CB Chersina - Hatchling shell growth

Sterant

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There aren't many CB bowsprits in the US, so the sample set is very small but up until the baby I have pictured below, I have not seen a smooth one. The first one I raised started to grow smooth but after about 4 months, suddenly began to pyramid with no change in environment or diet. I don't use basking lamps with hatchlings and they were being raised in high humidity closed chambers with daily soaks. I suspected it was a desiccating effect from the UV bulb and the grow bulb I was using.....a Reptisun T5 HO 10.0 UVB bulb and a 6500k AgroBrite grow bulb. I had the fixture set at a height that gave me a UVI reading on a Solarmeter 6.5 of ~3.0.

I have used this same exact setup for radiata for years with perfect results. Yet another difference in this species.

I decided to raise the lights such that I was getting a UVI reading of 1.0 and then started supplementing a bit more with calcium/D3. I also packed the enclosure with fake plants such that the tortoise had to purposely seek out direct light if it wanted it. This baby is only 6 months old but the results are promising!

smooth bowsprit.jpg
 

TeamZissou

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Looks great. For reference, do you have a picture of the other one that pyramided after four months? What's the age difference between that tortoise and the one pictured?

Such a cool species. I couldn't believe the whole bit about sanding the egg.
 

Salspi

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Bowling ball smooth so far.... So you think UV bulbs can also contribute to pyramiding? Would it be advisable to lower the UVI on tortoises to 1-2 until at least a couple years old?
 

Sterant

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Looks great. For reference, do you have a picture of the other one that pyramided after four months? What's the age difference between that tortoise and the one pictured?

Such a cool species. I couldn't believe the whole bit about sanding the egg.
The tortoise in the picture below is the first one that started to pyramid after 4 months. It is nearly 2 years old now and spends summers outdoors. You can see the early pyramiding. bumpy.jpg
 

Sterant

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Bowling ball smooth so far.... So you think UV bulbs can also contribute to pyramiding? Would it be advisable to lower the UVI on tortoises to 1-2 until at least a couple years old?
I don't have enough evidence yet to definitively say the UVBulbs contribute to pyramiding, but it was the only thing I changed and so far the results are much better. We will see more as it grows. I also would not suggest reducing UVIndex.....I have used a UVI of 3 for years on radiata and its great. We would have to study this a lot more. Chersina have proven to be considerably different then the more common species we all keep. I was expecting that the differences would be limited to WC animals as most of the difficulty with this species can be contributed to bacterial and parasitic loads that exist in WC animals, but I am seeing more interesting characteristics.
 

TeamZissou

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That's a stark difference with only changing the UV lighting.

I really appreciate you sharing this and discussing it. Seeing photos of badly pyramided tortoises in books turned me off to them when I got into turtles in the early 2000's--especially all the stars and radiated tortoises. After finding this forum and reading the stuff put out by you, Tom, Mark, and others regarding pyramiding, I'm excited to expand my collection knowing that it's within my control to raise smooth tortoises. It seems like the humidity factor was the low hanging fruit (though it took Tom and others more than a decade to figure out!), and this high UVA issue, coupled with the low brightness in the enclosure relative to the sun's intensity might be the rest of the story.
 
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