Indian Star Growth Rate

hatzego

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Hi, new tortoise owner here.
I have a 6 m/o Indian Star and was curious about what I should expect as far as her growth. I weighed her 6 days ago and she was 39 grams. I intend to weigh her again tomorrow. Should I expect weekly gains, or would it be closer to monthly? If she hasn’t gained much, should I be concerned?
Thanks in advance for your help!
 

Markw84

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Hi, new tortoise owner here.
I have a 6 m/o Indian Star and was curious about what I should expect as far as her growth. I weighed her 6 days ago and she was 39 grams. I intend to weigh her again tomorrow. Should I expect weekly gains, or would it be closer to monthly? If she hasn’t gained much, should I be concerned?
Thanks in advance for your help!
Wecome to the forum, Preston. You do have a great looking star tortoise that looks like it had a very good start and is growing, and smooth. I don't know if you've had a chance yet, but have you read this post yet on rasing a star tortoise?

https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/how-to-raise-a-healthy-star-tortoise.159167/

When I am working with very young, and newly acquired tortoises, I will sometimes weigh weekly looking for a trend. So much depends upon how well they ate, the time of day, when they last "pooped" and drank, that the weight can vary significantly with just these factors. An overall upward trend is what I look for. I actually record monthly weights for my records which I find give me the better picture of growth rates over time. I also weigh them at the end of their soak. That is normally after they have "gone in the bath water" and I feel I am getting a best indication of a similar state of weight to the last weighing.

Because your tortoise has the look of a well started, growing hatchling, I would want to see at least 2-3g increase the first month. It could be more, but if nothing is being gained, be sure you look carefully at how she is being housed, heat, humidity, and diet closely.

Keep us updated. Good luck on your work towards an exotic animal veterinary practice!
 

hatzego

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Joined
Dec 14, 2017
Messages
37
Location (City and/or State)
North Texas
Wecome to the forum, Preston. You do have a great looking star tortoise that looks like it had a very good start and is growing, and smooth. I don't know if you've had a chance yet, but have you read this post yet on rasing a star tortoise?

https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/how-to-raise-a-healthy-star-tortoise.159167/

When I am working with very young, and newly acquired tortoises, I will sometimes weigh weekly looking for a trend. So much depends upon how well they ate, the time of day, when they last "pooped" and drank, that the weight can vary significantly with just these factors. An overall upward trend is what I look for. I actually record monthly weights for my records which I find give me the better picture of growth rates over time. I also weigh them at the end of their soak. That is normally after they have "gone in the bath water" and I feel I am getting a best indication of a similar state of weight to the last weighing.

Because your tortoise has the look of a well started, growing hatchling, I would want to see at least 2-3g increase the first month. It could be more, but if nothing is being gained, be sure you look carefully at how she is being housed, heat, humidity, and diet closely.

Keep us updated. Good luck on your work towards an exotic animal veterinary practice!

Thank you for the reply and information. I do have one more question regarding the thread on care that you mentioned. I am somewhat limited in my options as far as housing, and an open-air enclosure is all I can do for now. Provided she is misted every 4 hours, do you think that will be sufficient? Temperatures are mostly where they need to be, the low end being 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Humidity is the one area I feel that I am lacking, so any help you can offer would be much appreciated. Thanks again!
 

hatzego

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Messages
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Location (City and/or State)
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Thank you for the reply and information. I do have one more question regarding the thread on care that you mentioned. I am somewhat limited in my options as far as housing, and an open-air enclosure is all I can do for now. Provided she is misted every 4 hours, do you think that will be sufficient? Temperatures are mostly where they need to be, the low end being 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Humidity is the one area I feel that I am lacking, so any help you can offer would be much appreciated. Thanks again!

I should add that she currently has a coconut coir substrate and is kept entirely indoors due to very cold outdoor temperatures.
 

