Other Turtle Discussion :: very affection turtle w/new aggressive behavior toward me

Non-care related topics here.

Post Posted: Wed Aug 19, 2020 11:33 pm   very affection turtle w/new aggressive behavior toward me

I'm confused by my RES's recent behavior. I mean, I always have been. But recently, more so.

So my partner and I rescued this turtle 6 years ago, Scooby. It's a male, about 12 years old, and for 5.5 years he's been extremely puppy-like and friendly, even -- bizarrely for a turtle -- affectionate. I have two other red earred sliders who don't give a [----] about me and are completely non-social except inasmuch as I feed them and they enjoy that.

But Scooby is a weirdo. He has a tank, but is also able to get out and walk around my house. We work at home and are usually focused on work stuff. And he needs constant attention. When he sees us -- me in particular -- he constantly wants to be picked up and wants to be handled. He seems less interested in my partner. But me -- he watches me, follows me everywhere. He literally crawls out of his tank every morning and comes and sits by my bed and watches me before I wake up. If I pick him up and put him close to my face he'll touch his nose to mine and close his eyes, like "boop. I love you." He watches TV with me. Like seriously affectionate. I kept the turtle when my partner moved out which was about six months ago.

Then something has changed with the turtle in the last 3 months or so. He seems to get very over-stimulated and hyperactive, eyes and head darting around. He does the thing -- his signal -- that he wants to be picked up and play. So I will pick him up and let him climb on me, sit on my chests, whatever. He acts playful at first...though in that hyperactive way. He then starts examining me very closely, sniffing me, sometimes circling me.

And then he'll try to take a big bite. It's not like it hurts a lot. But it's annoying.

He's bitten me three times now in the past few months. And I notice he opens his mouth more in general when I hold him. It's not like an aggressive, fully open mouth like he's scared or something. It's just sort of ajar. And it's not like I'm cornering him and trying to grab him when he wants to be left alone. I'm busy. I'll succumb to his insistence and play with him a couple times a day. And then he will bite me.

What might have changed in the last three months that's causing this behavior? Could it be something missing in his diet that's making him aggressive? Could something be over-stimulating him (it's the summer, so it's warmer and there's more light)? Does he need to be neutered? He refuses to eat pellets or vegetables, so I feed him sushi or grilled chicken breast or lunch meat. I was thinking maybe the sodium could make him irritable and aggressive? Or do they maybe go through mating seasons where they get territorial and snappy? There's no female around so maybe he's pissed off at me? As a sidebar -- about three months ago I put a shiny black tank heater in his tank. And he'd circle it and bite it. Shortly thereafter, he tried to nip at me a couple times so I though maybe the heater was bringing out aggressive tendencies. So I got a different heater (which he's indifferent to). This seemed to halt the aggression for a little while, but now it's come back.

I normally wouldn't try to psychoanalyze a turtle, but I enjoyed things how they were and want to figure out what's making him behave like this.
acochra03
 
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Post Posted: Thu Aug 20, 2020 1:32 am   Re: very affection turtle w/new aggressive behavior toward m

Well, you touched on several well-know RES characteristics. It's normal for them to change from one to another, and males will likely be more aggressive as they get older. As for the diet, you need to take a stand and not give in to bad habits.
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steve
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Post Posted: Thu Aug 20, 2020 12:15 pm   Re: very affection turtle w/new aggressive behavior toward m

Would having him neutered help? Is it a testosterone thing?
acochra03
 
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Post Posted: Fri Aug 21, 2020 9:37 am   Re: very affection turtle w/new aggressive behavior toward m

It's pretty typical for them, I don't think I would change much. Just remember they're not domesticated but captive.
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