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why my female turtle shakes his head in front of male turtle looking at him

Hi Harry,

It would help if I had more information, but generally that is breeding behavior, typically performed by the male.  Sometimes it's territorial.  It's possible you have your turtles improperly sexed, or your female is actually a maturing male (all turtles look female until maturity).  In any case, it's important to have a large tank to accommodate both turtles without running into harassment or aggression problems.  Generally, two turtles will need *at least* a 100 gallon tank, and if you have larger turtles such as sliders or cooters, you'll need 150 gallons or more.  Keep an eye on the turtles to make sure they don't injure each other.  Hope this helped!


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Questions regarding husbandry of Russian tortoises and other Mediterranean species, sulcata, and redfoot tortoises; general tortoise and turtle care; box turtle care. If I can't answer a specific question, I can provide sources for further research. Disclaimer: My advice is not a substitute for vet care. If I think your tortoise/turtle has a specific medical condition or injury that warrants a vet visit, I'll tell you so, and if possible I'll help you locate a vet. It is neither legal nor ethical for me to provide veterinary advice.


I have kept and bred Russian tortoises for over ten years and have other Mediterranean species plus redfoots and box turtles. I've worked with other tortoise and turtle species while doing volunteer rescue work; mostly sulcata but some leopards, California desert tortoises, yellowfoots, all box turtle species, red-eared sliders, etc. I don't personally keep aquatic species, but have access to a wealth of information and research to help you with any questions you might have.

My knowledge is based on hands-on experience keeping, breeding, and working with tortoises and turtles.

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