Angulate tortoise

SonjaAngulate

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Hi everyone. I have had damaged and rescued indigenous tortoises (mostly angulates and 3 leopards/mountain tortoises) for many years and I must say that I do not support the trade in reptiles. Most of our tortoise species in South Africa are endangered to due loss of habitation and them being killed on roads. We need permits to keep them in a captive environment and people who keep them in terrariums or other unsuitable places would never get permits. Here you need a large outdoor sunny area with plants, lawn, shelter, sandy soil, water to drink and to bathe, suitable foods and a safe fence. You must remember that even though they may be a cute pet to you, they are living beings and to take them out of a safe natural environment in a climate that they are used to and belong in, and then put them in a cage/terrarium is cruel. Worse than solitary confinement in a jail.
Now my problem is that my latest road rescue called Boomerang got out of my garden, where - I have no idea as it is completely fenced off - she must have used those sharp littlle nails to clamber over things, and the neighbours lab mauled her. She is hurt quite badly with bleeding shell and deep puncture wound under her belly. She may have lost one front leg as it is either pulled in deeply or chewed off. But not bleeding. Her shell is cracked too (under). I am not sure whether she will survive but she has made it through 2 nights. During the day she is slathered with antiseptic cream and I bathe her twice a day in water with antiseptic/antibacterial in as well as clean water. This is also helpful to ward off ants and flies. Ants can kill, I have seen them kill a damaged adult angulate once, and babies they will overwhelm easily. From late afternoon to next morning she is inside the house on a towel to be kept warm and dry. Anything else I can do? I am considering some form of 'patching up' under her carapace but she must heal a bit first to ensure that no infection is under it. We are away from civilisation so a vet is out of the question at the moment. Thanks and sorry about the sermon but I feel the need to share my views on wild animals in the pet trade.
 

Tidgy's Dad

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Hello Sonja and welcome to Tortoise Forum.
Your opinion is interesting in that you say the local tortoises are endangered, yet don't want people to keep them as pets.
Well many of this forums members operate captive breeding programs and some are active in protecting tortoise and turtles natural habitats. Through the advice given on this forum, tort owners are given information on how to better keep their animals and the minimum size enclosures necessary. Small cages or little terrariums are mostly frowned upon.
Many members tortoises, including mine, are rescues and we do the best we can to ensure they have a happy life. It is often not possible or safe to reintroduce them to the wild.
You say about permits, which is a good idea, and many countries or states operate similar laws on at least some species and the rules governing the trade are often strict, though could be improved, perhaps. Yet even you have had an accident occur, despite your 'safe fence'.
Can you keep the poor girl indoors to keep the insects away?
Small cracks can be bound with adhesive tape until natural repair occurs. Use acetone first so the tape sticks better, but what you have here sounds more serious and may need repair with medical grade plastics, epoxy cement and fibreglass mesh. But only medical grade materials are suitable and the tortoise will probably need to be anesthetized. Make sure the wounds can breath. I am also very worried about that leg.
I know you said it was out of the question, but a qualified herp vet is the only possible safe solution, in my opinion.
When they wake up, I expect someone else may have some options.
Good luck, I really hope the little fella makes it.
 

SonjaAngulate

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Hello Sonja and welcome to Tortoise Forum.
Your opinion is interesting in that you say the local tortoises are endangered, yet don't want people to keep them as pets.
Well many of this forums members operate captive breeding programs and some are active in protecting tortoise and turtles natural habitats. Through the advice given on this forum, tort owners are given information on how to better keep their animals and the minimum size enclosures necessary. Small cages or little terrariums are mostly frowned upon.
Many members tortoises, including mine, are rescues and we do the best we can to ensure they have a happy life. It is often not possible or safe to reintroduce them to the wild.
You say about permits, which is a good idea, and many countries or states operate similar laws on at least some species and the rules governing the trade are often strict, though could be improved, perhaps. Yet even you have had an accident occur, despite your 'safe fence'.
Can you keep the poor girl indoors to keep the insects away?
Small cracks can be bound with adhesive tape until natural repair occurs. Use acetone first so the tape sticks better, but what you have here sounds more serious and may need repair with medical grade plastics, epoxy cement and fibreglass mesh. But only medical grade materials are suitable and the tortoise will probably need to be anesthetized. Make sure the wounds can breath. I am also very worried about that leg.
I know you said it was out of the question, but a qualified herp vet is the only possible safe solution, in my opinion.
When they wake up, I expect someone else may have some options.
Good luck, I really hope the little fella makes it.
Hi Adam
 

Yvonne G

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Hi Sonja, and welcome to the Forum!

