Bobtails - one was aggressive to the other, first time in 6 yrs

Discussion in 'Australian Lizards and Monitors' started by Emma0, Jan 15, 2019.

  1. Emma0

    Emma0 New Member

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    Hi!
    I have 2 bobtails, and I have had some issues lately with one having bad sheds. I dont think this is a new issue for him though since when i bought him he was missing one toe from each of his back feet (im guessing he lost them form a bad shed). I bought these two about 6 years ago. I dont know if they are female or male, but i call them a he and a she just for ease of understanding who i am talking about.

    So the boy (unknown sex) is the one who has had a few bad sheds, I have over the last few months checked temperatures and other things and cant seem to find anything wrong. About 1 year ago I found that they had mites, so i treated them and the cage and switched to newspaper to make sure i could keep cleaning the tank thoroughly. They have been mite free ever since.
    I have continued with newspaper just because it is convenient, but they have multiple hides and shredded (strips) of paper to hide under.
    He just went through a shed, and he managed to get it all off from his under side (he usually struggles with the very last small bit of his under side), but there was a patch left on the top half. Today I went in to clean the tank, and put them both in a large plastic container (as I always do, weekly) so that i can clean the tank.
    I was cleaning the tank and noticed the female (unknown sex) biting at him, she seemed aggressive. This has never happened since i bought them, ever! She is a little cranky and the only time she has shown this type of behaviour was when i put silk worms in their tank and she clearly wanted him to clear out so she can eat them all to herself. So i know she can be cranky and moody. (He is never cranky, super super chilled type of lizard).
    It kind of looked like she may have been ripping at the shed that has not come off, or just biting at him toward the back leg near the belly (as she possibly didn't recognise him??). He was trying to move away. I immediately grabbed him, and whilst i did she was showing her blue tongue to me (she was clearly annoyed). I feel that i should separate them, is it common for bobtails to suddenly stop getting along? I am wondering if she has been attacking him and stressing him out (causing him to stress and have bad sheds)?? She is a very fat, shiny healthy lizard. The boy has always weighed less than her, but is also shiny and bright eyed, he just has trouble with his sheds.
    Im just wondering if anyone else has experience with bobtails that have been housed together for many many years suddenly not getting along? Do you then seperate them? Is that the right thing to do?

    Thanks for any advice !

    Emma

    Oh, they live in a 120 cm wooden reptile enclosure, with glass sliding front doors (which i have been told is plenty of room for 2 bobtails)
    I have just set up a second enclosure, as i happen to own a spare one, and separated them, i'm just not sure of this is the right thing to do? I dont want him to get hurt/stressed, but he actually doesnt have any wounds or anything on him either, so maybe she hasnt been too bad with him
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2019
  2. Bl69aze

    Bl69aze Very Well-Known Member

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    you sure they arent both males of sexual maturity trying to attack eachother?

    or that the "female" is a male trying to mate with the "male" female
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2019
  3. Emma0

    Emma0 New Member

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    Hmm no I’m not sure of either of their sex. They have now been in the same enclosure for something like 8 years and I haven’t seen any behaviour that would help me know what they are.
    The one I call him is not attacking back, he has always been super chilled and submissive. She has always been more cranky/moody, but usually toward me when I startle her, she has never attacked him before
    --- Automatic Post Merged, Jan 15, 2019, Original Post Date: Jan 15, 2019 ---
    So I put them back together for about half an hour. And she was still attacking him. He was trying to get away, climbing the side of the enclosure. She was very aggressive. So I separated them again.
    I have noticed that she has put on even more weight lately. She is such a pig though, could just be food.

    Is this something pregnant females do? Get aggressive and want their own space?
    Again, I really don’t know either of their sexes.
     
  4. Chris1

    Chris1 cupcake Subscriber

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    I've had 4 for about 9 years, aside from the girl hiding for a few weeks around September/October (I assume this is a not wanting to mate thing as it happens just after brumation finishes) they're all pretty chilled, there's sometimes a bit of a chase happening, but that's generally the girl chasing her brother, but that seems more like a game than aggression, she grabs his tail sometimes but doesn't usually leave marks (I'm not entirely sure either but I think I have 3 boys and 1 girl) mine have a 3x4 metre dining room though, but I'm not sure things would work so well in a small confined space. Have you seen any scale damage on yours?
    --- Automatic Post Merged, Jan 15, 2019, Original Post Date: Jan 15, 2019 ---
    I missed the second half of your last post, if he's trying to get away and looking stressed keep them separated. No idea about the pregnancy thing, I usually stick my girl in the gecko room till the end of October and have been lucky enough to have no babies so far.
     
