head nodding

by ashleigh
(temecula, california,usa)

my friend brought their tortoise over to play with my tortoise. my tortiose started doing this wierd head-nodding motion whenever he (or she, im not sure)was around the other tortoise. what was he/she doing? p.s. my tortoise is a desert tortoise.

Comments for head nodding

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Apr 27, 2021
by: leland

ok i just got this tortise and it a breathing thing defiantly but everytime it breaths it nods

Apr 22, 2020
Female Tortiose Head Nodding

Do Female Tortiose's nod their head? I read a couple of the Q&A above and comments were made that the Male Tortiose nods his head to domonaite the female tortoises or to chalange a Male Tortiose/ I was told my tortoise is a female but she is Always nodding her head. Is this normal?

Reply from Shelly

This can just be breathing activity.

Keep it slow and steady.

Apr 02, 2017
My four-year-old desert tortoise nods too
by: Irescuedmygirl

I have a four-year-old female desert tortoise that I just rescued and she nods at me too usually after I put her outside or after I give her food which I tend to take as a thank you. Half the info I get is backwards ,any help for this new tortoise mom

Jul 31, 2014
Head bobbing
by: Anonymous

Its a dominate thing the bobbing is a male alpha #1 uno , my turtle bobs his head and rams my legs and anyone else that's near its a territorial thing he thinks that's heis space and im invading it. d freezer OUT

Jun 23, 2014
Separating tortoises
by: Shelly

It is always a good idea to keep different breeds away from each other. Each breed is open to different diseases and each is immune to different diseases. They can easily infect each other with very bad results.

It is also a good idea to keep smaller tortoises away from much larger ones for the reason you wrote about.

Keep it slow and steady.

Jun 22, 2014
Tortoise bobbing when spotted baby salcata
by: Anonymous

My 15 plus yr old desert tortoise spotted our baby 1 1/2 year old African Salcata in the yard and instantly started bobbing his head. When I brought the baby near him he showed the baby. Who's boss by trying to bit him he only bit the shell but that's still scary to me. Now I must keep them aprt

Mar 24, 2012
Box Turtle - Head Nodding to Humans
by: Lorraine

I am really attached to my box turtle
(she is 13 years old).

Sometimes she will look at me and then she will start to nod her head up and down. I will then nod my head back at her (this will go on back and forth for about 1 to 2 minutes). Sometimes if I softly sing to her (she will nod her head up and down at me). I'm really curious to know what it means when turtle's nod's there head to humans?

Apr 08, 2010
Head Bobbing
by: DonWilliams

Head bobbing in desert torts can be challenge to a newcomer (generally male to male) or trying to court a female and sometimes even just acknowledgement (as in when my old female does it just before taking a hibiscus flower from me as a treat). If males (and sometimes females) it can escalate into a fight.
One caveat, you should exercise caution in bringing together two tortoises as one can be a carrier of disease/pathogens the other does not have immunity to and even though it appears to not be ill, can cause the other to become so.
Information site on desert tortoises:
contact info:
Hope that helps

Apr 08, 2010
Head nodding
by: Anonymous

That's how tortoises dominate/intimidate each other. Your tortoise is trying to put the other tortoise in his/her place.

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