Is he pyramiding?

BabyJim

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Hello!

I got my tortoise, Jim, about two weeks ago and he's about 4 months old. I am wondering if he (or she) began pyramiding before I got him. And any tips to help stop that. I keep his enclosure humid and soak him every day.

Thanks!

IMG_20200307_084334.jpg
 

Markw84

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Yes your tortoise has been kept too dry previously and is starting significant pyramiding. But it is the very beginning stages of growth for your tortoise, so if you keep it in a proper, humid chamber and soak daily, following the care sheet here under the sulcata section, the new growth will be smooth from now on and the pyramiding on that small amount of growth will be hardly noticeable.

Please be aware that most all the info out there on care for tortoises is very out-of-date. Please read the post on how to raise a healthy sulcata, and follow us here on the forum. I know of no other source that is giving out the latest, and best advice.

Here is a picture of one of my sulcatas that is four months old for comparison. You can see how different the growth between the scutes (where growth expands) is. this is what you want to see as far as smooth new growth.

IMG_0054.jpg
 

BabyJim

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Yes your tortoise has been kept too dry previously and is starting significant pyramiding. But it is the very beginning stages of growth for your tortoise, so if you keep it in a proper, humid chamber and soak daily, following the care sheet here under the sulcata section, the new growth will be smooth from now on and the pyramiding on that small amount of growth will be hardly noticeable.

Please be aware that most all the info out there on care for tortoises is very out-of-date. Please read the post on how to raise a healthy sulcata, and follow us here on the forum. I know of no other source that is giving out the latest, and best advice.

Here is a picture of one of my sulcatas that is four months old for comparison. You can see how different the growth between the scutes (where growth expands) is. this is what you want to see as far as smooth new growth.

View attachment 287524
Oh no that makes me sad. But yes I will be doing my best to make sure he grows well. I come to read the forum for pretty much every question I have.
 

Markw84

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Oh no that makes me sad. But yes I will be doing my best to make sure he grows well. I come to read the forum for pretty much every question I have.
Keep in mind that correcting this at such an early stage can totally change this. Although the old growth is permanent, it is so young that that small amount of growth as it grows will be almost unnoticable compared to the amount of growing yet to happen. Just a little bump in the center of the scutes in a year! It is when pyramiding progresses on a growing tortoise where the new growth seams are wider than the original scute aerolae, that it is more difficult. Because in those cases, the pyramiding has actually changed the plane the vertebral bones are growing in, and new growth will tend to follow that plane and smooth out much less. But yours is so young yet and grown so little your tortoise will be fine if you provide correct conditions.
 

BabyJim

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Keep in mind that correcting this at such an early stage can totally change this. Although the old growth is permanent, it is so young that that small amount of growth as it grows will be almost unnoticable compared to the amount of growing yet to happen. Just a little bump in the center of the scutes in a year! It is when pyramiding progresses on a growing tortoise where the new growth seams are wider than the original scute aerolae, that it is more difficult. Because in those cases, the pyramiding has actually changed the plane the vertebral bones are growing in, and new growth will tend to follow that plane and smooth out much less. But yours is so young yet and grown so little your tortoise will be fine if you provide correct conditions.
Thank you so much! I am about to move him to a new enclosure that is 38inL x 28inW x 13in H. Any advice on how to keep his humidity high in there without buying a mister?
 
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Salisbury
Hello!

I got my tortoise, Jim, about two weeks ago and he's about 4 months old. I am wondering if he (or she) began pyramiding before I got him. And any tips to help stop that. I keep his enclosure humid and soak him every day.

Thanks!
Yes, he is pyramiding due to poor treatment in a previous home, keep him humid and not dry and make sure not to feed him to much. One of my tortoises has the same problem
 

Markw84

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Thank you so much! I am about to move him to a new enclosure that is 38inL x 28inW x 13in H. Any advice on how to keep his humidity high in there without buying a mister?
13" is too short. You need a closed chamber. Heat and lights must hang inside the chamber or you will always be drying the enclosure out as it is warmer than outside the enclosure. You need to keep the warm, humid air inside. Misters don't work as well. I use orchid bark substrate that is kept moist. The chamber is always at about 90% humidity. I also keep lots of live plants in there as natural hides, food, and they help keep up humidity.

Take a look at this post I just did for another question... https://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/location-of-hide.180215/post-1800167

That give you and idea of my enclosures and how they are set up.
 

maggie3fan

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If the problem is not corrected, he could grow up to look like Knobby...He was found walking the street in downtown Portland Oregon...and brought to me...so please stay with us as ask questions... 006.JPG 036.JPG
 

ritalutzer

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scottsdale,az
Hello!

I got my tortoise, Jim, about two weeks ago and he's about 4 months old. I am wondering if he (or she) began pyramiding before I got him. And any tips to help stop that. I keep his enclosure humid and soak him every day.

Thanks!
I see the picture and why do you think he is pyramiding? the bottom of his shell looks like it is turning up ...is that it? because the top of his shell looks fine like my 2 tortoises look
 

William Lee Kohler

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Then yours are pyramiding too. It's not the marginals you mention its up on top. Compare the OPs picture with Markw84s picture and look closely. It's not hard to see the difference if you look close. Maybe blow up the pictures. Fix this early for a nice smooth shell.
 

Unkapunka

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Osage City
I don't see it either, but i take your word for it. I'm not a experienced tortoise person.
 

Markw84

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I don't see it either, but i take your word for it. I'm not a experienced tortoise person.
It is the way the new keratin grows as the scutes expands that causes pyramiding. So if you look at the area between the scutes, you will see valleys forming if the conditions are too drying on that newly forming keratin. It forces the exposed top surface of the keratin to harden prematurely. New keratin needs to expand and fill in to the proper thickness over a few months. If hardened, it forces the expansion downward, deforming the underlying bone that is also forming. This is how pyramiding progresses.

Sulcata hatchling starting pyramiding with note on keratin growth.jpg

my smooth sulcata with note on keratin growth.jpg
 
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