Aldabra Tortoises & Setting Them Up

Aldabra Tortoises & Setting Them Up




Hello Sam,

I purchased an Aldabra from you last November. He/she has been doing really well! Eats great and gaining weight that I’ve been tracking. Today I went to grab him to put him outside for the day. I bring him in due to the raccoons and possums we have and him being still small. As I went to grab him, I noticed small noises I hadn’t ever heard. I am unsure if he had just drank water that could have caused this but wanted to get your opinion if you think this might be a respiratory issue. The noises completely stopped after recording the video attached. 


I appreciate any advice you have. 

Thank you again.





Hi Kayla,

Aldabras will make little noises from time to time, a lot of it has to do with drinking water

since they drink water through their nose you will see bubbles and here little noses this is most evident after drinking water, even 20 minutes.


If your tortoise is drinking and gaining weight,  walking around,  active he most likely does not have a respiratory.

you should be checking his weight at least once a month in grams.

when Aldabras are sick they lose weight, this is your best insurance to good health.

One thing I did notice is the Substrate you have him in, not sure if that is straw or hay 
not sure why you are using that substrate but that is a bad substrate to put him in.
First and I could be wrong but that hay seems to be very stalky.

I have seen them get stuck in the eye on the type of hay.


If that hay is dry they are very sensitive to dry dusty hay.

In the video one time you can see him make a little chirp sound. That is him sneezing.

also see the way he has that fast paced breathing this is typical of an erratent.

Here is a video I made on diagnosing Respiratory infections.

watch this video and get back to me with your observations.


Not sure why he is in that small bin or if that's part of your habitat but if you send me a video of his habitat

I think we can make some changes that would be very beneficial


Respiratory symptoms and infections in Aldabra Tortoises find out if your Aldabra is Sick or not!


Unpacking your first Aldabra tortoise. What you need to know. Do's and Don't's save your tortoise




Thank you so much for the quick response and feedback. I know aldabras don’t normally burrow, but for some reason this one does so I tried to allow him to do that with the straw. Since receiving your email I have taken it out and he will only be on organic mulch now. what I have him in currently is an inside bin because we did get hit with a tropical storm in my area so I wanted him to be out of all that rain. 


I went through the symptoms and the only thing that does worry me right now is the sneezing and he does have water/bubbles around his mouth at times. other than that he is active, his weight is good, and still eating and pooping. he does like to burrow, do you have any suggestions on what I could offer him for that? 


I did go ahead and schedule a vet apt for next week incase things decline. 


Again thank you for any help you can offer, I appreciate it! 





Hi again Kayla,

yea good idea to bring him inside.

Don't feed him on the mulch, he will ingest it and it can cause problems.

If he is inside an air conditioned room you will need to provide him a heat source.
This is how you can make a temporary inside pen,

we cut the tops out and use wire so you have a safe place to put a heat lamp. please the lamp on one side not over 75 watts.

best to measure his shell temperature, 86* to 89* is ideal 

use  a digital laser temperature gun.


Here is the best way to set up the inside been 


Also I would not use a plastic film over the cage, that can magnify the area underneath and if that plastic were to fall into that pen the tortoise could get wrapped up in it , i have seen word things like that happen.


Use a shade cloth and secure it with screws so it can't fall 

also best in an enclosure like that is to add a plant in the middle so there is always shade in that pen no matter where the sun is.

they need 50% shade in their pen.


Let me know if you have any questions.


Please find attached a typical temporary bin when you have to bring them inside.

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