Pictures and thoughts on growing smooth tortoises today


Well-Known Member
Jun 30, 2018
Location (City and/or State)
Was just looking on line, Tortoise Town has them advertised starting around $699.00. Not buying anytime soon and not from TT. Just seen your pictures and thought that they were interesting. They don't get very big, compared to my Sucata. Have a nice Tortoise table that my Sammy grew out of, would be perfect for a smaller Tortoise. I was just thinking, my wife says 1 Tortoise, 2 Dogs, 2 cats and 1 bird is plenty of pets to take care of.
Not enuf pets for me :)


Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Jan 17, 2012
Location (City and/or State)
Sacramento, CA (Central Valley)
My question is seeing Mark Post point us towards needs of correct humidity to prevent piramiding. How about diet? With closed chamber , correct humidity, can everyday feed Mazuri can lead to pyramiding ?

I also saw some aldabra had very bold growthline, making appearance like not smooth anymore, is this effect from diet or humidity?

I see absolutely no way diet can cause/contribute to pyramiding. Observation makes it obvious that pyramiding is scute/keratin driven. It only happens at scute seams with new keratin growth that matures or "cures" in an uneven fashion. The underlying bone is responding to that pressure when growth is forced downward. Diet cannot make keratin grow that way. Only uneven maturing of the keratin will cause that.

As an example of how keratin responds, I had an interesting "experiment" I accidentally did with my fingernail. Trapping my thumbnail between a sliding sheet of PVC the nail was damaged and a pocket of blood formed under the base of the nail. That large pocket of blood dried but was trapped under the nail. So new keratin as the nail subsequently grew was no longer protected on the upper side by the cuticle. It was immediately exposed to the dry blood layer. Guess how that keratin grew???


The new keratin forming was deformed by the imbalance in protection with the top of the new nail forming "drying" too quickly. This forced the keratin to curve downward. It is obvious to see how keratin reacts when one surface is not longer protected and "dries" too quickly.

Diet does not cause this. An imbalance in the "drying" conditions of the keratin causes this.

Baby tortoises when the growth of new keratin is greatest, and bone ossification is least established are most exposed to this potential. They live by hiding deep in plant cover, leaf litter, buried in mud. When food is plentiful and they are growing, they need to move little as the cover they require is also food they eat. Baby tortoises are almost impossible to find in the wild. They are hiding, and protecting themselves - and their young bodies - from the elements.

Humidity is the biggest and most immediate cause of pyramiding. There is also other factors that can probably cause premature maturing of the new keratin. UVA would be a prime suspect as we know it to be a primary aging element of skin and used to cure many substances very similar to keratin. The other aspect is behavioral modification we see with captive tortoises. Babies become much more bold and stop seeking as much shelter as they naturally would. This exposes them prematurely to conditions - drying and UVA - that they would normally stay hidden from in the wild until much more mature.


Dec 2, 2020
Location (City and/or State)
@Tom thats my friend aldabra, and some tells that the big growth line due to excessive eating, I still believe with correct diet, no need to limit their food. I also don't want to go extreme to give Mazuri everyday. Thanks for the information