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Looking for veteran insights. Shell growth, pyramiding?

Discussion in 'Hermanns tortoises' started by tinytortoise, Feb 10, 2019.

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  1. tinytortoise

    tinytortoise Active Member

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    Hey guys,

    I'm a little paranoid and wanting to correct any issues as soon as possible.

    Attached will be pictures of my baby tortoise, Apis', shell. She's 5 months old now, and growing relatively fast. What's concerning me is her 4th scute back, which seems to have a slight groove, which could be raised, though it doesn't appear very raised - just that groove.

    Anyways I don't know 100% what I'm talking about, because I haven't been around other, adult, tortoises, and would love to have more insight. Especially I'm looking for breeder input. I've already reached out to @ChrisLeone, my breeder, but in the meantime insights from the long-time tortoise-keepers such as @Tom or @Yvonne G would be insightful and greatly appreciated.

    What do you think? What could be changed? Open to questions, concerns, comments...

    Thanks so much!

    IMG_20190210_124305.jpg IMG_20190210_124312.jpg IMG_20190210_124255.jpg
  2. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Yeah, there's a slight bit of pyramiding going on, but when we go on and on about pyramiding, we're mainly talking about leopards, stars, radiata and sulcata. The Mediterranean species do pyramid a bit, but not nearly as bad as those above. Just add a bit of humidity to his enclosure, soak daily and he should be ok.
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  3. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    If that were my tortoise, I would:
    • Up the ambient humidity and substrate moisture a bit. I'd probably switch to a closed chamber and use coco coir substrate.
    • Keep night temps a little warmer than usual with the added moisture. I'd aim for high 60's at night, even into the low 70s.
    • Soak daily.
    • Spray the shell with water several times a day.
    • Use as low of a wattage heat bulb as I could to get the job done, and never use a MVB. I'd use a long fluorescent tube for UV if needed.
    • Offer a good humid hide or two in the enclosure.
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  4. tinytortoise

    tinytortoise Active Member

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    Thanks Tom and Yvonne,
    I'll look to keep things more moist, and incorporating coco coir into substrate, or overhauling it completely.

    She's in a closed chamber, though I could take measure it seal it even more.
    I'll up her night termpature, and find a more optimal bulb.
    Do you have any reccomendations for bulb?
    I'm using a 75w incandescent, but previously used a 50w hallogen flood lamp, with tube uvb.

    My weak point has been soaks and spraying, which I'll be doing daily now. The humidity has always been very high, so I've slacked in misting and soaking as much as I should. Will also be changing out damp sphagnum in the hide more regularly.

    Thanks for the advice, I'll make changes and feel horrible about this situation. Hoping to stop this progression.
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  5. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    What is the ambient humidity in the closed chamber now? What is your overnight low temp? What is the daytime ambient temp?

    If things are moderately humid now, and you are still seeing that pyramiding, I would suspect the basking bulb as the culprit. Halogens, MVBs, and "spot" bulbs will definitely make them pyramid, even if conditions are good otherwise. What is the temp directly under the bulb at tortoise height?

    Hopefully we can help you solve the problem after all these questions. :)
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  6. tinytortoise

    tinytortoise Active Member

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    Right now 80% ambient humidity, I don't let it go below 70%.
    Overnight low is 65f. Daytime ambient is 76f, and basking temp is 95f, humidity drops to 30-40% under the bulb.

    What type of bulb do you recommend? Incandescent? Standard?

    Thanks so much!!
  7. tinytortoise

    tinytortoise Active Member

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    Read some of your other posts, I'll play around with the 65w incandescent flood, not halogen, and get temps right.

    Do you think the impact of this pyramiding is severe given her age? I know it's not reversible, but hoping proper care will ease the severity of this mistake.
  8. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    It is mild and it looks like you are doing everything right.
  9. tinytortoise

    tinytortoise Active Member

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    Wow Tom,

    These bulbs are AMAZING. Much better than before.
    I'm still QAing all the temps, but basically:

    With 90~95F basking the humidity under the bulb went from 30~40% (old bulbs) to 60%+ (new bulb, 65W incandescent flood).
    The ambient temp went from mid seventies to 80F, and ambient humidity went from 80% to 97% (might be a little too moist but WOW).

    It seems like while the beam is less invasive, the overall quality of heat is much greater and is raising overall ambient temp nicely, while maintaining nice and humid basking spot. Excited with day one results, and like I said QAing temps still, but so far seems very promising! Grabbed a 12 pack of these bulbs.

    Also, in lighter news ~ I got with Chris and he's assured me that she looks great and I'm doing a good job with her. He says the slight raising seen in the pictures above isn't actually pyramiding, and for the locale it's actually natural - even in the wild grown. He says she looks great and that I shouldn't worry about the slight raising on some of her scutes, though obviously I want to give her an ideal environment and prevent any future pyramiding from happening.

    That said, I'll be moving forward as if it were and am going to take into account and follow the advice you gave above - incorporating coco coir as well as improving my regimen of daily soaks, regular sprays, and I'd like to give her another hide very soon!
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  10. tinytortoise

    tinytortoise Active Member

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    Little update, the bulb replacement has been great. The enclosure is heating much more evenly, and the basking area isn't as formidable compared to the ambient temperature. She's waking up earlier, and even the plant life has perked up with the increased humidity that the new bulb is offering.

    I planned to supply a second hide, but she's actually dug a little den under an established patch of grass (probably mad at me for digging her out of the old hide I supplied, for soaks). Even so, soaks are going swell, and she's seeming to enjoy them very much!

    Attached Files:

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