pyramided VS. normal

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Yvonne G

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When I posted pyramided cross sections on a previous thread it was argued that the pictures didn't show the same area of shell, so Don Williams has sent me some new pictures to use. The pictures show the very same area first a normal shell, then a pyramided shell. I'm also including a link to an article recently published by the Tortoise Trust and written by Andy and Nadine Highfield, and some links to their forum where they talk about it.

Normal cross-section at edge of carapace:

Sideedgecarapacenormalshell1Small.jpg


Pyramided cross-section at edge of carapace:
Edgepyramidedshell2Small.jpg


Edge of a normal shell:
Edgenormalshell2Small.jpg


edge of a pyramided shell:
Sideedgecarapacepyramidedshell1Small.jpg


http://www.tortoisetrust.org/articles/pyramiding.html
http://www.tortoisetrust.org/photos/spainhabitat.html
http://www.tortoisetrustforum.org/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=4746
http://www.tortoisetrustforum.org/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=4839
 

Balboa

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Wow, thanks Yvonne.
Newb Comments here, but yes, that seems to be a case of MBD, and I think that was at issue before, was this a tort KNOWN to suffer visible MBD?

Its still hard for me to see the layers clearly, but do I see layers of bone over scute material?
 

armandoarturo

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wonderful pictures!
but I have a question...
wouldn't the "pyramid" shell be more like MBD?
im making the comparison with humans..... when we get osteoporosis? you know how the bone gets bubbled inside?
or is it a pyramid mbd shell?
just wondering..
 

Balboa

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WOW after reading for a while on those articles I see why he's a tad unpopular (Andy) . Its NOT humidity.... but it is....but its NOT. My studies of a non-burrowing, pyramiding resistant species (my take from keepers of the species) during the dry season showed that they usually only had standard household humidity available in their "humid hides". Great. Good read though.
 

Balboa

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terryo said:

Yup, as you can imagine, I'm going to be doing more digging into his findings, I only cruised over those posts for now, I see a clear bias in his methods, but that MAY be superficial and some really good data may be present.

Its good to see folks actually doing the fieldwork, something we all talk about, but can't do.
 

Annieski

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Thanks Yvonne. Those pic's are very clear. The "BONE" looks the same way in Humans with osteoporosis. The "air-spaces" show the de-mineralization which compromises the strength and rigity of the bone[especially long bones---that bear weight]. I find it interesting that the area of where the scutes cover the bone---look flakey---almost like humans recovering from a bad sunburn. Great pic's and lots of food for thought.
 

chairman

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Balboa said:
Yup, as you can imagine, I'm going to be doing more digging into his findings, I only cruised over those posts for now, I see a clear bias in his methods, but that MAY be superficial and some really good data may be present.

Its good to see folks actually doing the fieldwork, something we all talk about, but can't do.

Hmm, the data on that page seems to suggest that, at least for that species, tortoises should be kept warm and "dry" (30% humidity) during the day and cold and "wet" (50-65% humidity) at night. Not exactly a formula that I'd be eager to try out at home.
 

Madkins007

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Don't forget that these Spanish tortoises were found and logged outside, not in burrows, etc. Tracking on other babies have shown that they spend several hours a day outside, but still most of the time in the burrows or hides.

It is also only a 14-day 'snapshot', not a season-long average.

I still wish we had a better theory on pyramiding. Unfortunately, there are danged few other species on Earth that grow scutes over wide/broad bones to compare to.
 

Nofx

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Interesting pictures, you can clearly see how the shell of the ''sick'' tortoise is more fragile as the one of the good one.
 

Balboa

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Madkins007 said:
Don't forget that these Spanish tortoises were found and logged outside, not in burrows, etc. Tracking on other babies have shown that they spend several hours a day outside, but still most of the time in the burrows or hides.

It is also only a 14-day 'snapshot', not a season-long average.

I still wish we had a better theory on pyramiding. Unfortunately, there are danged few other species on Earth that grow scutes over wide/broad bones to compare to.

A little slanted? eh? I liked those pics, see there's a tort in this tiny clump of dead weeds, see, not much humidity there now that i've rustled them around.

Catch the part about them all "wondering" what the tortoise can be eating, with no live vegetation? "Andy Says they just get by on stuff we don't consider edible" or whatever.... I'm thinkin .. BUGS.

LOL
 

Madkins007

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Balboa- some studies have also suggested that at least some species can go 6 months or more off the yolk sac.

I think one of the hardest lessons for us humans to remember is that tortoises are masters of living in nearly foodless habitats.
 

chadk

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A few questions about that study:

1) How many did they NOT find because they were buried in a hard to find burrow? What were temps and humidity in there? Didn't find any so we don't know...
2) For every one tort caught above ground or under a clump of grass, how many were burried so they could not be easily found?
3) How much of the day is spent above ground and\or udner that grass vs how much time spent in a burrow? Do they even have burrows?
4) Given the data provided, would our torts (at least of related species here) be better off with constant temps and humidity, or with a more natural variety that would more closely match their native habitat? Provide micro-climates or not?
 

