Enrichment for reptiles

Discussion in 'General Reptile Discussion' started by Iguana, Jan 4, 2018.

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  1. Wally

    Wally Subscriber Subscriber Power Seller

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    I understand the point Scutellatus was making. I thought it was lost a little in translation.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2018
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  2. Flaviemys purvisi

    Flaviemys purvisi Very Well-Known Member

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    Not even a relevant comparison...
    Snakes are far more paranoid than turtles mate. Turtles for one are true aquatic reptiles, basking on land for them is essential yet the most dangerous thing they can do in their life. Until you've encountered them in their natural habitat and dived with turtles underwater, you can't fully understand how bold they are. Snakes on the other hand rely on the chance of not being seen if remaining perfectly still until the last minute when camouflage has failed them, then it's either flee or fight.
    A turtle underwater will readily approach and investigate a diver or sit and observe you as you swim past, over, around, whatever. I've many photos of wild turtles where I've put cameras in their faces and snapped a photograph of them, turtles don't get into a strike pose, hiss, get all defensive or flee when in their natural habitat, they've no need to, they have security 24/7 A turtle on land still has it's shell, so why does it flee when on land at the first sign of movement?? Because if it's prevented from entering the water, turned over, carried off into the scrub and injured, etc, it will die. Simple.

    A turtle has webbed feet like a duck, useless for outrunning a predator on land, a shell on land becomes a cumbersome burden... In the water, a turtle becomes a weightless turbo powered streamlined jet. Try catching a turtle in open water without fins in a swimming contest. That's why they flee when disturbed while basking, to even the odds.

    Another point, a turtle won't just automatically flee when approached, it all depends on the situation. I'm able to approach basking turtles (because I understand their behaviour) to within a couple of meters, if you don't make threatening body language or eye contact with them they don't feel threatened. Another thing you should never do is point at turtles, whilst above or below water, pointing at a turtle will cause it to flee, In the below photo I'm pointing at the basking turtles but not looking at them. They remained perfectly still. Watchful and wary but they didn't flee.
    [​IMG]

    I stood motionless here for 45 minutes in the sun observing their behaviour. During that time another turtle hauled out and proceeded to bask and watch me. Notice the deliberate positioning of the 3rd turtle, it's facing the opposite direction, they do this purposely to cover all angles of approach from land. If one flees into the water, they all flee, instantly.
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    Last edited: Jan 6, 2018
  3. GBWhite

    GBWhite Well-Known Member

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    As usual I've been following this post and find the discussion with everyone voicing their opinions very interesting. Considering my understanding of how the reptilian brain works I can't help but feel anthropomorphism (placing human attributes into animal behaviour) plays a huge role in our decisions toward the manner in which reptiles are kept in captivity.

    It must be remember that animals (including reptiles) do not perceive time in a manner that is the same as humans. We contemplate the actions and decisions of our past and envision our actions in the future (episodic memory), whereby animals live in the present. They have what is referred to as a circadian oscillator which keeps track of their circadian cycles that are based on external clues such as temperature, day length, moon phases and celestial patterns which dictate activities such as sleep, reproducion, hibernation etc.

    To address the original question, "'Do captive reptiles benefit from providing them with enrichment' (enhancing the quality of captive animal care by providing the stimuli for psychological and physiological well-being)? Personally, in regard to reptiles I'm not convinced (yet) that it plays that big a role.

    Studies have proven that it is beneficial to higher order animals that are held in captivity but is it relevant to lower order animals such as captive held reptiles? Firstly I'd have to ask that given reptiles are primitive creatures with a primitive brain that is only concerned with survival, (i.e. shelter, food, water, reproduction, flight or fight responses) do they suffer from psychological conditions and boredom? Personally, unlike humans and other higher order animals, I doubt if they have the mental capacity to suffer from a psychological condition, stress or understand boredom. In fact considering physiological conditions contribute to chemicals released in a fight or flight response and that captive reptiles rarely if ever encounter the need to exercise the option I believe that it could be assumed that they don't suffer from stress at all. If it was the case that reptiles suffered from psychological conditions and stress as a result of physiological conditions couldn't it be assumed that it would be more prevalent in the wild state due to the continuous threat of predation and on-going concern with other survival factors?

