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SPLIT SCUTE

Discussion in 'Tortoise Breeding' started by ALDABRAMAN, Jan 13, 2011.

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  1. ALDABRAMAN

    ALDABRAMAN KEEPER AT HEART

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    Another thread prompted me to start this thread. Some believe that a split scute is influenced by heat during the incubation period and is usually females that have the split scutes. I can say that we have never had a hatchling aldabra with a split scute. I know of several female tortoises, various species, that do have split scutes. I do not recall any males that I know of that do have split scutes. Can anyone verify that they have or have seen a male tortoise that has split scutes? I have spoken to some that believe split scutes are genic and normal for some tortoises. I do not know the truth and can not support any theory. I will add that I do not incubate at high temperatures, and could be why we have never had a split scute on any hatchling. All thoughts, opinions, and experiences welcome.
  2. cdmay

    cdmay Member

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    While most of the animals I have seen over the years that had split scutes have been female, I have seen males with that condition as well.
    I recently went through a fairly large group (80+) of adult male cherryhead redfoots and there were two males with 'zipper' vertebral scutes.
    There are three possible reasons that I know of that may cause split or extra scutes in captive and even wild tortoises. The first, and most common is excessively high incubation temperatures. Second is a genetic cause and third is an overly dry incubation medium. This last condition has been confirmed to me by a friend who incubates several thousand turtle and tortoise eggs each year.
    In my personal experience I get about 1 hatchling in 50 that has either a single split scute or a single extra scute.
  3. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer Staff Member

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    The only personal experience I've had with split scutes was a female Manouria emys phayrei that I bought from Vic Morgan.
  4. Neal

    Neal Well-Known Member

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    We had a few breeders and DVM's talk to us about split scutes at the TTPG conference. All of them said split scutes will happen when incubated at any temperature. I have a male star with irregular scutes. I'll post pictures of him tonight.
  5. yagyujubei

    yagyujubei New Member

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    When I was hatching many game bird eggs years ago, humidity played as important a role as temperature. Too much humidity = big chicks with weak legs. Too little = small thin weak chicks. Too cold = dead chicks, too hot = dead chicks. In fact some would adjust humidity according to weekly weight loss on set eggs. I'll bet it's a factor.
  6. Mao Senpai

    Mao Senpai New Member

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    After reading some split scute thread and the.. why do tortoise live so long and evolution thing.. I was just thinking to myself, we all know evolution takes a long time with slow changes of things over time to adapt to their living conditions. I wonder... if the split scute or extra scute just scute oddities is an attempt to change themself slowly or trying it out to see if it benefits them, since in nature if it doesn't work they just get eaten or die off whatever the case might be.... or even possibly mutation? Just a thought...
  7. TylerStewart

    TylerStewart Member

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    We have a few male elongateds with split or extra scutes.

    As far as the reason, I am still not convinced it's one thing or another. We commonly have a single split scute baby hatch in the middle of a clutch of perfect babies. To me, this rules out temperature, humidity, and other factors that would affect an entire clutch. I've heard the theory that if an egg is moved or bumped during a critical part of incubation that it can happen. It does seem to be mostly on females, but there's got to be more to it than temperature or humidity.

    The genetic thing might have a lot to do with it, although we don't get any more split scute babies from split scute parents than we do from perfect parents. It could be a hidden gene affecting them, that isn't showing on the parents. That would be my best guess.
  8. Terry Allan Hall

    Terry Allan Hall Active Member

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    Interesting idea... :cool:
  9. supremelysteve

    supremelysteve New Member

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    I recall reading somewhere that split scutes are related to poor oxygen circulation. All my experience is with box turtles, but I've had split scutes occur with males and females. The males were incubated at room temperature, and the females incubated at 87-88 degrees. It seems that clutches that I opened their egg container lids to check on them frequently had no split scutes. These same clutches were handled a lot. Only clutches that were "ignored" tended to have split scutes.

    I suspect that warmer clutches, which are predominantly female, will use up available oxygen faster, since the warmer temperatures cause faster development, making on oxygen shortage more likely than clutches incubated at a lower temperature. My male clutches were rarely checked on, and so still potentially ran out of oxygen.

    My first clutch of 4 tortoise eggs is currently in a Juragon Pro incubater that is constantly circulating air, and they are being incubated at 91.0 degrees and 80.0% humidity. I really like that thing! My only complaint is that the water reservoir needs refilling every three days or so.

    Steve
  10. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer Staff Member

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    I just remembered a box turtle that I hatched. It wasn't exactly a split scute...she has an extra set of dorsal scutes. It almost looks like she was a twin that didn't separate. She was one of four eggs hatched in a Little Giant incubator. The other three are perfect and have since been released into the large turtle habitat. This one will always be kept in the baby habitat because she's small and special.

    [​IMG]
  11. Fernando

    Fernando New Member

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    Whoa! This is a little OT but...has this section of the forum always been here??
  12. -EJ

    -EJ New Member

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    The split scute commonly seen in Aldabras is most likely a genetic trait and not caused by temperature. The split usually occurs horizontally across the last vertebral scute near the tail.

    I've had several male Aldabras with split scutes.


  13. CJSTorts

    CJSTorts New Member

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    My only experince with split scutes is my female WC Home's. Though its not really split but seems she has 2 extra vertebral scutes.
  14. Jacqui

    Jacqui Out living in my yard.... Staff Member

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    No the breeding section was just put in place last week. ;)
  15. dmarcus

    dmarcus Active Member

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    I like it and she looks good..
  16. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer Staff Member

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    Where in the heck is our Aldabra man? Anyone know?
  17. -EJ

    -EJ New Member

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    Looks like he's dropped off the face of the internet.

  18. ALDABRAMAN

    ALDABRAMAN KEEPER AT HEART

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    We had our first ever hatchling aldabra with a split scute. Hatched on 4-26-2011 with 11 others from the same clutch that had all normal scute patterns. According to the new keeper that now has that hatchling, the split is not expanding/no new growth.

    [​IMG]
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