Baby Burmese Stars Growing Smooth.

Markw84

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Spending over 5 decades trying to figure out pyramiding, it is such a pleasure now to see how smooth we can grow tortoises. Especially ones known for being more prone to pyramiding. I have spent countless hours watching baby tortoises grow and waiting for that tell-tale dip to start to form in the seam between scutes. Growing smooth sulcatas and leopards has been fun, but I was eager to see how the Burmese Stars would grow.

I have ended up believing in plant cover for natural hides. Plenty of plants. My experiments showed that under the fronds of plants, the humidity remains at virtually 100%. And I believe tortoise babies are "programmed" to look for and stay hidden in plant cover. In my enclosure, that is where they naturally go from the first minutes I put them in.

So far, with the oldest in this picture almost 8 weeks old, I am excited about the results. I have left this image at full resolution, so you can really zoom in and see how they are growing. Not only perfectly smooth, but very fast. They double their hatch weight in right about 5 weeks.



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Here's a side view of #9 as well:

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Here's a view inside their enclosure this morning to see how they like to stay hidden:

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I am keeping back several to continue growth records. I also have very complete incubation stats and am comparing diapause methods for TSD results as well. I am now starting to sell some of them as well. If interested, please PM me.
 

Tom

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The ones I initially bought and the ones I hatched were all perfect for about 6 months. Only then did I start to see a hint of pyramiding on a few of them. I look forward to your long term results. I want to see if your plants make the difference or not.
 

PA2019

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Man it's a literal jungle in there. Have you considered placing a hide in the enclosure to see if the hatchlings have a clear preference? It would be interesting to see if there are any hatchlings that preferentially use the hide versus the plants, and if they develop more pyramiding over time in comparison to a plant-loving clutch-mate.
 

Markw84

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The ones I initially bought and the ones I hatched were all perfect for about 6 months. Only then did I start to see a hint of pyramiding on a few of them. I look forward to your long term results. I want to see if your plants make the difference or not.
Yes, I am also very interested in the second half of their first year - when the bone seems to be more ossified in the upper shell. That seems to be a time when growth can begin pyramiding more easily. However, the extremely smooth start is the first step. I remember so well that first fold developing so quickly the old, "dry" way.
 
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g4mobile

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I am able to keep my enclosure at or near 80% humidity, but don't have any live plants. My Burmese Star is now 1 y/o and does have slight bumps, but nothing I'm worried about. This started at the 7 month mark. I may try adding live plants.
 
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Tortokura

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Hi ....do you use natural lights..? Or uvb lights for your Burmese...? By the way they are very cute little tortoises.
 

Markw84

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Hi ....do you use natural lights..? Or uvb lights for your Burmese...? By the way they are very cute little tortoises.
I use a T5 ho UVB fluorescent for UVB exposure. I have LEDs for ambient light and an incandescent low wattage flood for basking heat. I really limit the amount of natural sunlight they get. I do not believe that young tortoises expose themselves to full sunlight very much at all naturally. They remain hidden and get mostly filtered and reflected UVB. The direct rays from sunlight is too harsh for them.
 

Tortokura

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Thank you for your information. I give mine a bit of sunlight but in most of the day I put them indoors with uvb reptile light.
 

Adelia

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Beautiful babies! For the plants how long do you need to have them repotted in organic soil for before you can introduce them to the enclosure? Do you notice the babies eating the plants at all or just using them for hides?
 

Markw84

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Beautiful babies! For the plants how long do you need to have them repotted in organic soil for before you can introduce them to the enclosure? Do you notice the babies eating the plants at all or just using them for hides?
I really haven't bought new plants recently. All mine are from other enclosures and cutting I take from them. Once you get some started, you will have as much as you want. I even keep an empty enclosure full of extra plants. My stars do nibble on the pothos especially, but not enough to outpace the rate at which the pothos grows. It is taking over the enclosure, even with 2-3 month old stars in it!

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Westb59

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I really haven't bought new plants recently. All mine are from other enclosures and cutting I take from them. Once you get some started, you will have as much as you want. I even keep an empty enclosure full of extra plants. My stars do nibble on the pothos especially, but not enough to outpace the rate at which the pothos grows. It is taking over the enclosure, even with 2-3 month old stars in it!

View attachment 273096
What plants do you have in the enclosure? Are they all in the substrate or some in pots? What kind of substrate are you using?
 

Yvonne G

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It's been a while, @Markw84 . We're ready to see if they started pyramiding at the 6 month mark.
 

Markw84

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It's been a while, @Markw84 . We're ready to see if they started pyramiding at the 6 month mark.
I'll have to take some closeups to really see what's going on. I am happy with how they are growing. Some are unbelieveably smooth - totally round like a ball without a hint of a dip or valley at any seam. There are a few that are showing some very minor bumpiness now, but still quite smooth. SO, so far doing well. I am seeing enough to see that some still do have a tendency, no matter how small, to start a bit of pyramiding. I am working on a few theories to see if it can be totally eliminated. I made a change 6 weeks ago that seems promising.

IN the meantime, here's a picture from yesterday evening while some were eating to give you and idea how they look now. The largest is 200g. and 9 months old now. I have held back 15 for now to see how they grow. The are between 100g - 200g.

IMG_1105.jpg
 

g4mobile

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I'll have to take some closeups to really see what's going on. I am happy with how they are growing. Some are unbelieveably smooth - totally round like a ball without a hint of a dip or valley at any seam. There are a few that are showing some very minor bumpiness now, but still quite smooth. SO, so far doing well. I am seeing enough to see that some still do have a tendency, no matter how small, to start a bit of pyramiding. I am working on a few theories to see if it can be totally eliminated. I made a change 6 weeks ago that seems promising.

IN the meantime, here's a picture from yesterday evening while some were eating to give you and idea how they look now. The largest is 200g. and 9 months old now. I have held back 15 for now to see how they grow. The are between 100g - 200g.

View attachment 283723
Do you think there is any relation between male or female regarding the tendency to pyramid? Normally, I wouldn't think so, but I've read owner reports that females are more prone to pyramiding in stars.
 

mrnewberry

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I'll have to take some closeups to really see what's going on. I am happy with how they are growing. Some are unbelieveably smooth - totally round like a ball without a hint of a dip or valley at any seam. There are a few that are showing some very minor bumpiness now, but still quite smooth. SO, so far doing well. I am seeing enough to see that some still do have a tendency, no matter how small, to start a bit of pyramiding. I am working on a few theories to see if it can be totally eliminated. I made a change 6 weeks ago that seems promising.

IN the meantime, here's a picture from yesterday evening while some were eating to give you and idea how they look now. The largest is 200g. and 9 months old now. I have held back 15 for now to see how they grow. The are between 100g - 200g.

View attachment 283723
Looking Good!
 

Markw84

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Do you think there is any relation between male or female regarding the tendency to pyramid? Normally, I wouldn't think so, but I've read owner reports that females are more prone to pyramiding in stars.
My experience so far is that I've seen no difference in that regard. I've seen plenty of males and females pyramiding. Females do grow considerably larger, so perhaps the pyramiding is more pronounced looking when the tortoise is larger.
 

Tom

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Do you think there is any relation between male or female regarding the tendency to pyramid? Normally, I wouldn't think so, but I've read owner reports that females are more prone to pyramiding in stars.
My males pyramided more than my females.
 
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