Concerned (pyramiding?)

Sarah_sinc

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I'd like some help if possible. I have an almost 2 year old Herman and when i was drying him off after bathing I noticed there seems to be some raising here? Gals almost?
Any advice I'd greatly appreciate!
Many thanks
Sarah

IMG_20200601_133505_1.jpg IMG_20200601_133446.jpg
 

KronksMom

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Yea, he's definitely pyramiding. Pretty severely for a hermann's. There's no way to change what's already happened, but you should correct what is wrong so that it doesn't get any worse.
What's his enclosure look like? Can you post pics?
What kind of substrate are you using?
What kind of lights and heat?
What are your 4 temps, warm side, cool side, basking spot and night time.
What is your humidity level? Pyramiding is primarily caused by young tortoises being kept too dry. But while you're fixing that, why not see if there's any other ways you could make your little guy's life more comfortable? If you're anything like me, you probably got terrible advice from the pet store people and just don't know any better. This place is where I learned all the correct ways to take care of my little monster.
 

Sarah_sinc

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Thank you so much for your reply. Is it life threatening or limiting? I'm so so concerned.
I'll go and take a photo immediately of the enclosure
 

Sarah_sinc

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He has a 6ft vivarium. We had the vivarium rather than a tort table due to a dog and cat also living at home.
Cold end it's 23
Warm side 31
Basking 35
Night he goes to the house and it's currently 26/27 in there
He has a range of fresh green foods with the occasional fruit he loves cucumber and dandelion leaves.
We don't have much weeds around the garden and I'm a little concerned I'd feed him.the wrong thing. He goes out daily in the sun but with shade available too.
We bath him daily now
 

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KronksMom

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No, pyramiding is more a cosmetic concern. But it does let you know that something in your husbandry is not quite right. So let's just take a look at everything and see what changed could make him happier.
Are either of those lights the coiled type? Those kind are known to hurt tort eyes and shouldn't be used. Your temps seem pretty good, but what kind of substrate is that? Could he dig down into that if he wanted?
 

Sarah_sinc

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I can't tell you how much I appreciate your help and valuable advice. I've attached as many photos as I can to show exactly what is in there. The light I can't be 100% sure but I know I went for a very expensive light 😂
He could dig but not far as it's not that deep perhaps I should add two bags of this? What do you think?
I absolutely adore him and I feel I've completely let him down by being an awful owner.
 

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Sarah_sinc

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Also I have read that you can spray water into the soil shall I be doing that as I don't currently
 

Sarah_sinc

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I also forgot to mention the lights come on at 7am and go off at 9.30 via a timer and there is a sensor to the side of the basking area that switches it off when it gets to 32
 

KronksMom

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I would recommend replacing the substrate. Anything that says the tort should eat it is a bad idea. Just asking for an impaction. Fine grade fir bark or orchid bark (they're the same thing), seem to work best. It's sold in pet stores as reptibark, but you can find it a lot cheaper at hardware stores. Or some people like coconut fiber, I wasn't a fan. You really want something that he can dig into though. The reason is, burrowing is a natural tortoise behavior. They do it to seek cover for safety, but also to create better microclimates for themselves. Once you have a better substrate, you don't just want to spray it down, actually pour water in there and mix it all around so that it all stays a bit damp. Then, when he burrows down (give him a good 4-6 inches) he'll be giving himself a little spa treatment. That will help keep your over all humidity levels much higher than any amount of spraying ever could.
 

KronksMom

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Your basking light should never switch off. How weird would it be if the sun suddenly went off? If it's too hot with it on all day, try raising the light a little bit.
 

Sarah_sinc

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Thank you so so much such valuable advice!. The vet was the one who suggested getting the timer as he said it could over heat? It comes back on when it dips in temp also.
I tried the bark style but he hated it he kept twisting his feet in it if that makes sense and falling slightly to the side! That worried me slightly that he could injure himself (he's very clumsy). Also tried sand but I read that isn't great either. he's never eaten it and I've never noticed that's what it said on the pack! Ill have a look at what others are available do you have any photos or links to some? I'll get two as it's a massive Viv that needs a fair bit of filling! He's currently loving life wondering around his outside pen! I bath him before we go outside in the heat and after is that also ok?
Again I really can't thank you enough. I'm beyond worried
 

KronksMom

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Don't worry. Like I said pyramiding is really just cosmetic. It just lets you know that he was raised too dry. If you tried bark before, maybe you would like cocofiber. It comes in bricks that you rehydrate to get it to break up, then you can put it in his viv. Coconut fiber substrate is what I'm talking about. It's messy, but he's a tortoise, he doesn't care about that. After you get it all in there, use your hand to pack it down. That will help keep the mess down somewhat. When we used this stuff, we used a big wooden kitchen spoon as "Kronk's Spoon" and would just pour about a liter of water into his enclosure every 2 or 3 days and stir the whole thing up, then pat everything back down flat. Then he would enjoy ruining all our hard work as quickly as possible. Once the whole top of it seemed dry, I'd do it again.
 

