Please help! Problem with Scutes

MichaelloT

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Ok so I have a 3-4 yo. Leopard tortoise called Einstein. I've been a little worried about how irregular her shell is growing for a while but after doing some reading online and looking at some photos I thought most of it wasn't something to be worried about. Today however I was bathing her and giving her a shell a gentle scrub and noticed several of the very top most parts of her scutes were somewhat loose, I then noticed this one in the middle had actually effectively "peeled off" and is no longer attached at all. As you can hopefully see in the photograph the part which has flaked / peeled off is no more than a few mm thick, I have "placed" it back on top as I have no idea what is underneath although it feels hard so I am confident is still shell.

She is behaving normally and isn't / doesn't seem in any distress. She is eating and patrolling her tortoise table like normal.

If someone could please give me some advice on what has happened and what I need to do. I am making enquiries with vets but this stupid lockdown means I can't do much!!

IMG_4134.jpeg IMG_4135.jpg
 

Randy Micheals

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Is it possible it could be getting burned? What kind of heat source are you using and have you measured the temp?
 

MichaelloT

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Is it possible it could be getting burned? What kind of heat source are you using and have you measured the temp?
Gosh I hadn't even considered that, thanks for the suggestion. I'm using a NeoRep Reptiglobe 80W lamp (https://www.neorep.net/product/mercury-vapour-lamp-80w-e2627-thread/) at a height of 25-30cm so that it hangs above some rocks etc. for a nice basking position. I've just got a thermometer out and the temp directly under is a stable 30 degrees (86F) which from what I've read is pretty much ideal.

She does spend a LOT of time under there, sometimes she has slow days and hardly moves at all from a sedentary position underneath the lamp.

The rest of the home is 21.5C (70F) which again I think it as advised.
 

Maro2Bear

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Greetings, sorry to hear & see this happening to your cute Leopard! No sense putting that now loose scute back on, it’s definitely no longer viable living tissue. Rub some antiseptic cream on there once you have it all clean & dry. That’s the actual exo skeleton you are seeing. Over time, it can grow new shell, but prob won’t ever look the same again. (Don’t think about gluing the scute on, it won’t help things)

Now - what’s caused this? As noted above, probably over heating/burning ‘caused by heat source tooooo hot & close. How are you reading the temps? What kind of gauge are you using?

Until you determine, Id suggest moving the heat source higher. Make the distance greater between your bulb & torts carapace.

Upload a few pix of the enclosure & heating & lighting arrangements.

Good luck!
 

Yvonne G

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It's been burned. And all the area on either side of the scute that came off is affected too. The only thing you can do for it is change out your light to one that's less likely to burn.
 

MichaelloT

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Thanks for all your responses guys and girls. I really appreciate it. Ok, that is really not good if as you are all saying it has been burned. I thought 30cm was an appropriate height but I have lifted it up already. Are there particular tools / thermometers you would recommend for measuring temp under basking lights and I'll get them? I'll be honest I am using a kitchen digital thermometer to check now?

Maro2Bear I will upload some pictures shortly for your comment - thank you.

I have her in a tort table open to the room, she was in a humidity controlled hab / viv when she was a hatchling but she's 3-4 now (although small for her age I know). Have I been poorly advised? I am willing to do whatever is needed for her but there is so much conflicting advice and we thought we were doing the right thing :-(
 

Tom

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Is the lamp 25-30 cm over the tortoise or over the substrate? Put the lamp back where it was and put a brick under it. Let it bake for an hour or more. Then put your digital thermometer on top of the brick directly under the lamp and let it cook for a couple of hours. I think you'll find the temp is much hotter than 86.

Also 70 is much too cool. You found the wrong source of info. There is a lot of that out there so don't feel bad. The coldest part of the enclosure should not drop below 80 day or night, and the ambient temp during the day should rise into the 85-90 range. When ambient is to cool, it causes them to want to bask under the desiccating heat lamps all day, and this causes the top of the carapace to "slow-burn".

I'm sorry you learned this too late. Now you know.
 

Maro2Bear

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Thanks for all your responses guys and girls. I really appreciate it. Ok, that is really not good if as you are all saying it has been burned. I thought 30cm was an appropriate height but I have lifted it up already. Are there particular tools / thermometers you would recommend for measuring temp under basking lights and I'll get them? I'll be honest I am using a kitchen digital thermometer to check now?

Maro2Bear I will upload some pictures shortly for your comment - thank you.

I have her in a tort table open to the room, she was in a humidity controlled hab / viv when she was a hatchling but she's 3-4 now (although small for her age I know). Have I been poorly advised? I am willing to do whatever is needed for her but there is so much conflicting advice and we thought we were doing the right thing :-(
You probably already read, but if not, here’s the bible on how to properly care for a Leopard. Food, lighting, hides, soaking, substrate, humidity levels, proper temps & more. I would aim to follow this info as closely as you can. When in doubt, shout out to @Tom and @Yvonne G ...

The Bible


Good luck - happy torting
 

vladimir

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Thanks for all your responses guys and girls. I really appreciate it. Ok, that is really not good if as you are all saying it has been burned. I thought 30cm was an appropriate height but I have lifted it up already. Are there particular tools / thermometers you would recommend for measuring temp under basking lights and I'll get them? I'll be honest I am using a kitchen digital thermometer to check now?

Maro2Bear I will upload some pictures shortly for your comment - thank you.

I have her in a tort table open to the room, she was in a humidity controlled hab / viv when she was a hatchling but she's 3-4 now (although small for her age I know). Have I been poorly advised? I am willing to do whatever is needed for her but there is so much conflicting advice and we thought we were doing the right thing :-(
Don't feel bad, it's easy to get overwhelmed with all the conflicting information. I've watched @Tom give advice to hundreds of people, tirelessly, and he truly cares about what's best for the animals.

I'm thankful you noticed and care enough about your little one to ask for help :) Keep us posted, and keep asking questions! :)
 

DesertGirl

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Fabulous Las Vegas, NV
Ok so I have a 3-4 yo. Leopard tortoise called Einstein. I've been a little worried about how irregular her shell is growing for a while but after doing some reading online and looking at some photos I thought most of it wasn't something to be worried about. Today however I was bathing her and giving her a shell a gentle scrub and noticed several of the very top most parts of her scutes were somewhat loose, I then noticed this one in the middle had actually effectively "peeled off" and is no longer attached at all. As you can hopefully see in the photograph the part which has flaked / peeled off is no more than a few mm thick, I have "placed" it back on top as I have no idea what is underneath although it feels hard so I am confident is still shell.

She is behaving normally and isn't / doesn't seem in any distress. She is eating and patrolling her tortoise table like normal.

If someone could please give me some advice on what has happened and what I need to do. I am making enquiries with vets but this stupid lockdown means I can't do much!!

View attachment 289497 View attachment 289498
Boy, those Leopards are gorgeous. This one is no exception! So pretty.
 

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