My greek tortoise is injured.

by Danielle Loro
(Upper Darby, Pennsylvania United States)

I have 3 tortoises. A russian, a greek, and a sulcata. The sulcata is much bigger then the others and bullys them around. I came home one day and my greek tortoise had a hole in his face on the left side. It took out his left nostril and basically half the side of his face. His eyes are ok, he is eating and acting normally. I seperated all the tortoises, but my question is will his face grow back or is this a permanant problem?


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Feb 01, 2010
by: The Greek Tortoise Guild

I wholeheartedly agree with Shelly. NEVER MIX DIFFERENT SPECIES OF CHELONIANS! The reasons that Shelly mentioned (namely, the spread of disease and possible aggression) are perfectly correct.
In fact, tortoises of the same species don't always get along. The natural habitat (meaning the wild habitat) of a Greek Tortoise includes a large area wherein they will not encounter a great many other tortoises (an obvious exception to this is during the mating season). Therefore, in captivity tortoises will generally prefer to be solitary. Sometimes if two tortoises have lived together for many years then they may be comfortable and safe in the same space(my own Greek Tortoises Hector and Phoebe are an example of this). A tortoise that is much larger, however, will commonly "bully" a smaller tortoise and harm him--as you have discovered. On the other hand, some tortoises have a more submissive personality regardless of their size. Delilah was quite a bit smaller than Samson II but he was very reclusive and shy while she was adventurous and domineering. She often walked right up to him, tucked her head in, and hit him with her shell three or four times. Delilah never did this hard enough to harm Samson II, but she was definitely the one wearing the pants.
The bottom line is this: while there are exceptions when it comes to what sizes and sexes to house together, different species should never be kept together. While it seems that your tortoises may not have transmitted diseases to one another; and while your Russian and Greek Tortoises will grow to be about the same size, your Sulcata will always be bigger, stronger and tougher than them. And that big African is very scary to your little Russian and Greek.
I hope that this help some. If you need anything else Chelonian-related go ahead and respond either to this post or to me directly at
Good luck!

Jan 30, 2010
Mixing tortoise breeds
by: Shelly

Your story is a perfect example of why it is not a good idea to mix breeds. Another reason is that different tortoises carry and are resistant to different diseases. Keeping them apart is a great move!

Tortoise faces don't grow back amy more than any other animals' faces do. I would certainly take your injured pet to see a vet. Infection in the the breathing tract, which could very easily happen in this case, can be deadly. The sooner a vet can begin treatment, the better your pet has of survival.

Keep it slow and steady.

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