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Help with pyramiding?

ajawayj

New Member
Joined
Mar 26, 2020
Messages
5
Location (City and/or State)
West Midlands
Hello,
I recently posted in another thread, on Russian tortoises, asking what was wrong with my boy Stan because there were cracks in his shell. I've been informed it's down to low Vitamin D levels (bad light, also live in UK) and poor diet, so he's displaying early pyramiding and MBD. I've been told how to treat this, and we're working on it!!

It was also pointed out that we have a Hermanns, not a Horsefield as was previously believed!

I bring this up because I was wondering about humidity. Humidity helps with reducing pyramiding and with shell growth, right? But Hermanns aren't meant to have too humid of an atmosphere. So now I'm a bit confused. At the moment we're going to change our sand/limestone/crap substrate to one of coconut coir to try and increase humidity, as well as getting a new UV lamp.

Should I not change the substrate in case the humidity is too much for Stan, or am I overthinking this? I just want him to be ok.
 

ZenHerper

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2020
Messages
242
Location (City and/or State)
New Jersey
It helps if you keep questions/discussions about an individual tort all on one thread. That way members who are online at different times can see your photos and what has already been covered.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
47,079
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Hello,
I recently posted in another thread, on Russian tortoises, asking what was wrong with my boy Stan because there were cracks in his shell. I've been informed it's down to low Vitamin D levels (bad light, also live in UK) and poor diet, so he's displaying early pyramiding and MBD. I've been told how to treat this, and we're working on it!!

It was also pointed out that we have a Hermanns, not a Horsefield as was previously believed!

I bring this up because I was wondering about humidity. Humidity helps with reducing pyramiding and with shell growth, right? But Hermanns aren't meant to have too humid of an atmosphere. So now I'm a bit confused. At the moment we're going to change our sand/limestone/crap substrate to one of coconut coir to try and increase humidity, as well as getting a new UV lamp.

Should I not change the substrate in case the humidity is too much for Stan, or am I overthinking this? I just want him to be ok.
Hermanni don't need high, tropical type monsoon humidity, like some other species, but they do need moderate humidity and this will help reduce pyramiding. For monsoon loving species we recommend 80+% all the time. An older Hermanni will be fine with 50-70%. I'd go on the higher side to help the new growth come in smoother since you already have significant pyramiding.

The old way of thinking was that since tortoises come from dry areas, we should also raise them dry in captivity. This thinking was/is flawed. Yes they come from areas where the weather stations that are out in the open, away from any cover, and 2 meters above the ground do indicate dryness for at least some of the year, that is not where tortoises hang out. They hang out down on the ground, tucked in to plant root balls or little crevices where the humidity is much higher than it is out in the open 2 meters up. Our indoor enclosures in our heated or air-conditioned homes with dry substrate and a hot basking bulb create conditions that are WAAAAAYYYY drier and much more desiccating than anything they would encounter in the wild. Damp substrate, regular spraying, humid hides, and frequent soaks help to compensate for these unnatural indoor overly dry conditions.
 
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