Sarah_sinc

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Just ordered two of those for delivery tomorrow! Will change it asap and do exactly what you suggested! I'm sure he will love it!
Will the shell eventually even out somewhat as he grows? Or will it get alot worse as damage has already happened
 

KronksMom

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What's happened can't be changed. New growth will hopefully be smoother, but what's there will stay as is. Don't worry though, he doesn't care what he looks like. I like to rub Kronk in between his butt scutes, he likes to fall asleep on my chest while I do that. Your guy just has a little more to rub :)
 

Sarah_sinc

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Aw kronk is lovely! I adore Lord voldetort he's literally spoilt! Got him that new house as a great and a tortoise table to take him away with us (when covid has gone)!
 

KronksMom

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I know what you mean! I wish we could have an outside area for Kronk, but since we live in an apartment, he just has his castle inside. We take him outside when the weather permits and my husband and/or I have time. We have a leash for him, and we just hook it to a couple rubber bands. He loves to go exploring, and this way I don't have to stress about taking my eye off him for a second and him disappearing! Lord Voldetort is such a cute name!
 

Sarah_sinc

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Aw we have a harness for him too! He's out all the time with us ! We have recently bought a rabbit run for him to have the run of the garden but safe from wildlife and our cat!
 

KronksMom

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Our cat thinks she's our tortoise's body guard, lol. Not that I let them hang out alone together, but I assumed he would need to be protected from her, and that's not how it's turned out. You know how cats are. Even if she was just investigating, I expected her to do so in a rough way. You know, that whole "let me see what you are...with my FIST??" attitude. But strangely, from the moment we brought him home, she hasn't had that predatory air at all. She just likes to sit on the TV stand and watch him in his house. She sleeps directly under where he sleeps. And if he comes out, she comes and sits on the couch and just watches him. It's so weird. I think she thinks he belongs to her. She doesn't rub on him though. Just likes to be close and watch. Never with any tension in her body. Never with the boxing fists that she uses on the dog.
 

MissTurtleGurl

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Your basking light should never switch off. How weird would it be if the sun suddenly went off? If it's too hot with it on all day, try raising the light a little bit.
The sun “turns off” every night. It is natural to turn off the light at night to simulate a day’s cycle. I’m am fairly @Sarah_sinc meant 9:30pm which is more than enough daylight.
 

Tom

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The sun “turns off” every night. It is natural to turn off the light at night to simulate a day’s cycle. I’m am fairly @Sarah_sinc meant 9:30pm which is more than enough daylight.
She was talking about the thermostat turning the basking light on and off when the enclosure gets too hot. I can see how the wording might be confusing. I had the same thought you did at first.

The solution is to use a lower wattage bulb.

@Sarah_sinc The MVB bulb you are using for basking causes pyramiding. The cfl type UV bulb you are using is ineffective as a UV source, and those sometimes burn their eyes. You'll need to change the bulb situation around, and change your substrate to stop the pyramiding. The vivarium part is good. Its very difficult to maintain the correct conditions in the typical tortoise table. You should also switch to a better water bowl, and thermometer.


There are four elements to heating and lighting:
1. Basking lamp. I recommend a low wattage flood bulb set on a timer and over to one side. Adjust the wattage or bulb height to get the correct temperature of 95-100 directly under it. This should be on a timer for about 12 hours a day.
2. Ambient light. I like LEDs for this. You can use strips or screw in type LED bulbs. Choose LEDs in the 5000-6500K color range. The 2500K ones look too yellowish. This can run on the same timer as the basking bulb.
3. Ambient heat, if needed. CHE or RHP on a thermostat should cover this. Use more than one, if needed.
4. UV. If you can get your baby outside in a safe outdoor enclosure a couple of times a week for most of the year, you don't need indoor UV. If you want it anyway, get one of the HO types. I'd do this on about half of the enclosure. In your 6 footer, I'd get the 22" HO tube and mount it over to one side. I'd run it for 3-4 hours mid day. When used in this way, I like to get a UV index reading from a Solarmeter 6.5 of around 5-7. This simulates the mid day UV spike that happens every day outside.
 

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