Health concerns about my 8 month old marginated tortoise

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JennaBo

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Hi everyone, my name's Jenna and I live in the UK. I'm a beginner and I've been looking on this site for advice for a while now and thought I'd join and start a thread asking your advice. If you could possibly correct any information I was given and give me advice that I should definitely take on board I'd be so grateful.




This is Zeus, I got him at the beginning of September last year and he was born on 1st May. He's very active, eats plenty and I bathe him every day in lukewarm water for about ten minutes. There was a bit of an issue as I'd read up on everything I thought I could, and according to the people at the tortoise shop they said that a calcium/D3 supplement substitutes a UV-B bulb, but I can use it alongside the supplement also. I thought he'd gotten MBD as his plastron is fairly bouncy however they did say that, due to his age, it will be. They suggested I get cuttlefish bone and add it to his enclosure, which I have done. The temperature of his basking spot is around 95-100 F and he has a UV-B bulb as well.

Ever since I found issues that may be nothing, but I've been paranoid as I had been feeding him a fair amount of iceburg lettuce for ust over a month with dandelion leaves and flowers mainly, however the lettuce did make up a large part of his diet, with the added supplement. Now I've been buying salad bags with 2.5% fibre and 1.5% protein ,which he's been eating eagerly. I am concerned with the protein however, so recommended foods are welcome. I have ordered tortoise weed seed mix which I now have to wait for it to grow before he can eat that. It's been fairly difficult as England is very cold and we don't have much of any weeds and such outside at this time of year. But I want to do everything I can.

These are some of pictures of his shell I've taken today, where I am concerned. Please click on them for a bigger photo so you can see clearly :)



This is a picture of what seem like ulcers - the yellow colour is due to glare from the light, it is slightly orange. My camera highlighted what I'm concerned about, they aren't as vivid as that at all. Also should I be concerned about that dinted line? It's been there since I got him.



It almost seems like the parts of his shell are coming apart, is this natural growth?



Again the picture is more vivid than in person. Again it seems almost like a crack along the plastron. And should I be concerned about the orange tint?


I feel I should stress that I haven't a clue whether these are signs of ill-keeping or not as there are not many picture references to what a tortoise should look like around his age. Contradicting these also are his apparently high energy rates as he's always on the move climbing what he can and always looking around for food sources and frequently returning to bask. I have yet to see him chew on his cuttlefish bone and he seems to highly dislike dark places as he tends to walk around shelters instead of going inside (he eventually walked through a darkened tunnel like structure and occasionally goes through it now). He also walks around the edge of his enclosure which I found was a sign of boredom, so I let him out to walk around the room sometimes (always supervised). He isn't stressed with human contact, as I only take him out involutarily for a bath, otherwise I place my hand in and he walks onto it if he wants to come out which he does about 85% of the time. He seems to recognise my scent as he smells me before walking onto my hand and tends to snuggle into my inner elbow after an exploration (shortly after I put him back in his enclosure as I take this as a sign he's cold, however he wakes up almost straight away, basks for a minute or so and is off wandering again).

Please let me know anything you can, I don't want to risk his health. If there's nothing wrong as far as you can see then please let me know as this would be great news also :) Thanks very much!
 

Yvonne G

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Hi Jenna:

I don't keep marginated tortoises, but I wanted to say, Welcome to the Tortoise Forum!!
 

bubbles01

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Hi Jenna - Ditto Yvonne's post! I'm sure one of the Marginated keepers will be along to help you soon.

Helen x
 

JennaBo

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Thanks very much you guys! Im glad to be here :) hope someone can reply soon, I'm very worried! :(
 

stells2

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Hi Jenna...

I also don't keep Marginated tortoises... but these questions are more about basic tortoise care rather than species specific so i am sure i can help you out...

Don't worry about the bumps on the plastron they will grow out and be less noticible in time... the splitting is also normal and isn't splitting its normal growth as are the orange lines on the plastron...

It sounds like you are doing a good job... but i would decrease your temps to around 90-92 f... this could be some of the reason why your tortoise is spending alot of time on the outside edges of the table... as he is to hot...

Foodstuffs... florette crispy salad... winter pansies... some weeds are available... such as Dandelion... Plantain... jack by the hedge... sowthistle... even though it is cold... you can also feed him on a good formulated diet... there are members on a UK forum that i help run selling exotic leafeater pellets these are the best ones you can get in the UK... (link to the forum is in my profile here unless it has been removed... if so PM me and i will send you a link..). and also contain D3... i would feed 2 times per week... without suppliments on the pellets... the other days feeding the plants/weeds/salad with suppliments... can i also ask what kind of UV bulb you are using... i.e is it a all in one heat/UV or is it a seperate basking spot and a UV tube...

Hope that helps some and look forward to hearing from you further...
 

JennaBo

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stells2 said:
Hi Jenna...

I also don't keep Marginated tortoises... but these questions are more about basic tortoise care rather than species specific so i am sure i can help you out...

Don't worry about the bumps on the plastron they will grow out and be less noticible in time... the splitting is also normal and isn't splitting its normal growth as are the orange lines on the plastron...

It sounds like you are doing a good job... but i would decrease your temps to around 90-92 f... this could be some of the reason why your tortoise is spending alot of time on the outside edges of the table... as he is to hot...

Foodstuffs... florette crispy salad... winter pansies... some weeds are available... such as Dandelion... Plantain... jack by the hedge... sowthistle... even though it is cold... you can also feed him on a good formulated diet... there are members on a UK forum that i help run selling exotic leafeater pellets these are the best ones you can get in the UK... (link to the forum is in my profile here unless it has been removed... if so PM me and i will send you a link..). and also contain D3... i would feed 2 times per week... without suppliments on the pellets... the other days feeding the plants/weeds/salad with suppliments... can i also ask what kind of UV bulb you are using... i.e is it a all in one heat/UV or is it a seperate basking spot and a UV tube...

Hope that helps some and look forward to hearing from you further...

Thanks very much :) It's relaxed me somewhat haha. I'm using a 15w UVA/UVB bulb seperate to the heat light. The reason I bought it is because the people who sold it seemed to have a good reputation and they are also the ones who sold me the supplement I am using.
 

stells2

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Is that a strip light or a coil bulb?? What suppliment are you using?
 

JennaBo

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It's a coil bulb, the supplement is calcium + D3 by Exo Terra.
 

KQ6AR

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JennaBo

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Thanks very much I have taken all of your advice :) Just one more question: can you tell me perhaps how soon his plastron will harden? It's been a few months since now and he's been eating calcium powder in moderation which I added to the enclosure in a small bowl. He's now 9 months old and his plastron is still quite soft, but his growth is normal. Is this alright?
 

dmmj

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The shell can take awhile to harden, I would not worry about it, just provide calcium and sunshine, the time to worry is if his shell starts to go soft.
 
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