A Year In The Life Of Cupcake

Joined
Feb 19, 2017
Messages
29
So i've had my baby Cupcake for over a year now. He has gone from 36 grams to 375 grams in that time and I almost can't believe how beautiful he is. He absolutely loves Mazuri pellets and radicchio and I adore everything about him. He does have some pyramiding and I am working to fix that. I spent six months in the police academy and I did not focus on his humidity levels as much as I should have. Overall though, he is happy, healthy, and has a huge appetite. Here's a photo montage of his first year of life! :):<3:

February 24th, 2017 and 36 grams
630CCE15-A711-4752-9EB9-0727DBC61FF2.jpeg 019B1ED0-AAAB-40C7-B04D-5CBAE5C62A7E.jpeg
28547C18-9A0C-445E-880A-63868D0F669C-1.jpeg


March 6th, 43 grams
C36E59EA-6198-4867-BECD-12CCB5B30FDA.jpeg

March 14th, 46 grams
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April 2nd, 61 grams
C98E0A47-2C53-402C-A624-C51F6E0EADD3.jpeg

April 21st, 72 grams
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May 5th, 79 grams
8FF9AD97-2943-4DEF-8970-06540E8BFF26.jpeg C70C1292-8846-44D3-86C7-90A444D2D359.jpeg


July, 23 95 grams
88ED312D-3A83-4B74-8D64-9573CD7353EB.jpeg


September 3rd, 115 grams
4BFF71E1-6F81-4A0F-9B78-3CC3570836BC.jpeg C6AB309C-F7FC-4A3D-857F-F06AF126B5FA.jpeg

October 21st, 170 grams
2D3C145C-4F5B-41BF-B169-2CE70D20017C.jpeg

November 23rd, 200 grams
887918C5-A27E-4C5F-82DA-569C3FD2EA6B.jpeg DA016DC2-0D85-4C54-A86A-D05532B3542B.jpeg


December 9th, 241 grams
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December 31st, 272 grams
227DF388-8AB5-4FAF-9CD5-E1DDA85DC3D0.jpeg 0BC93C62-16AC-4B3B-9FA7-84D16140551F.jpeg


January 15th 2018, 294 grams
9ACB9F58-0128-4690-8E6E-E9397B8D892C.jpeg A38F0B5D-3E55-4226-B34E-7BE88C9D58BE.jpeg C97156B4-7D34-4D41-B0B4-7C8B3C87B11A.jpeg B7B15CCD-C9D5-4118-AF40-AE5AA373C43A.jpeg 428330C7-16BE-469E-8D65-8367F68200CB.jpeg

March 1st 2018, 375 grams
17D44B29-AF94-4796-9F0B-A4D5D1470950.jpeg 635D8DD2-F227-4E4B-ADE7-75B7B9FAE1C4.jpeg E70AC536-4B39-489B-8E89-110F39216C72.jpeg 136C9F8D-2D2A-495D-99D2-97A4D651CFDE.jpeg F13925E7-D522-4D45-B91C-7527A05ECE96.jpeg C289ED17-D73D-4F92-A4A7-769A3D175F13.jpeg 1A3E86E2-5ACC-400F-BD9B-69E7DE827666.jpeg
 

Markw84

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Kerri:

Congratulations on a great job with your tortoise. I would call than very minor pyramiding if you could even call it pyramiding!

I don't think you have ever posted a picture of the setup you keep your tortoise in. Or where in the country you live. Since you tortoise is doing and growing so well, I would be very interested in those things.

Again, Beautiful tortoise!!!!
 

Lark_Tortoise

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Joined
Feb 26, 2018
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141
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Ct
That is a great looking tort! I love the changes in the shell color! :<3::tort:Great job! :D
By the way, I think she once mentioned she is from New Jersey!
 
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Feb 19, 2017
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Thank you @Markw84 and @Lark_Tortoise! I’ve seen pictures of some very smooth leopard tortoises on here and I am very impressed by them. I know my Cupcake’s pyramiding could be worse but it could also be better. Once again, 100% my fault and I know it.

@Lark_Tortoise is correct, I live in New Jersey.

Honestly I have been wary about posting setup and care information because I feel like I might get blasted, but here goes. I started Cupcake out in a 20 gallon long aquarium which did great at keeping the temperatures up and not so great with the humidity. His temps have been pretty steady at approx. 104 on the hot side and 84 on the cool side. He sleeps on the "cool side" under a CHE that maintains 81 degrees at night. I read the thread on coconut oil and decided to try that out. Every other day I would smooth some onto his shell after he soaked.

Once I started the academy I stopped paying attention to the humidity altogether but continued to use the coconut oil. I tapered down to using it once every three days, however.

In October he outgrew the 20 gallon so I moved him into a large low exo-terra terrarium. The front opening doors are fantastic and the low ceiling helps keep the temps up. He still gets coconut oil on his shell, only once a week though. I graduated a few months ago and am focusing on humidity again, it fluctuates but hovers around 60-80% depending on how recently I sprayed everything down. He gets soaked every day or every other day if i'm that busy. He always has access to food and water.

I attribute his steady growth to his huge appetite. Every day during the academy I would wake up at 3am so that I would have time to soak him and cut up his spring mix and spray his mazuri so it is soft. He loves that stuff. Even though he is a year old I still cut up his salad for him, he is like my child. He loves to eat.

Here's his current setup. I really like the exo-terra design but he is quickly outgrowing it. I am working on getting him something larger, don't worry!

54559F12-3DCD-4BF4-A523-5890795100DE.jpeg

And here's a bonus pic of him in his enclosure!