  5. Emma0

    Emma0 New Member

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    Hmm interesting. No, he is not damaged.
    I bought them as a “pair” from a breeder but they had not yet bred, and never have, so that’s why I can’t be sure of their sex.

    Hmm interesting, I guess I wouldn’t quite know what would be a playful game versus aggressive.

    When I had them seperated, he was happy under his hide. I put her back in, and he was climbing the walls trying to get away. I seperated them again, and now he is back to being happy under his hide.
    So strange this is happening now after so many years together 24/7!!
     
  6. Chris1

    Chris1 cupcake Subscriber

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    Very curious to see if she turns out to be pregnant, I couldn't find anything in my quick search of google relating to pregnancy and aggression, but it does seem rather odd after so long together,...
     
  7. GBWhite

    GBWhite Well-Known Member

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    Shinglebacks are considered to be rather social lizards and it is quite acceptable to house several animals together provided they have adequate room to get away from each other when they desire and husbandry requirements are met. Males and females are known to be monogamous and the same pair will actively search each other out during the mating season year after year. They don't remain together and after mating separate for the remaining 10 months of the year and come together again in spring.

    As a rule, males have a longer, narrower tail than females, are more robust and in most populations have a notably larger and bulkier head.

    Male combat occurs during the mating period and the mating ritual can appear to look aggressive as the male will grab and hold the female by the head, neck or shoulder to hold her in place during mating.

    Dominance may occur in the case where two males are maintained together and is usually a result of competition for a basking spot, shelter sites and food. The aggression usually takes the form of the males grabbing each other around the mid body, in front or behind the rear legs and/or the base of the tail. This has also been known to occur when male/female and also female/female are kept together if their husbandry needs (as mentioned above) are not met.
     
  8. Emma0

    Emma0 New Member

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    Thanks for the info!
    I took them to the vet today and went through everything I do with a fine tooth comb. They both have a clean bill of health. One needs to lose some weight. But that’s it.
    She couldn’t really help me in regards to why she would suddenly be attacking him, but she suggested to keep them separated for now, and perhaps when the weather cools down a bit try to put them back together again. She said it was also fine not to, and just keep them separated.
    It’s a shame they may now need to be separated, but I guess if that’s what they want.

    Would it be possible that she didn’t recognise him with his shed half stuck on? Are they sensitive visually by recognising each other, or is it more smells? I just wonder if she thought maybe he was a different lizard and attacked out of knee jerk reaction. Just a thought.
     
  9. nuttylizardguy

    nuttylizardguy Active Member

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    Has been very hot lately (mostly during the middle part of the day when you are perhaps not able to monitor tank temperatures , perhaps she's cranky because she's been too hot and they have very limited access to a cooler refuge in their shared tank , and some dominance (pecking) going on to reinforce the point.

    But I've never kept bobtails and so this is pure speculation.

    Giving them a break from each other is good idea. In the wild they separate for a while and come back together to mate.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2019
  10. Emma0

    Emma0 New Member

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    Yeah I’m thinking their enclosure is too small. They have both put on weight over the last couple of years, especially her. So I’m thinking it is a competing for resources thing. Since they are now both bigger, and it has been so hot, he has probably been trying to seek refuge at the cooler end and not able to stay clear of her, as much as she would like anyhow.
    They are in a 120 x 40 enclosure. And both a little fat.
    I’m now looking at building a 180 x 80 for them. And give that a go when the temp drop a bit.
    Thanks for all your help!!
    --- Automatic Post Merged, Jan 20, 2019, Original Post Date: Jan 20, 2019 ---
    And I went to a reptile pet shop and the guy there seemed certain I had a male and female. The one I call a boy has a longer thinnner, pointier tail. And the one I call a girl has a much shorter fatter rounder tail.
    And I did just remember that I have found sperm plugs in the enclosure over the years. So I do know for certain at least one of them is male.
     

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