    I have no doubt that providing an enriched captive environment that emulates a reptile's natural environment allows the reptile to undertake activities conducive to those carried out in the wild state, but, do they need it to live contentedly in captivity? Given that when provided with the basic needs, it is obvious that those kept without the provision of a natural environment appear to survive and live long healthy lives it only leads me to ask if it is a necessity for their overall wellbeing or does it fall under a conscious category that allows the keeper the opportunity to feel more positive in the fact that they are keeping a native animal? Captive reptiles don't have the mental ability to sit around thinking..."I wish my cage had a more stimulating environment" or "I wonder what the outside world is like" or "I wish I had other things to do". Nor do they need it. As mentioned previously, reptiles do not lose their natural instincts when bred or held in captivity, so all things considered possessing the ability to contemplate on the past or envision the future could prove detrimental to a reptile's survival by wasting time with such thoughts as in the wild it would leave them open to being eaten and/or effect their time spent looking for mates.

    Anyway, these are just my thoughts and I'd be interested to know what others think about the subject.

    George.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2018
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  4. Scutellatus

    Scutellatus Well-Known Member

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    @Aussiepride83
    I am not convinced mate. I think you are giving turtles more credit in the thinking department than they really do have. When they scurry back into the water that is the same 'fight or flight moment' that a snake has and all animals, including us, use. If you pick them up they will try to bite or flee. Large wild pythons will usually accept handling without issue, no striking, hissing or any other threat postures.
    They may be curious underwater but that can be attributed to our size and them not seeing us as a threat because most large animals are cumbersome in the water.
    In regard to those photos, they look like they are taken in a reserve or someones private pond where they are regularly exposed to humans which will obviously reduce their perceived threat level and allow you to get as close as you have.
     
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  5. Flaviemys purvisi

    Flaviemys purvisi Very Well-Known Member

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    Sorry mate but you're incorrect when it comes to turtles. Turtles in the water are far different than when out of the water. You're comparing Apples and oranges. Almost every turtle wild or domestic apart from ELN will not become defensive and bite or retract when picked up by a human. They will simply observe you like so....
    P1000419-1-1.jpg
    If you proceed to antagonize it, and piss it off, then you'll get bitten. Snakes are far more paranoid and insecure than turtles and is why snakes will thrive in a small.confined space that meets all their needs whereas turtles will not. That is why my turtle enclosures are elaborate natural and realistic looking and my snakes reside in tubs... they're happy that way. Because their paranoia and insecurities are eliminated.
    Snakes don't carry their security around with them like turtles do, they have a very limited line of defence and will skulk away before being detected.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2018
  6. GBWhite

    GBWhite Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, sorry Kev but I have to disagree with you you too mate. It might well be the way they are approached but I've spent plenty of time diving for turtles just for fun and never had the same experience where a turtle has become inquisitive enough to check me out, even when I haven't been trying to be threatening toward them they've always taken off to get away or taken to cover. On many occasions I've spent hours watching them from a river bank and from what I've seen they aren't any different to other reptiles in regard to their flight and fight response.
     
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  7. Scutellatus

    Scutellatus Well-Known Member

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    I'v been keeping now for 11 years and have never had a snake in a tub until recently when I purchased a Green Tree Python and that is only so I can control the humidity while young. None of my snakes have ever shown any paranoid or insecure actions, it hasn't mattered whether they have been in large eclosures. In fact a few of them have come from breeders who use tubs and the snakes have never had an issue with large enclosures, always fed straight away, happy to sit out of their hides and enjoy their space. Almost as if the snake is saying that's better somewhere to explore and move about.
     
