Is the shell ok?

Russiantort23

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Feb 13, 2021
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I have a Russian tortoise that has some white stuff on its shell and I’m not sure what it is. Could anyone tell me if it’s shell rot? I’m not sure about the age of my tortoise but it’s not adult sized yet, he gets calcium supplements 2x a week, and lives outside as I’m on Oahu.

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Yossarian

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I have a Russian tortoise that has some white stuff on its shell and I’m not sure what it is. Could anyone tell me if it’s shell rot? I’m not sure about the age of my tortoise but it’s not adult sized yet, he gets calcium supplements 2x a week, and lives outside as I’m on Oahu.
The shell is looking ok now, it looks bad but the flaking and damage you see is old damage. The way this "heals" is by growing a new layer of shell over the injury. I think most of the white stuff is old dead bone. If the top layer of bone is damage by whatever damaged the shell, then the new shell can grow under it, eventually it looks like what you see, with a thin layer of bone over the new shell.
 

Yvonne G

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We have no way to know what happened to this tortoise, but sometime in his past his shell was quite damaged - fire? chewed by dog? - we have no way of knowing. All you need to know is that it happened a very long time ago. What you see inside where the old shell has flaked off is NEW shell. Eventually all that old shell will flake off and he will look like that new shell portion. A tortoise's shell grows in increments from the time he hatches out of the egg, so his shell ends up with a pattern showing those increments. When a shell is injured, the new shell grows all at once (over a long period of time), and not in increments, so the pattern he ends up with doesn't look at all like a normal Russian pattern. But rest assured, he's not in any pain. It will be interesting to see how the shell grows from now on, since he doesn't have any growth seams. Where will the new growth appear? I wish I had one with extensive damage like yours so I could see first hand how the shell grows from now on. I hope you stay with us on the Forum and continue to show pictures of this hardly little tortoise.
 

MichaelL

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The white stuff is old damage which has exposed the bone of the carapace.
 
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