Markw84

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Thank you for the reply and information. I do have one more question regarding the thread on care that you mentioned. I am somewhat limited in my options as far as housing, and an open-air enclosure is all I can do for now. Provided she is misted every 4 hours, do you think that will be sufficient? Temperatures are mostly where they need to be, the low end being 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Humidity is the one area I feel that I am lacking, so any help you can offer would be much appreciated. Thanks again!
I do not think that will be sufficient. Lubbock does maintain a fairly "moderate" humidity level - averaging about 50%. But that is too low for a star tortoise without seeing some pretty moderate pyramiding. But indoors is much different - and worse! With heating and air conditioning, the humidity indoors is substantially lower. Misting an enclosure lasts a few minutes. An enclosure for a young star should be kept at a min of 80°. Plus a basking area. Those things will also add even more drying to the overall conditions. It just will not work with an open enclosure. My recommendation is to find a way to cover the enclosure and trap the heat and humidity for better control of the climate in the enclosure. You will find a lot of various low-budget ideas here on the forum that can work.

No matter what you choose, keep your temperatures above 80° at all times, especially with misting and trying everything to increase humidity.

If you don't mind the pyramiding, you can raise a star in an open enclosure. It is more risky. It is more susceptible to quick changes in temperatures that brings possible RI issues. Eye irritations with dry coco substrate can become more of a possibility. The combination of temperature and dry conditions makes ensuring hydration even more critical.
 

hatzego

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Joined
Dec 14, 2017
Messages
37
Location (City and/or State)
North Texas
I do not think that will be sufficient. Lubbock does maintain a fairly "moderate" humidity level - averaging about 50%. But that is too low for a star tortoise without seeing some pretty moderate pyramiding. But indoors is much different - and worse! With heating and air conditioning, the humidity indoors is substantially lower. Misting an enclosure lasts a few minutes. An enclosure for a young star should be kept at a min of 80°. Plus a basking area. Those things will also add even more drying to the overall conditions. It just will not work with an open enclosure. My recommendation is to find a way to cover the enclosure and trap the heat and humidity for better control of the climate in the enclosure. You will find a lot of various low-budget ideas here on the forum that can work.

No matter what you choose, keep your temperatures above 80° at all times, especially with misting and trying everything to increase humidity.

If you don't mind the pyramiding, you can raise a star in an open enclosure. It is more risky. It is more susceptible to quick changes in temperatures that brings possible RI issues. Eye irritations with dry coco substrate can become more of a possibility. The combination of temperature and dry conditions makes ensuring hydration even more critical.

Okay. Would a mesh lid be good? My lights are suspended on vertical stands above the enclosure, so I will need something they can pass through as well. If I were to get a thin mesh, would that keep enough heat and humidity in? If not, do you have a better idea? I certainly want to provide her with best possible care.

Or, would it be a better idea to just switch her into a plastic tub? If I did that, would a mesh lid be appropriate?
 

Markw84

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Mesh will not work. It has to be a solid cover to hold in humidity. People used everything from plexiglass, glass, shower curtains, plastic table cloth, mini greenhouses. The lights and heat source (CHE) need to be hung inside the cover to really work properly. Just do a search on the forum here for "closed chamber" and see all the ideas you can get.
 

hatzego

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Joined
Dec 14, 2017
Messages
37
Location (City and/or State)
North Texas
Mesh will not work. It has to be a solid cover to hold in humidity. People used everything from plexiglass, glass, shower curtains, plastic table cloth, mini greenhouses. The lights and heat source (CHE) need to be hung inside the cover to really work properly. Just do a search on the forum here for "closed chamber" and see all the ideas you can get.

Okay. Thank you for your help!
 

hatzego

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Dec 14, 2017
Messages
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Location (City and/or State)
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IMG_4002.jpg IMG_4003.jpg

Here is what I’ve come up with for a closed chamber enclosure. It will certainly be a temporary enclosure due to its size, but for now it’s the best I can do. I am somewhat worried that the gap where I cut the lid is too wide and will make the enclosure lose too much humidity. I don’t have a humidity gauge yet so I can’t tell for sure (that’s on the list for tomorrow, along with a tile for food). Temperature is good, 101F in the basking spot and 80F ambient. Substrate is orchard bark with a small amount of coconut fiber mixed in. I want to get a smaller hide box since this one takes up so much of the enclosure as well. The lighting/temperature control currently includes a basking light, linear UV light, and a CHE connected to a thermostat. Any suggestions on how I can improve it or what I should change? The tortoise is not in the enclosure yet, I wanted to give it 12 hours to make sure the temperatures and such would stay at an appropriate level.
 
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