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Pyramiding?
Posted: 17/09/2013 by JessicaGrant

Hiya,

I'm looking for some advice. I have a male Spur-Thighed tortoise and after doing some reading I am concerned his shell is pyramiding - I have attached a photo. I've given lots of information below which is hopefully relevant:

Country of origin: Turkey

Hatched in 2008

He is housed indoors in a tortoise table - width 2'6, length 3'. He has a repti-glo 2.0 UVB strip and a heat lamp. No heat at night. I have attached a photo.

He does not have an outdoor enclosure currently which is a massive concern to me. I only have a concrete garden so need to work around this in the future and get something appropriate. Any suggestions?

He is fed a mix of lambs lettuce, rocket, broccoli, things like that. Currently growing a tortoise food seed mix to vary his diet more. Sometimes he eats twice a day, sometimes not at all, but not more food than the recommended shell size amount. Food is placed on clean slate. Cuttlefish bone available and occasional nutrobal calcium supplement. Water available and bathed weekly.  

I am planning on taking him to a recommended vet about his shell but looking for some advice in the interim. I'm concerned that I have - overfed? Dehydrated? Lack of calcium? Lack of UVB?

He is quite active and seems healthy, but I'm concerned that I've followed poor advice.

I'm hoping to minimise some of the effect by controlling the amount of food he is getting to avoid him growing too fast, ensuring he has plenty of water and is bathed more often, and giving calcium supplement more regularly.

Stupidly I have not maintained a record of his weight but will do so from now on to monitor. Curently he weighs 500g and is 131.5mm long.

Am I on the right lines?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Jess

 

Re: Pyramiding?
Posted: 17/09/2013 by Tom

Hello Jessica, starting with the photos, the pyramids are not too bad & the past few years growth is almost normal. Looking at the "origin", it is wild caught & you will have bought it from a pet dealer.
You have plenty of time to provide an outside enclosure. It is sub-adult, so try to give it AT LEAST 15 sq metres, with a rockery, etc..
You have sowed some suitable seeds - good. A dusting of "Nutrobal" about 3 times a week is good. Calcium carbonate powder should be available, as well cuttlefish bone.
Nothing can be done about existing shell growth, but a vet could work on his overgrown beak. I'd wait 'til Spring.
Given his weight to length & allowing for a bit of shell thickening, he could hibernate. For all the info - click on "The Tortoise" box on the left. I'd hib. from the end of Nov. to mid. March, as it's your 1st time. Read up with care.
Another point, avoid the brassica family, eg broccolli, in the diet & stick to recommended plants.
Regards
Tom

Re: Pyramiding?
Posted: 17/09/2013 by JessicaGrant

Hi Tom,

Thanks for the pointers and advice, has put my mind at ease a bit and I know what to work on.

The docs I have for him certify that he was 'captive born-and-bred or artificially propagated specimens'. What does this mean then?

Jess

Re: Pyramiding?
Posted: 17/09/2013 by Tom

There is no proper evidence that they are captive bred in Turkey. Why would anyone go to all that trouble & expense, when hatchlings are collected by children & peasants (for a pittance) from their natural habitat.
It is the exporter & importer & the UK pet traders who sell them, that make the big money.
You bought it (in good faith) from a pet dealer, didn't you?
CITES legislation is meant to protect the species, but (allegedly) there is no enforcement by the UK Licensing Authority.
Regards
Tom

Re: Pyramiding?
Posted: 18/09/2013 by JessicaGrant

Yes, I got him from (what I thought was a reputable) aquatics and reptile centre.

Clearly should have done more research.

Jess

 

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