Madkins007

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chadk said:
A few questions about that study:

1) How many did they NOT find because they were buried in a hard to find burrow? What were temps and humidity in there? Didn't find any so we don't know...
2) For every one tort caught above ground or under a clump of grass, how many were burried so they could not be easily found?
3) How much of the day is spent above ground and\or udner that grass vs how much time spent in a burrow? Do they even have burrows?
4) Given the data provided, would our torts (at least of related species here) be better off with constant temps and humidity, or with a more natural variety that would more closely match their native habitat? Provide micro-climates or not?

Based on other things I have found...

1. Humans miss from 50-90% of tortoises (even big'uns) in a given area. Using trained dogs gets better results.

2. Possibly same as #1.

3. A study of Gopher Tortoises said that those babies spent like an hour to six hours a day out of 24 above ground if I remember the details.

4. The dynamics of a wild plot of land would be so hard to properly replicate- the dynamics of heat, wind, humidity, rain, effects of plants, effects of soil, and so much more. I think it is smarter to aim for a safe middle option and continue the thermoclines.

Not meant to be authoritative, just what I've read and think,
 

Tom

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I read all of the links with great interest. There is a lot of info there and its very interesting. I find it funny how those of us who have had success with the "wet" routine have gone from conspiracy theorists promoting a "red-herring" to the group promoting one of the two "key" factors that "play a critical role" in pyramiding. It was inevitable that he would have to change his tune on this one. Too much evidence to the contrary.

I also found the article contradictory. All the great info about humidity and its ability to keep the keratinized scutes hydrated and pliable thus preventing the bones from mal-forming, and then he goes out of his way to prove that his study species lives where its very dry and grow up smooth despite the dryness.

He seems to be saying that we feed and nourish them too much and that the excess humidity is a way of balancing out the fast growth. In other words we need so much humidity, BECAUSE we feed them too much or the wrong stuff. I get what he's saying and it does make sense, however, the "wet" routine works and the underfeeding thing doesn't. At least not for me. I have a pyramided 12 year old, 43 pound male sulcata to prove it. I don't know how much slower one could grow one than that. Also, how could we possibly take what he is saying and make it work for me in the CA desert AND for Marta in FL or Terry O in NY. Anyone, anywhere can keep them hot and wet and not have to worry about every single gram of food or how fast they grow.

Chad brings up some very good points about the validity and usefulness of this study, but I love that Andy and his group are out there doing this. I don't want to bash them at all. They ARE gathering valuable info and putting puzzle pieces together for the rest of us and that is to be commended. I just hope he doesn't jump to too many conclusions too early on. Field work is great, but all the studies of wild tortoises in the world don't necessarily translate into useful info for captive tortoises. Let us not forget that for 30 years we have been raising pyramided torts based on info from studies of wild torts. I don't care if we can't explain it yet, what works, works.

Also interesting that our own Ed (EJ) is given lots of credit and a glowing review at the end of the article. Pity Ed has chosen not to share this info with the rest of us. We certainly asked. I still see him logged on from time to time. That's okay, we'll carry on and keep learning with out his help.
 

Madkins007

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Tom- I can see what you are saying. I took it a little differently, though.

He seems to be saying that diet is a big key. We already know that the diet we feed is a lot richer than the wild diet, and that the wild diet is almost always a lot higher in calcium and fiber, and lower in moisture and nutrients for many species. Even forest torts have to work to find enough nourishment in their ranges.

By his reasoning, if we could find a way to offer a diet that better supported bone density, we could raise tortoises with solid, healthy shells and would not have to worry about the humidity issues and some other things. I appreciated that he at least had the grace to suggest that we currently don't know how to do this.

I know I keep saying that pyramiding is cosmetic and not to worry about it a lot, but in my heart, I know it is a sign we are still messing up somehow. If it really IS the diet, we are messing up pretty fundamentally.
 

Annieski

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What if we "altered" our questions[for directly related body-parts] and try to find "some" comparison--then work backwards?
Human= bone[skeletal]---muscle--skin
Tortoise=bone[skeletal]--muscle--scutes
Why do humans [all skin colors] get sunburn? [yes I do understand that the skin of both species is different---it is my way of trying to relate].
Intensity of the sun and duration of exposure. The degree of the burn dictates the severity[worst case senario being extra-cellular fluid loss-deep tissue and nerve damage]. First mode of treatment--remove to an area of "shade" and try to "cool-down" and rehydrate. While in recovery---the damaged "skin" will flake and peel--revealing "new" skin[epidermas].
 
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