

If I keep them both, how do I keep them apart? A partition down the middle of the garden? What then happens in the autumn, when they have to come in on to a tortoise table with heat and UV lamps. Two tables? I just do not have the room for two tables.

I have always been opposed to breeding tortoises in the UK as we just don't have the climaric conditions for these animals, in my opinion it is wrong to bring more animals into this world in a habitat they are just not suited to. Even if my opinion were different, it would still be wrong to allow brother and sister to mate. The result could well be deformed offspring.

If need be, as it may well be, I shall need the assistance of the Tortoise Protection Group and/or the Tortoise Trust in dealing with this problem.


 

Offline RD

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Re: What to do about inbreeding tortoises?
« Reply #1 on: 25/04/2013 13:25:33 »
... and/or the Tortoise Trust in dealing with this problem.

Is it in Nu Yoik:) ...
Quote
TotoiseTrustRehoming@gmail  [sic]
http://www.tortoisetrust.org/activities/rehoming.htm
 

Offline Don_1

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The Naked Scientists Forum

Re: What to do about inbreeding tortoises?
« Reply #2 on: 26/04/2013 14:44:48 »

 

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