Pyramiding Leopard

sonjac

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Dec 30, 2019
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I have 3 Leopard tortoises. One was rehomed at 2 years old and had been kept very dry and had bad pyramiding. The other 2 were rehomed at 6 months and had smooth shells. They have been kept together for a year and have grown very well. I have followed the instructions in the guides for humidity and kept them in a closed chamber and the 2 younger ones have lovely smooth shells.

My question is the older one has grown considerably and her pyramids have grown with her. I have seen tortoises where the shell has reverted to growing flat once they are kept in better conditions but this doesnt seem to be happening with mine. She is happy, healthy and has a good appetite. Its just that her shell doesnt seem to be straightening out. Is there anything I can do or will she just stay like this?

20201213_073807.jpg
 

Lyn W

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I have 3 Leopard tortoises. One was rehomed at 2 years old and had been kept very dry and had bad pyramiding. The other 2 were rehomed at 6 months and had smooth shells. They have been kept together for a year and have grown very well. I have followed the instructions in the guides for humidity and kept them in a closed chamber and the 2 younger ones have lovely smooth shells.

My question is the older one has grown considerably and her pyramids have grown with her. I have seen tortoises where the shell has reverted to growing flat once they are kept in better conditions but this doesnt seem to be happening with mine. She is happy, healthy and has a good appetite. Its just that her shell doesnt seem to be straightening out. Is there anything I can do or will she just stay like this?
My leopard adopted me almost 7 years ago and I think he was about 3 -5 years old at the time. He had a lot of pyramiding and although it hasn't disappeared as he's grown, I don't think it's any worse. He was too big for a closed chamber so has his own room and humidity has always been a struggle, but he has good long soaks most days so that may have slowed it down.
From what I've read, pyramiding is the result of them being started too young as babies, I haven't read or seen anything about being able to smooth the shell of older torts out again - yet - but you learn something new everyday with torts.
 

Tom

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I have 3 Leopard tortoises. One was rehomed at 2 years old and had been kept very dry and had bad pyramiding. The other 2 were rehomed at 6 months and had smooth shells. They have been kept together for a year and have grown very well. I have followed the instructions in the guides for humidity and kept them in a closed chamber and the 2 younger ones have lovely smooth shells.

My question is the older one has grown considerably and her pyramids have grown with her. I have seen tortoises where the shell has reverted to growing flat once they are kept in better conditions but this doesnt seem to be happening with mine. She is happy, healthy and has a good appetite. Its just that her shell doesnt seem to be straightening out. Is there anything I can do or will she just stay like this?
What a lovely group you have there!

Preventing pyramiding is much easier than stopping it once it has started. Here is a list of things you can do to help:
1. Warm soaks. for an hour every day.
2. Frequent carapace spraying with non-mineralized water.
3. Increase ambient temps during the day to around 32-34C to discourage basking.
4. Be sure you are using the right bulbs for basking. Low wattage regular flood bulb. No MVBs, no halogens, no spot bulbs.
5. Increase ambient humidity into the 90s.
6. Consider using some shell conditioner. Some people get good results with it, and it does no harm despite what you might read.
7. Is there a humid hide? There should be. Put the tortoise in it every night one or two hours after the lights are all out and the room is all dark.
8. Your substrate looks dry in the picture. Add some water to it?
9. Are you using indoor UV? What type? Consider limiting that bulb to one hour every other day or so, and don't use it at all in summer when the tortoise can get real sun in the warmer weather. Mazuri has D3 in it, and you can also supplement with a calcium/D3 supplement to meet their D3 needs instead of using UV and having them make their own D3.
 

wellington

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As Tom has said, much harder to stop or make better once it has started. Also the kind you have are even harder to grow smooth compared to the larger SA kind.
Follow Tom's suggestions and then just enjoy. It will do what its going to do.
 

sonjac

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Dec 30, 2019
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Location (City and/or State)
uk
What a lovely group you have there!

Preventing pyramiding is much easier than stopping it once it has started. Here is a list of things you can do to help:
1. Warm soaks. for an hour every day.
2. Frequent carapace spraying with non-mineralized water.
3. Increase ambient temps during the day to around 32-34C to discourage basking.
4. Be sure you are using the right bulbs for basking. Low wattage regular flood bulb. No MVBs, no halogens, no spot bulbs.
5. Increase ambient humidity into the 90s.
6. Consider using some shell conditioner. Some people get good results with it, and it does no harm despite what you might read.
7. Is there a humid hide? There should be. Put the tortoise in it every night one or two hours after the lights are all out and the room is all dark.
8. Your substrate looks dry in the picture. Add some water to it?
9. Are you using indoor UV? What type? Consider limiting that bulb to one hour every other day or so, and don't use it at all in summer when the tortoise can get real sun in the warmer weather. Mazuri has D3 in it, and you can also supplement with a calcium/D3 supplement to meet their D3 needs instead of using UV and having them make their own D3.
Hi Tom, thank you for your reply. I soak 2.3 times a week now as she is older. Will increase back to daily when I do the little ones. I dont usually leave for an hour but happy to do that. Will do the youngsters the same to make sure they carry on smooth.

I havent tried spraying them but Will start.

Since moving to a new larger viv they havent actually got a basking bulb only a ceramic one as the temps were warm enough without so that sounds ok.

Humidity has been a problem in the new viv as it has large areas of mesh in the top. I have had a go at blocking those up so hopefully humidity will rise now.

Not exactly a humid hide. the table the viv is on is slightly wonk so the viv slopes backwards very slightly. This means that the water I pour into the viv pools at the back where the hides are so they are more humid than at the front.. Not sure I can move her at night as this viv is 3ft deep and I cant reach her very easily when she is at the back where she sleeps as my arms arent long enough😂😂

I have coconut oil. Ill give that a go

The substrate always looks dry at the front where they eat. I pour pints of water onto the substrate but because the viv slopes back slightly it drains to the back making the front dryer. They spend most of their time at the back of the viv.

I have a HO T5 uv strip which isnt on a timer so only gets switched on intermittently when I remember it. Ill try to aim for the timing you suggest.

Thank you. At the end of the day I am not too worried as she seems healthy but want to do the best I can for her.
 
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