'Air Bubbles' On Tortoise Neck

DylanRose

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Apr 24, 2021
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Hi this is my first time on the site, and I am extremely worried about my Red Footed Tortoise. She has had these bumps on her neck or skin area which are squishy and seem to be getting bigger. She has also been scratched by my other tortoise in the enclosure today which has never happened even though they have been kept together for a couple of years now. I am more worried about these 'lumps'. Does anyone have any idea as to what they might be? Please help IMG_3891.jpeg FullSizeRender.jpeg
 

harrythetortoise

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Virginia
Hi this is my first time on the site, and I am extremely worried about my Red Footed Tortoise. She has had these bumps on her neck or skin area which are squishy and seem to be getting bigger. She has also been scratched by my other tortoise in the enclosure today which has never happened even though they have been kept together for a couple of years now. I am more worried about these 'lumps'. Does anyone have any idea as to what they might be? Please help View attachment 323823 View attachment 323822
Where was she scratched by the other tortoise? Around the neck?
If so, she could be having a secondary infection and abscess from the wounds caused by the scratches.
 

DylanRose

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Where was she scratched by the other tortoise? Around the neck?
If so, she could be having a secondary infection and abscess from the wounds caused by the scratches.
Thank you so much for the reptile. The Scratch is alongside the right side of her mouth. However, this 'air bubble' has been here for a while and she has always had normal behavior with it, so I always figured it was nothing bad. But after getting this scratch it has grew and now I am worried. What is an abscess? And what does it look/feel like on a tortoise because I have read about them and have not found anything that looks like what she has. Thanks
 

harrythetortoise

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Thank you so much for the reptile. The Scratch is alongside the right side of her mouth. However, this 'air bubble' has been here for a while and she has always had normal behavior with it, so I always figured it was nothing bad. But after getting this scratch it has grew and now I am worried. What is an abscess? And what does it look/feel like on a tortoise because I have read about them and have not found anything that looks like what she has. Thanks
An abscess is basically filled with pus, it is the body's response to infection that triggers certain immune cells to produce heat and swelling. However, it is interesting that the scratch was next to the mouth and the swelling is more on the neck area... the other thing I could think of is some sort of an edema from renal issues. I would take her to the vet for an exam, if anything.
 

ZenHerper

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Tortoises should never be kept in pairs, especially in small indoor habitats. These animals should be separated into their own habitats right away.

A dominant tortoise will also bite the neck of the animal it is trying to scare away. If the bite was more of a yank, then the skin around the neck and shoulder may have been pulled away from the muscle underneath. This type of injury would be squishy (with leaked lymph fluid filling it), not firm (like a pus pocket would be).

You need to treat the aggression as an emergency...both animals are under a great deal of stress, which can be fatal in time to either/both.
 

DylanRose

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Tortoises should never be kept in pairs, especially in small indoor habitats. These animals should be separated into their own habitats right away.

A dominant tortoise will also bite the neck of the animal it is trying to scare away. If the bite was more of a yank, then the skin around the neck and shoulder may have been pulled away from the muscle underneath. This type of injury would be squishy (with leaked lymph fluid filling it), not firm (like a pus pocket would be).

You need to treat the aggression as an emergency...both animals are under a great deal of stress, which can be fatal in time to either/both.
Right. Although, their habitat is pretty large and they are both females so I never saw the harm in letting them sleep in their habitat together. They are also normally not kept in the tank together for long periods of time because I give them a lot of outdoor time. But I guess accidents happen and I will keep them separate unless they are in a large area together and being watched. Thank you for your help I will look into it and I will bring her to the vet.
 

TuckerDucker

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Jul 15, 2018
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87
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Missouri
Hi this is my first time on the site, and I am extremely worried about my Red Footed Tortoise. She has had these bumps on her neck or skin area which are squishy and seem to be getting bigger. She has also been scratched by my other tortoise in the enclosure today which has never happened even though they have been kept together for a couple of years now. I am more worried about these 'lumps'. Does anyone have any idea as to what they might be? Please help View attachment 323823 View attachment 323822
My tortoise has the same issue right now. How's your guy doing now? Did you ever figure out what it was?
 

maggie3fan

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Jun 30, 2018
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Right. Although, their habitat is pretty large and they are both females so I never saw the harm in letting them sleep in their habitat together. They are also normally not kept in the tank together for long periods of time because I give them a lot of outdoor time. But I guess accidents happen and I will keep them separate unless they are in a large area together and being watched. Thank you for your help I will look into it and I will bring her to the vet.
Hi and welcome...do you have the equipment and knowledge to suck out some of the fluid? I've been in tortoises for quite a while, and this is new to me. It doesn't present like an abscess, and you say the tort doesn't even feel it? I wonder if it smells. I'd drain it and dab it with peroxide but that is me and I am NOT a Vet, I just have had tortoises for a while, and I do that kind of stuff myself.
Honestly, the "harm" in allowing them to sleep together very well could be what you have now. By nature tortoises are solitary creatures, and over the years we (TFO) have discovered that what we humans think is a 'buddy' behavior, sleeping close together, eating together, is actually bullying, I guarantee you, without seeing their habitat that it's too small for 2 adult or sub-adult female Redfoots. What you are reading is probably not what you've been told, or experienced, right now you are kinda feeling like "Hey you guys back off"! But please hang around and keep an open mind. We have breeders, Veterinarians, and hobbyists and just experienced people here for a lotta years finding out new things and seeing our tortoises benefit from all the experience and compassionate people here.
We have some pretty awesome keepers of Redfooted tortoises, wait until you meet them...:)
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