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Underweight Tort
Posted: 01/04/2009 by Row


When I took Tetley to the vet he said he was under weight.

He is 90mm long and weighs 134 gram which looking at the McIntyre Ratio yes he is under weight.

I have never really looked at this befrore as i was more concerned in him gaining to much to quickly.  He was 93 grams when I got him and I've had him since the end of July which means he's been putting on avereage 4.5 grams a month.  I've been slowly cutting his intake of food down as he gorged himsel to much when I first got him to bring down that average to within in 1-3 gram per month thought I was getting ther but now not sure what to do.

1) Is he under weight?

2) If he is under weight what is the best way to get him to his proper weight?

I feel bad that the vet said he was under weight and I didn't realise. Feel I've neglected the poor thing...

Thanks Row x

Re: Underweight Tort
Posted: 01/04/2009 by tpgNina

Hi Row,

I've looked back at my own Horsfield's records (she was always about average) and 134 is a bit light for 90mm. But please keep in mind that the McIntyre Ratio is only a really rough guide -- it was compiled from the records sent in by a number of Horsfield keepers, but it wasn't a large number, so you mustn't view it as a hard and fast rule. I think if Tetley is gaining weight at 4.5g per month, that is more than adequate, and it wouldn't be good for him to put on more than that, as big growth spurts are not good for tortoises. Because 4.5g is above average, he will catch up gradually, and in fact 3g. per month would be OK too. Just let him grow slowly and there won't be any danger of him getting bumpy.


Re: Underweight Tort
Posted: 01/04/2009 by Row

Hi Nina,

Hope you are ok? Thanks for this he is already a little lumpy but he has always been like it since I got him.  I'll keep doing what I am doing then.  I've been trying to get his average down over the last few months which is why I was shocked that he was a little skinny!. 

Thansk row

Re: Underweight Tort
Posted: 13/04/2009 by minniechops


Dont feel bad, I am sure you are doing your best for Tetley. I just weighted and measured my two horsefield and found the chart and they are underweight too apparently. Mine were - George = 92cm + 168gm and Humphrey = 95cm + 170gms. I have always fed mine everyday. Somedays they eat more than others, although George is a bit of a piggy at time. I think the chart has its uses, because like you, I was worried that they were too heavy and gaining weight too quickly. Now I feel better. I guess you know if your torts.

I wonder if someone should do a new chart them if the McIntyre Ration one is a little flawed.

Zoe, George and Humphrey

Re: Underweight Tort
Posted: 13/04/2009 by tpgadmin

Several of my horsfields were used in the compilation of the McIntyre ratio chart you are referring to.  You are right in that it should only be ever used as a guide.  The tortoises measured to compile the graph are all tortoises which are kept in captivity and not those living naturally in the wild.  The size and shape of our captive bred tortoises are often quite different to those growing natually in the wild.  My own tortoises for example are mostly rehomers that are not perfect shape and are all included in the chart.  In its favour, at least the chart does give you a referral point.

The best plan, in my opinion, is to ensure your tortoise is displaying all the signs of a healthy tortoise and is fed a good diet, but a diet which is restricted so the tortoise's growth is steady and slow.  An ideal weight gain for a horsfield or any med tortoise is 2 - 3 gr. per month.

All we can is do, is our best to ensure that tortoises in our care thrive and live a good and long life.  Just by writing these type of messages on the forums demonstrates what lovely caring owners you are and that your tortoises are so lucky to have you as their owners.  Unfortunately lots of tortoises are not as fortunate as ours Click and drag me down to the editor





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