Need the professionals' eyes


Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Jul 8, 2017
Location (City and/or State)
Low desert 50 mi SE of Palm Springs CA

As you can imagine I really looked at Sulafat today with a much more educated eye, and now I can see that there is some improvement.

On the vertebrals, it's most noticeable between 2 and 3. I can see that "step" you referred to on your female.

I can also see flattening between the's more apparent than the vertebrals, I'm thinking because of the bone deformation you mentioned.

And the seam between the costals and marginals is growing straight down. :)

Thank you again. It will be fun watching to see if the improvements continue!

That is, as long as I don't dissolve him first! 😂


Mar 27, 2020
Location (City and/or State)
Huntington Beach, CA

Yes, I see flatter growth coming in now. I would call your tortoise "moderately" pyramided when you got it. Your care is making a difference. I do not believe you will be able to get it to grow totally smooth at this point however. You can get somewhat smoother growth, but once the bones have ossified and thickened with 18 mos to 2 years of growth, the patter the bone has taken is hard to change.

I have found with Burmese Stars, once they pass 2 years, the pyramiding they have started has progressed to the point where the underlying bone has tipped to the angle of the pyramiding and the new growth will continue on that plane. Especially along the vertebrals, where there are more bones than scutes - so the pyramiding can set the angle of an entire vertebral bone.

When I got my founder stock for my group, they were already very pyramided as they were kept dry at the Behler Center. They also believed in "slow growing" them and they were about 5 years old and only 400g - 500g.

Here's one 2 mos after I got her. She had already put on over 250g and you can see some of the new growth is coming in a bit smoother, but not what I hoped.

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IF you look between the 1st and 2nd vertebral the new growth is much flatter. Between the 2nd and 3rd and the 3rd and 4th - it is flatter but less so. The placement of those bones are such that entire bones had been tipped. The seams between costals and marginals all flattened out nicely as that area is all under the same bone (modified ribs) and new growth along that "rib" can indeed now come in flat.

Here's one of the males after 3 months at my place. You can see definite flattening of the plane with all new growth after 3 months.

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Here's a view after 4 months of one of the females but showing the seams between costals where it is much easier to flatten new growth;

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Here's the same female as the first picture after 1 year in my care. You can see the flattening I saw at 2 months did not overcome the overall plane the underlying bone had already been altered to. If you look closely, you can see a "step" where that first 2 months was a bit flatter, but the overall new growth from that point on was still pyramided. Not as steep a plane as the original pyramiding, but still pyramiding.
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For comparison, here's one of the babies from that female that I hatched, started properly and raised in a closed chamber. The same size as the female in the first picture I got from Behler, but 16 months old and smooth.

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Beautiful tortoises, Mark. How much does the 16 month old tort in your last picture weight?

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