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average weight of your tort?

Discussion in 'Redfoot and yellowfoot tortoises' started by Hustler, Apr 28, 2011.

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  1. Hustler

    Hustler New Member

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    I was just doing my quarterly weigh ins and measurements and came across a question...
    Do you guys weigh your torts often?
    For me i try to prevent/spot problems with weight loss ect but really Ive never heard of a "good weight" or average....
    I know they all have diffrent shapes and sizes but has anyone come to an average or base weight per inch for redfoots?
    I would assume a 12" female that weighs 2lbs would be sick or dying as mine have averaged over 4lbs each but Ive only ever weighed mine so really I have no basis on that assumption lol
    is there any guideline to follow or judge?
  2. The Speedmister

    The Speedmister New Member

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    Well, my 14 cm male Russian Tortoise (4 yrs old) is 320 grams. . . and in very good health.
  3. yagyujubei

    yagyujubei New Member

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    http://www.tinytortoises.co.uk/healthy growth.html This is for mediterranean type tortoises, but should be close for similarly shaped ones.[hr]
    Your russian seems very light to me.
  4. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer Staff Member

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    I try to take pictures and weigh each tortoise once a year. This gives me a more-or-less current picture of each animal in case I ever have to prove an escaped tortoise is really mine.
  5. Hustler

    Hustler New Member

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    That sounds like a good plan too :)
    Whats the average size/weight of your redfoots?
    My 12" female is 4:12.3lbs so Im hopeing thats right on track as Im basing all other weights on her ratio right now
  6. 68merc

    68merc Member

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    My red foot is 9 3/4" long and 6.24 lbs. 2822g....
  7. ALDABRAMAN

    ALDABRAMAN Well-Known Member

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    We do not weigh our tortoises much, only if we suspect a problem. I am very aware of each one and any changes they might display. One thing I take notice too is any change in their poop, that is usually a good indicator.
  8. terryo

    terryo Active Member

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    Pio, my Cherry Head is 4 lb.'s and she's 9 in. now. I measure them and weigh them every few months. She'll be 4 years in July, 2011 I think she's going to be one of those BIG female Cherry Heads.
  9. goReptiles

    goReptiles Member

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    What is the average weights for adult red foots?
  10. Jessicap

    Jessicap New Member

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    Not sure how accurate my scale is (old food scale), but Sid appears to be gaining regularly and growing like a weed. 1/21 7oz , 2/13 8.5 oz 4 1/2 inches, 3/29 10.5 oz, 4/7 11 oz, 5/2 12 oz and 5 1/2 in. So does this sound good? To me it seems very light compared to the size and weight of others listed.
  11. Madkins007

    Madkins007 New Member Staff Member

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    There is a formula you can use for any tortoise to predict what the weight should be for its size. It was developed by Dr. Susan Donoghue, an expert in this sort of thing. While it does not work well on babies, it does a good job for all tortoise species. The formula is...

    "Straight-line Carapace Length, in centimeters, to the third power, times 0.191 gives you the estimated low-end healthy weight in grams". In formula form it is SCLcm^3 x 0.191 = WTgr. Don't like metric? Shame on you, but the 'imperial' formula is SCLin^3 x .0.113 = Minimum weight in ounces. Please note that this formula is not as accurate as the metric one is.

    To apply this to some of the examples in the thread (WARNING! I am just doing this quick, and can make mistakes! ALSO- metric measurements are more precise and better for this sort of thing. A '9.75" tortoise' can be anywhere from about 23 to 26 centimeters, which affects the results a lot! It also makes a difference HOW you measure to get the Straight-line Carapace Length! Don't panic until you check all these issues!) ...

    OP's 12" example- 12^3 is 1728. 1728 times 0.113 is 195.264 ounces, which shows us one of the weaknesses of using Imperial measurements for this sort of thing. 195.264 ounces is.... 12.2lbs, or 12 lbs and 1.25 ounces, so a 4lb 12"er is WAY underweight. Let's try it in metric (as the formula was designed)- 12"=30.48cm. 30.48^3 is 28,317, times 0.191 is 5,408.5gr, which is 11.9 pounds. (The discrepency is due to the formula not being as exact, and rounding things off during conversions)

    Speedmeister's 14cm tort... 14^3 is 2744, times 0.191 is 524 grams, so his guy is light. This is an example of why Dr. Donohue developed the formula- most vets would agree that most captive reptiles, especially tortoises, are at least somewhat dehydrated most of the time. Too much heat, too little humidity, dried out foods, etc. over time.

    68merc's 9.75" tort, in metric, would be about 24.8cm. 24.8^3 is 15,253, times 0.191 is 2921gr, so the 2822 weight is also a bit low, but not bad for this size of tort.

