1. Welcome! Are you interested in tortoises? If so, we invite you to join our community! Our community is the #1 place for tortoise keepers to talk online. Once you join you'll be able to post messages, upload pictures of your tortoise and enclosure, and discuss any tortoise topic with other tortoise keepers. Get started today!

How to file beaks??

Discussion in 'General Tortoise Discussion' started by DonaTello's-Mom, Nov 12, 2010.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. DonaTello's-Mom

    DonaTello's-Mom New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    Messages:
    878
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    California, central coast
    Can someone explain how to file their beaks down? I know we can help them file it down 'naturally' by feeding them on slate and adding cuttle bones for them to chew on, but how would you file a young torts beak or an older one? Who knows, maybe someday I'll have to do this and would like to know 'how'. What tools would you use and, how much would you file at a time say if it was REALLY badly over grown?? I'm really curious about this..:p
  2. Kristina

    Kristina New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2008
    Messages:
    5,383
    Likes Received:
    23
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Cadillac, Michigan
    (These ads do not appear for registered members.)
    I use either a Dremel or a pair of very sharp nail clippers. I take a little bit at a time until it looks right. You don't want to try to cut too much at once because it can split up into parts that will bleed.

    If I clip and then there are sharp edges, I use a regular nail file to smooth it out a little.
  3. Jerseynox

    Jerseynox New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2010
    Messages:
    101
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    se michigan
    good question i was thinking that my rescued male malayan box has or is getting an overbite i use stone slab for feeding but no cuddle bone, and i remember a friend many years ago took a file to his turtles beak and claws but it just seemed kinda cruel he used a pencil to hold the turtles mouth open so he could work the beak. im not doin that. so i would like to add to the question how do you get the mouth to stay opened to file and wouldnt the sound of the dremel scare em
  4. Kristina

    Kristina New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2008
    Messages:
    5,383
    Likes Received:
    23
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Cadillac, Michigan
    You don't open the mouth. You grip them gently but firmly behind the head to keep them from retracting into their shell, and then just work on the upper beak. The Dremel is a lot faster than any other method, and anything you do isn't going to be 100% comfortable for them. But it is better than starving to death or not being able to walk right, in the case of the nails.

    I guess you have to to decide what is crueler - 5 minutes of working on the beak and nails, or a lifetime of jaw and leg pain?
  5. ALDABRAMAN

    ALDABRAMAN KEEPER AT HEART

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2010
    Messages:
    20,022
    Media:
    221
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    2,423
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    SW Forida
    I have never had to do this yet. Good thread.
  6. Kristina

    Kristina New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2008
    Messages:
    5,383
    Likes Received:
    23
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Cadillac, Michigan
    I had to trim my Gopher's beak once many many years ago, but mostly it has been box turtles that I have taken in. They are little buggers to have to trim - if they get their heads in before you get a good grip, you might as well hang it up, lol.
  7. DonaTello's-Mom

    DonaTello's-Mom New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    Messages:
    878
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    California, central coast
    Thanks for the replies. So does the beak not have feelings in it, kinda like horse hooves? And how often and why do you trim the claws? Sorry for all the questions!
  8. Kristina

    Kristina New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2008
    Messages:
    5,383
    Likes Received:
    23
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Cadillac, Michigan
    Part of the beak - yes. There is a point that there is feeling where it can be tender, just like horse hooves :) You can see the difference - the part that has no feeling is somewhat transparent, while the part that has feeling and can bleed is completely opaque.

    The nails only need to be trimmed if they are overgrown. I have only witnessed this in turtles and tortoises that are kept strictly indoors on a substrate that does not allow for digging or wear them down in any way. If you have ever cut dog/cat/rabbit nails, then you know there is a "quick" that should be avoided. This is the darker "cone" that extends down, usually into a point, inside the nail. If you cut it, it will bleed and be painful. I recommend having some styptic powder on hand before trimming either the beak or nails in case of an accident. A nail cut too far especially can bleed a LOT and can actually cause an animal to bleed out if it cannot be staunched. Styptic clots the blood and prevents this. You can get styptic powder or pencils at animal supply stores or in a pharmacy.
  9. DonaTello's-Mom

    DonaTello's-Mom New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    Messages:
    878
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    California, central coast
    Sounds like a '2 person' job for sure! Thanks for the info Kristina!
  10. dmmj

    dmmj Thhe member formerly known as captain awesome Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Messages:
    11,589
    Likes Received:
    413
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    CA
    some people use nail clippers, but I love the good old dremel and it is def. easier with 2 people but can be done by one person.
Similar Threads: file beaks
Forum Title Date
General Tortoise Discussion With who do I file a complaint about a pet store selling a 1" Leopard Tortoise? Sep 13, 2011
General Tortoise Discussion How Do You Trim Beaks? Aug 22, 2011
General Tortoise Discussion Overgrown Beaks Oct 27, 2010

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page