Florida Iguana & Tortoise Breeders

Articles

How to handle shy tortoises


Blog Posting

Q: Anyone who has or has had a juvenile Aldabra who can tell me how long it takes for them to not be scared of everything?
Mine is constantly on the run and doesn't slow down until he finds food or his hiding place. Do they eventually grow out of this?


A:  Hi Julian each animal is an individual, yes they do eventually lose their shyness as they get older.

Females are typically shyer then males.

There

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How To Draw Blood from a Large Female Tortoise


Medical

How To Draw Blood from a Large Female Tortoise

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How To Draw Blood from a Large Male Tortoise


Medical

How To Draw Blood from a Large Male Tortoise

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How to Determine Sex in Aldabra's


Common Questions

Both these animals are 29 inches longways straight across the bottom.  The male is on the left the female on the right.


Though it is harder to see in this pic, from this angle the male starting to become concave on the bottom.
Also note the males tale is longer 9 1/2 inches compared to the females which is only 6 1/2 inches long.

Surprising both tails are 2 1/2 inches wide, which must mean proportionally the females tail is shorter and fatter.

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How To Train An Iguana


Common Questions

A lot of people ask me the best way to tame their Iguana, While I don’t consider myself the best
or most experienced iguana trainer here are some tips. I have used and my customers have used
with great success. You have to get into the mind of these little guys so you can gain their trust. 
I would love to hear from those out there who have their own tips and experiences.

The first secret is the more you chase him around in the initial grab the more c

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Tortoise Health


Common Questions

Many people ask me questions to try to determine if their tortoise is sick or not.  Check their activity level, make sure they are moving around as normal. Watch them walk, a weak animal will walk a little then sit down then walk a little then sit down they won’t motor around staying up on all fours.  

Do a physical exanimation check for shell hardness, especially on the bottom. Look at their eyes see if they are runny, look for hydration, dehydrated animals  ey

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Watch out Mr. Hare: This tortoise is shell on wheels


Common Questions

Watch out Mr. Hare: This tortoise is shell on wheels.

A 12-year-old African tortoise who recently had his front left leg amputated due to injury is now moving just fine, thanks to a swiveling wheel attached to his shell by doctors at Washington State University's veterinary hospital.

The 23-pound tortoise, named “Gamera” after the giant flying turtle of the old Japanese monster movies, is gaining weight and generally thriving with his new appendage.

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What is the difference between a perfect animal and a Double or Divided scute?


Common Questions

ldabras with perfect scute patterns and that size are in higher demand and go for more money.

As far as I am concerned, the whole idea of “Perfect” is so very overrated.
The only time anyone cares about this condition is as a hatchling, I can show you my adults that have split or divided back Scute and I can tell you no one ever notices or cares.  What’s perfect,  this only refers to the perfectly symmetrical scute pattern,  it is totally cosm

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Commingling or mixing Aldabra tortoises with African Sulcata (Spur) Tortoise


Common Questions

Question:

Thank you very much, I sent you pictures of my sulcuta tortoise habitat with the waterfall and housing area. Will these tortoises coexist with the African tortoise? And what type of nutritional needs do they have that are different from the African tortoise? Another words will the same habitat area work with the alda tortoise?

Answer:

Hi Tom you have an absolutely fantastic set up for Sulcate tortoises.
The Aldab

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Cyclura Bloating condition


Medical

Cyclura Bloating condition

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Jumping the gate go left or go right?


General

Q: Thanks for the information. I was curious. If they had a choice of left versus right, then, but not straight due to obstruction, they could have gone either way. However, the fact that they all went left after the first one went left indicates that they either 1) had a monkey-see-monkey-do social aspect to the serial direction selection or 2) had something otherwise attractive on the left path relative to the right path. My feeling is that it is number one more than number tw

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Comment on Do I really need a buddy?


Medical

Q: Because some people will run out and buy another tortoise by reading your opinion on tortoises having buddies. Will you say that you are really only talking about the Galops and Aldabras? Also, would you say, the right size (very large)enclosures, sight barriers, etc plays a big part in it? I am just concerned about all the members that have been waiting for at least one person to say their tort needs a buddy, to run out an get that buddy, without paying attention to the rest

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Comment on Sam this is fantastic your work and observations being put into a reality to the tortoise community


Common Questions

Q: Sam this is fantastic your work and observations being put into a reality to the tortoise community.

A: I always tell the story 30 years ago collecting tortoises is what I was doing, now it is who I am, I no longer can separate the two. Really my motivation is to give back to the animals they have taken me so many places in my life, they have been a motivation from the time I was a child, I studied and I learned, I pushed myself to achieve and gather

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Comment on Well I have a funny store like that


Common Questions

Q: There was actually a kind of psychological experiment of this done on red foots…Something about the tortoises finding their way through a wire maze to food. Only a few tortoises were successful, but they found that if the unsuccessful tortoises watched the successful tortoise do it, the success rate was near 100%. Very interesting….