    TerryO's Pio is 9", or 22.89cm, ^3 is 11,993.26, times 0.191 is 2,291gr, or about 80.8 oz, a tad over 5lb- light even though I KNOW Pio gets great humidity and care.

    Jessica's 5.5" is about 14cm, like Speedmeister's, so should weigh the same- 524 grams or 18.5oz, or 1lb, 2.5oz, so is also underweight.

    By this scale, my 4 little guys were on track back in the fall, then dehydrated over the winter, even with great humidity and such. They were close enough I elected to not do anything more aggressive, but have not done my April weights yet. (I try to do them monthly for the first year, then every 2-3 months for a year, then less often.)


    I think this shows that the experts are right- dehydration is a struggle for most tortoises and their keepers. Grazing on fresh, live plants really helps since grocery store greens loose so much moisture so quickly. Humidity, free access to water, proper temps, etc. helps too, but it is an on-going struggle.
  12. Hustler

    Hustler New Member

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    Ehhh now you got me double checkin... They are all eating and pooping fine....
    my longest female is very narrow, I have another at 8 inch thats almost 8lbs I figured was just a fatty but she is built like a cannon ball. Is there any way to accomidate diffrent shell structures or shapes?
  13. Madkins007

    Madkins007 New Member Staff Member

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    The formula pretty much takes all of that into account. Most tortoises have the same basic ratio of muscle, organs, bone, and shell as the others, regardless of the shell shape.

    Eating and pooping are certainly good signs, but there are many problems a tortoise can have and still keep it's appetite- like moderate, chronic dehydration.
  14. Jessicap

    Jessicap New Member

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    Okay - how can I hydrate him more? I put him in his water dish everyday, soak him down, wet his food, and keep his humidity up by soaking the bedding and hide daily. The humidity is averages around 60-70% - I try to never let it get below 60%. He is not a huge eater though. Only eats alot every couple of days. I do the 2 days of greens, one fruit, 2 greens, 1 greens w/fruit treat, then 1 protien. I seem to throw alot of food out on most days. I think he was very dehydrated when I got him in December. His shell was very lumpy but all the new growth seems to be coming in smooth. Is there anything else I should be looking at or doing?
  15. Madkins007

    Madkins007 New Member Staff Member

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    That is the $64,000 question, and it ain't easy. The main methods are...

    HUMIDITY- having places that are at least 90% humid, and a good overall humidity helps.

    ACCESS TO WATER- a good pool- good depth, set flush, easy to get in and out, etc. Soaks can help as well. Some people ahve good luck using oil or lotion on the shell (and even skin) to help minimize water loss.

    DIETARY- Dietary water comes in 2 forms- foods with water- like live plants, succulents, melon, etc., and foods the body can make water from, like proteins. Besides a fresh, wholesome, varied diet, you can also mist the food when you serve it.

    But there is another direction to consider- drying elements. It is a balance- it has to take in more liquid than it excretes or secretes. Sadly, several things help dehydrate the tortoise...

    DRY HEAT- High temps, overly hot hot spots, etc.

    CHIMNEY EFFECT- Most of our habitats allow most of the heat and humidity to rise right up and out. If you spray down and into the habitat, and heat from above, a lot of the effect will be lost almost immediately. Heating from below is one way to counteract this- it heats the water in the substrate which rises past the tortoises and warms the entire habitat.

    DRY FOODS- Even green stuff from the store can be very dry. Pellets, cubes, etc.- all dry and needing water to digest.

    METABOLIC LOSS- Animals loose water in many ways- wet poops, urination, exhaling moist air, etc. Humidity helps fight this.

    DRYING SUBSTRATES- Not applicable in this case, probably, but a lot of substrates, hides, etc. absorb water, drawing it from the animal or air around it.



    If everything else is on track, some ideas to consider might be...
    - Apply a very light coat of olive oil or lotion to the shell after a soak.
    - Offer watermelon. It holds a ton of water in it. Other water-full things are other melons, cucumbers, grapes, and tomatoes. Even occasional orange slices, apples, plums, etc. can help.
    - Use Pediolyte or even thinned, low cal Gatorade in some of your soaks.
    - Try to let it graze from live, healthy plants whenever possible. Especially succulents and cacti.

    We can also encourage movement and exercise, which makes them thirstier, as well as offering as natural of an environment as possible.
  16. Jessicap

    Jessicap New Member

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    Thanks for the info Mark. I am going to try the oil. I have also started to soak him when I soak my Greeks (almost daily). He should be albe to get into his new enclosure this weekend, and I hope this will stimulate him to move around more. It has bioactive substrate, is planted and so much larger than his current 55 gal tank.
  17. georgekathe

    georgekathe New Member

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    Great info about ratio, thanks. Mine works out a little heavy - I saw the previous owner feed him & she gave him an awful lot of food.

    George
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