62CB9395-2367-4153-99D3-A5EAE89E6431.jpeg
 

Kasia

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Poland
I quadrule all the good stuff written above... ;) one lovely happy tort;)
 
N

no one

Guest
Beautiful pictures of a beautiful tort!! Thank you for sharing, makes me happy such nice growth.
 

Markw84

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5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
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Messages
3,859
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Sacramento, CA (Central Valley)
Thank you @Markw84 and @Lark_Tortoise! I’ve seen pictures of some very smooth leopard tortoises on here and I am very impressed by them. I know my Cupcake’s pyramiding could be worse but it could also be better. Once again, 100% my fault and I know it.

@Lark_Tortoise is correct, I live in New Jersey.

Honestly I have been wary about posting setup and care information because I feel like I might get blasted, but here goes. I started Cupcake out in a 20 gallon long aquarium which did great at keeping the temperatures up and not so great with the humidity. His temps have been pretty steady at approx. 104 on the hot side and 84 on the cool side. He sleeps on the "cool side" under a CHE that maintains 81 degrees at night. I read the thread on coconut oil and decided to try that out. Every other day I would smooth some onto his shell after he soaked.

Once I started the academy I stopped paying attention to the humidity altogether but continued to use the coconut oil. I tapered down to using it once every three days, however.

In October he outgrew the 20 gallon so I moved him into a large low exo-terra terrarium. The front opening doors are fantastic and the low ceiling helps keep the temps up. He still gets coconut oil on his shell, only once a week though. I graduated a few months ago and am focusing on humidity again, it fluctuates but hovers around 60-80% depending on how recently I sprayed everything down. He gets soaked every day or every other day if i'm that busy. He always has access to food and water.

I attribute his steady growth to his huge appetite. Every day during the academy I would wake up at 3am so that I would have time to soak him and cut up his spring mix and spray his mazuri so it is soft. He loves that stuff. Even though he is a year old I still cut up his salad for him, he is like my child. He loves to eat.

Here's his current setup. I really like the exo-terra design but he is quickly outgrowing it. I am working on getting him something larger, don't worry!
Kerri

Thanks so much for sharing the information. I'm sorry you felt like you would get "blasted". I really wish fewer people felt that way - as suggestions on how to improve a setup are never meant judgmentally or with any angst. People here are simply willing and eager to share techniques that they found work best. Not because someone is a "bad" person, but because we hope to help other avoid the very mistakes we made too! I would have given anything for that type of information being available when I started raising tortoises. You should have seen the setups I went through in my learning!

Actually, by your willingness to share what you are doing, we can get some useful information that may help us further our understanding of what is working. You are doing some things that are not "suggested" as best, but your results have intrigued me. Your tortoise has very little pyramiding. Leopards are among the hardest species to grow smooth in captivity. Yet, you have a screen top and what I assume is a Mercury Vapor Bulb along with a CHE over your tortoise in a very low height enclosure. Those things would normally almost guarantee pyramiding with a leopard. You have basically done an experiment that gives interesting insight. By providing these conditions consistently, and then applying coconut oil very consistently as well, there is pretty compelling evidence here that there may really be something to applying something to the shell to help retain moisture.

Although this is only one tortoise in one circumstance, the only other members of this forum whom I have seen were consistent about applying coconut oil - all got similar results.

Thank you again for sharing.
 
Joined
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Messages
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@Markw84 Thank you! I really appreciate your kindness. Yes, his lamp is a Solar Glo combination uva/uvb/heat bulb. He also gets calcium with D3 dusted on his food every week.

I can understand that everyone on here is just trying to help and teach. I can see the passion for these beautiful animals and I am grateful for it. We need more people like this out there.

I did not think of it as conducting an experiment, but I am glad that my husbandry (if you want to call it that) and use of coconut oil can be helpful to someone.

@Markw84 You mentioned that Cupcake has very little pyramiding, but he does have bumps in the scutes along the top of his shell. Isn't this moderate pyramiding? You can see it in the pictures of him from the side.
 

Markw84

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Joined
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@Markw84
@Markw84 You mentioned that Cupcake has very little pyramiding, but he does have bumps in the scutes along the top of his shell. Isn't this moderate pyramiding? You can see it in the pictures of him from the side.
I would consider that VERY minor pyramiding. Leopard tortoises seem to grow a bit differently. They seem prone to have one edge, usually the rear edge of the vertebrals, that doesn't grow out and is "stuck". Instead of the scute spreading there, it will tend to stack a little bit. Yours has done that especially with the 2nd and 3rd vertebral. Bet even that seems to have stopped and is growing out more now perhaps the last 4 months or so. The newer growth, the past 4 months or so, seems almost perfect.

Anyone would love to have a leopard that looks like yours!!
 
Joined
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I would consider that VERY minor pyramiding. Leopard tortoises seem to grow a bit differently. They seem prone to have one edge, usually the rear edge of the vertebrals, that doesn't grow out and is "stuck". Instead of the scute spreading there, it will tend to stack a little bit. Yours has done that especially with the 2nd and 3rd vertebral. Bet even that seems to have stopped and is growing out more now perhaps the last 4 months or so. The newer growth, the past 4 months or so, seems almost perfect.

Anyone would love to have a leopard that looks like yours!!
Interesting. See, I am still learning.

I know he's a beauty. His shell pattern is just gorgeous. I'm lucky to have him :D

I will continue to post updates on here as he grows!
 
Joined
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Messages
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I also use this enclosure. Are you using the standard screen top? What methods are you using to keep the humidity up?
I am using the screen top that the tank came with. Every week, I add water to the substrate to keep it from drying out and this does a good job of keeping the humidity up. I also spray down the enclosure once or twice a day, depending on how much time I have.

Could the humidity levels be better? Yes. Right now they are at 60% and it has been a week since I added water to the substrate, gotta do that today :)
 
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