A: Well I have a funny store like that. I had eight young adult Aldabras in a pen now as things are, there

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Comment on What do you think of this cage?


Common Questions

Q: what do you think of this cage? 

A: Well you got me there. I don't like talking about things I don't have experience with like indoor husbandry of tortoises.

I know many people are successful and I would rather see you get an opinion from someone experienced keeping animals in those types of environments

For my taste I will say it's very nicely done, and I like the topography of the cage.

While this cage looks interesting I don'

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Pyramiding Shells


Common Questions

Pyramiding shells isn’t the worst thing you will find when looking at Giant tortoises.  I see so many topic’s on pyramiding and I certainly understand the concern.

But what often goes unnoticed are all the leg problems you can have in Giant tortoises.  Giant tortoise can have splayed legs (rear legs that flair out instead of being directly under the animal.)

When we see Galapagos and Aldabra tortoise that are old and were not raised in this country yo

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Q & A: Aldab's and Galap's have you ever seen this happen to Sulcata's?


Common Questions

Q: “Thanks, the pictures were very helpful  You said that you see this with Aldab's and Galap's have you ever seen this happen to Sulcata's?”

A: I have not seen this exact condition in smaller tortoises.
Not that I don’t believe it is possible, but I think what really promotes this condition in these large animals is the speed at which they grow, and the weight they obtain.

You do see similar problems in spurs and leo

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Q & A: Ideal Enclosure Set Up


Common Questions

Q: Great thread I love learning and this definitely opened my eyes when buying a tortoise that is a couple years old. Do you have a thread started with the ideal enclosure set up that would be "interesting" enough to get them moving?

A: Cage size can be tricky and all of my experience is dealing with outdoor pens. That is because my farm is in South Florida.

Let me try to answer this by way of example. If you had a 7” Aldabra I would not

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Well I have a funny story like that


Common Questions

Q: There was actually a kind of psychological experiment of this done on red foots...Something about the tortoises finding their way through a wire maze to food. Only a few tortoises were successful, but they found that if the unsuccessful tortoises watched the successful tortoise do it, the success rate was near 100%. Very interesting....

A: Well I have a funny store like that. I had eight young adult Aldabras in a pen now as things are, there are times

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Nasal discharge that won't resolve


Common Questions

Q: My Tortoise has a nasal discharge he is on antibiotics but it does not resolve. I am using Baytril at 22.7 mg/ml

A: What were the dosages you or the vet administered to the animal?
You have given the concentration of the drug in solution but not the dose rate.

Do not let the temperatures drop at night, keep the animal around 86 degrees they need their metabolism up or they can't even metabolize the drugs you are giving them.<

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CPK Blood levels In tortoise's and iguanas Medical Blog


Common Questions

The enzyme in the blood that indicated muscle damage is called cpk.
There are a few reason you will get false high readings of cpk which are very typical in your situation and I have experience many times.

False high reading of cpk can happen because miss handing of the blood sample, ( the sample gets bumped around too much before it gets to the lab)
also taking several samples or looking for a good spot to get blood will cause the cpk to rise, this is common when a ve

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Taming Hatchlings Cayman Brac Iguana, Cyclura Rock Iguana


Common Questions

I have hatchlings that are about two months old. At this age they can be handled (By an adult ) pretty easily. If they bite no big deal, they wouldn't break the skin. Again at this stage, if you work with them for a month or two you can really developed a very tame animal. Some of my customers put them on leashes and bring them everywhere.

Tame really deepens on how much time you put into them and the best time to buy one is as young as possible.  At a year old, if they are

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Tortoise Ear Infection


Common Questions

Think we should create a medical blog, I answer so many medical questions, here is one to get started, not sure how we should format the blog.

Sure I have dealt with ear abbesses and infections many times.

Is the side of the head bulging out?

Sometimes you have to slit the tympanic membrane so you can remove debris from the cannel. Sometimes you have to completely remove the midbrain (Don’t worry it grows back)

Typical treatment is with Baytril 5m

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D3 and Calcium in Tortoises and Iguanas


Common Questions

To answer your question, D3 is produced by the body when the animal is exposed to nature sun light, this vitamin is used in the body to help metabolize the calcium in the diet.

So if your animal is exposed to natural sunlight then you don’t use D3 doing so can damage the kidneys. However if you are indoors then use D3 otherwise the animal cannot absorb the calcium in his diet.

Sam Pascucci

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Giving a large tortoise a shot


Common Questions

Several people have asked me, How do you give a large tortoise an injection?" If you have a large tortoise that is still fairly strong it can be a daunting task to pull out his leg in order to get to the inside leg to find the deep muscle.

I have made two examples: the first three pictures show injecting sites for a Leopard Tortoise, which is 4kg. (Just about 9 pounds)
The last two pictures are of a 60 pound spur tortoise. The concept discussed here holds true for all la

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