  8. Flaviemys purvisi

    Flaviemys purvisi Very Well-Known Member

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    I have no doubt dived more systems for more turtles across this country than what you have and it'd be safe to say that my experiences overall with turtles in the wild trumps yours... No disrespect but I have to pretty much disregard your opinion here entirely as I've dived with more wild turtles more times than you've had breakfast.
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    That's fine, no doubt they do fine in a large enclosure where their needs are met, they do just as fine however in small ones too... that's all this is about. And like wally said, this subject has been whipped to death and back on this forum before. Snakes can live happily in an appropriately sized tub enclosure OR a cage the size of a master bedroom. Either way, whatever works works. Tubs work for my snakes. For now.
     
  9. Scutellatus

    Scutellatus Well-Known Member

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    Every wild turtle I have handled has the initial reaction of opening their mouth to bite and scratch with their feet in an attempt to get away. After a time they may realise I am not a threat and not try to bite but that is the same with the majority of smaller animals.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2018
  10. Flaviemys purvisi

    Flaviemys purvisi Very Well-Known Member

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    No fleeing no biting. Reckon I've handled a few more turtles than you in my time.
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    Wild expansa
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  11. Scutellatus

    Scutellatus Well-Known Member

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    Wow! That is a pretty bold statememt toward George there Kev. Considering his age and involvement in reptiles for the years he has had, I think his experience may trump yours by about 30 years.
     
  12. Bl69aze

    Bl69aze Very Well-Known Member

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    Who wouldn’t want to flee from @Scutellatus ;).

    All jokes aside, I use a tiny bit of cat food and (very tiny amounts) and smear it in parts of enclosure for snake to smell and he gets intrigued by it, checks every spot out and then goes back to whatever he was doing, and I get rid of the catfood
     
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  13. Flaviemys purvisi

    Flaviemys purvisi Very Well-Known Member

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    With snakes no doubt... I bet my feet have been wet chasing turtles many more times in many more locations.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2018
  14. Bl69aze

    Bl69aze Very Well-Known Member

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    Regarding the “no fleeing” statement, all turtles I’ve been involved in for conservation projects aren’t too fond of being touched by us and will jet off to find a log under the water to hide under.
     
  15. Wally

    Wally Subscriber Subscriber Power Seller

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    Let's not get into who can wet a patch of grass the furthest away.

    It's been an interesting conversation.
     
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  16. Flaviemys purvisi

    Flaviemys purvisi Very Well-Known Member

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    Have Dived with, caught and handled more wild turtles than anyone here and I can tell you, they won't flee or bite as some people think they do... Do these guys look afraid? No.
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  17. Wally

    Wally Subscriber Subscriber Power Seller

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    Kev why don't you start a dedicated turtle thread. You have strong passion for them and plenty to share.
     
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  18. Flaviemys purvisi

    Flaviemys purvisi Very Well-Known Member

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    And again, not even retracting. Not afraid of humans.
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    G'day mate, never mind, it's just some people saying that they madly flee for cover etc when it's not the case. Anyway, I've got a mob here from Solarhart putting 22 more solar panels on my roof, I've gotta get going.

    Have a good one.
     
  19. GBWhite

    GBWhite Well-Known Member

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    Get a little toey don't we when someone posts a difference of opinion based on observation and/or experience. Isn't there a saying that goes something like "criticism and difference of opinion should be taken constructively"?

    FYI, my interest in reptiles is not limited to snakes. It stretches across the entire spectrum however my main interest is observation of wild animals.

    You probably have dived with more turtles than I've had breakfasts my friend, however you're not the only person I know that has an interest in turtles and from those who I know that are involved in studying freshwater turtles in the wild their experience with them is not much different to mine. Both the first two photos you've put up indicate to me turtles that are displaying a response to a perceived threat. First one is seeking a refuge and the second one is ready to make an escape.
     
  20. Flaviemys purvisi

    Flaviemys purvisi Very Well-Known Member

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    Oh dear you are making some assumptions now... Ok mate think what you like it's cool. I have to run, work to be done.
     
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