Your injured tortoise will need antibiotics to counteract any infection that may occur because of the puncture wounds. Keep the tortoise warm and quiet, and hope for the best. Leave the wounds open to dry out, unless you can see organs, then you should keep it closed to protect the organs.
 

SonjaAngulate

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I am very big on conservation but I look at healthy individuals being taken out of nature as anti conservation. It just depletes their numbers in nature and captive breeding, well I guess there are some captive breeding programmes which are good, but captive breeding for the pet trade specifically I can't see as doing greater good for the species. These poor tortoises are now kept in very unnatural conditions in countries they don't occur in naturally, susceptible to new diseases and stuff just for the entertainment of people? It is like Seaworld catching wild dolphins for entertainment and monetary gain. Same with other exotic pets, birds etc.
Anyway, rescues yes, we have to help where we can and there is nothing wrong with that. If accidents happen while you were being diligent like in my case, it is a terrible thing but guess its just life. Murphys law. I keep her in the sun during the day for the wounds to dry naturally, she has disinfectant on too. I did put insect repellent on the healthy, undamaged parts of her shell and check on her constantly. As I said I put her inside for the night, I have just done so as it is 16:22 here and getting cooler. The days are hot and she has shade if she prefers. I see it doing wonders for her as she is eating only when in the sun. For the night I have bandaged her after putting on more ointment with a slight topical anaesthetic. Doing the best I can! I include some pics. 20150422_121410.jpg 20150422_154135.jpg
 

Tidgy's Dad

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I agree with what you say, to some extent at least.
As you know, they can be tough little critters.
Thanks for the pics and I am a little more optimistic.
Wishing you and the little chap all the very best.
Adam..
 

tortadise

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Welcome. Doesn't look too terrible. Those should heal fine with some constant cleaning and TLC. I'd remove the bandaging actually to eliminate stress on the animal. Especially the bandages that kinda cover the head. Antibiotic ointment (petroleum based) is best for this kind of wound. Can we see a photo of the leg?
 

SonjaAngulate

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Apr 22, 2015
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Hi Sonja, and welcome to the Forum!

Your injured tortoise will need antibiotics to counteract any infection that may occur because of the puncture wounds. Keep the tortoise warm and quiet, and hope for the best. Leave the wounds open to dry out, unless you can see organs, then you should keep it closed to protect the organs.
 

SonjaAngulate

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Welcome. Doesn't look too terrible. Those should heal fine with some constant cleaning and TLC. I'd remove the bandaging actually to eliminate stress on the animal. Especially the bandages that kinda cover the head. Antibiotic ointment (petroleum based) is best for this kind of wound. Can we see a photo of the leg?
Hi Kelly, I will take a pic of her leg tomorrow morning as she is now sleeping and I dont want to disturb her. The bandages may look weird but it only covers the sharp and bleeding bits of her shell close to her head, as well as the crack underneath her belly so that she does not hurt herself or get it caught in her bedding. During the day I take it off for her to bask in the sun and let it heal and dry naturally. I guess it is a bit ott but I felt it neccessary as those pointy bits look dangerous. Thanks. Ps. My dream is to establish a tortoise sanctuary in South Africa, I see you work at one. Grand!
 

tortadise

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Hi Kelly, I will take a pic of her leg tomorrow morning as she is now sleeping and I dont want to disturb her. The bandages may look weird but it only covers the sharp and bleeding bits of her shell close to her head, as well as the crack underneath her belly so that she does not hurt herself or get it caught in her bedding. During the day I take it off for her to bask in the sun and let it heal and dry naturally. I guess it is a bit ott but I felt it neccessary as those pointy bits look dangerous. Thanks. Ps. My dream is to establish a tortoise sanctuary in South Africa, I see you work at one. Grand!
Fantastical the only reason I'd say remove them is the proud flesh and keratin layer needs to repair. If removing the tape each time to clean and disinfect this may remove new layers of good new growth. A gauze pad perhaps may be a good option to keeps ants/flies out. But here soon it's turning winter and she should come inside anyways. Where abouts in RSA are you? I know some people down there you can begin communicating with in homing some confiscated animals.
 

Grandpa Turtle 144

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Hello Sonja welcome to the TFO from AZ . I know you won't want to hear this but it is true that the dollar motivates , hamsters started out with one pair that was found in the wild , but now they are all over the world , RES turtle is far from extinction in both cases people wanted them now they are all over ! So I agree people do hurt and kill torts . But money does motivate ! God bless you and good luck with the tort !
 

pam

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Welcome How is your tortoise doing?
 
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