Hard water buildup on Eastern Box shell, even with distilled water?

WisconsinTortoise

New Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2017
Messages
1
Location (City and/or State)
Wisconsin
Hello,

I have a male Eastern Box Turtle. I am unsure of its age, but it is at least 30 years old. He lived with my parents in Michigan until about a year and a half ago when they brought him to me in Wisconsin to take care of him. When I got him his shell appeared very dull, not at all vibrant, and he seemed to have a lot of buildup on it. I read online that it's best to use soft water to avoid buildup and let him grow a new shell (do tortoises really shed their shells?) instead of trying to scrape the stuff off and maybe hurting him. The problem is, for the past year or so I have been giving him only distilled water from the grocery store in his water dish, but there is no difference in the shell's appearance. It doesn't seem to be making him better.

I must be doing something wrong, or I don't understand how tortoises grow their shells. Should I be seeing a change? Is distilled water ok to use, or is there something else I can do to help him? Do I need to take him to a vet?

Thank you for your help.
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
88,991
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
Hi, and welcome!

I've heard that white vinegar will soften hard water build up, and then you can scrub it off with a soft bristle brush. You can also try rubbing the shell with mineral oil and polishing off the excess with an absorbent cloth
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,396
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
A 30+ year old box turtle is going to show some wear and tear and have a weathered looking shell. They do not shed. Older tortoises tend to have somewhat of a "dull" appearance. Can we see a pic?

Distilled water is fine for rinsing the turtle and spraying the enclosure to prevent hard water stains, but the turtle needs regular water for drinking and soaking. They need the minerals in regular water. I use collected rain water that I filter and store for spraying the carapaces of my tortoises.
 

Redfool

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2017
Messages
380
Location (City and/or State)
Central Florida
Just like a thirty year old car your boxie needs needs (but you can't do it) a new paint job. Mineral oil or Vitashell rub and buff would be your best bet.
 
TortoiseSupply.com

New Posts

Top