Question on Pyramiding

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doubletorts

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So I had asked Tom this:
I have two Sulcata's, both a little over 2 years old. However, the older one is slightly bigger with a smooth shell and the other is smaller with a little pyramiding. I got them 2 months apart when they were both 2 months old. Making my oldest 2 months older (if that makes sense). Well, long story short I'm not quite sure why one would have slight pyramiding when they have been together since day one. They eat the same food, take in the same light, etc. Also, I noticed today a fine light pink line on the under side of the smaller ones shell. Now I don't know if it's just me or if it is a little soft. I looked up signs of MBD and he has not one of those symptoms listed on one of the threads I saw one this forum. ...any ideas or thoughts?

His response was:

This happens most of the time. One in tort in a group will pyramid more than another. My best guess is that their individual behavior or personalities account for the difference. There HAS to be one or more variables that are different. All the things you mentioned are the same, but there are many more than just those. For example I knew a guy who was raising ten torts all in the same enclosure. Most of them slept inside the little humid hide box, but two usually did not. Guess how many pyramided? In my enclosure during last years "End of Pyramiding" thread I had one tort who was nearly always in the humid hide and the other two nearly never were. The one in the hide grew much faster and much smoother than the other two. So in your case, here are some possibilities.
1. One tort hogs the best sleeping spot. Maybe there is one section of the enclosure that is just a little more humid, due to air currents or location or something and this is where the smoother one always sleeps. Or maybe you have a humid hide and the smooth one spends more time in there than the other.
2. Maybe the extra stress of living in a pair and being the less dominant one messes with the mechanisms for pyramiding. Have you seen this thread?
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/Thread-Pairs#axzz1io9fBi67
3. Related to number 2 above, maybe the little one drinks less often. Neal believes that hydration is a HUGE part of the pyramiding mystery. I don't know all the answers, but I don't disagree with him.
4. The two months BEFORE you got them can also play a HUGE role. Were they from different sources? The bigger one may have been more humid and hydrated than the other during those first two critical months. Even if they were from the same source, this could be the case. My hatchlings are subjected to different conditions and humidity depending on the current weather.

Every time I see this (which is often) it makes me reconsider the "fast growth is bad" idea. In most of these cases the faster growing, bigger one, is the smoother one too.



I'm curious as to why this has happened. I am not going against what Tom says by any means, we actually both agree it would be beneficial to post a thread and see what others may have to add to why this may be occurring. Any thoughts or comments?
 

StudentoftheReptile

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In my experience as well, I would say in general, anytime you keep more than one of ANY species together in the "same" conditions, there are always going to be differences. Ex: One is bigger/more outgoing/more colorful/etc...than the other. I;ve seen this with various lizards, turtles, snakes, as well as many fish species. It is why many herpers advise keeping more than one together unless you are purposely starting a breeding group. Definitely not pairs, especially for subadult and adult sulcatas.
 

wellington

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I have not had my leopard tort long, since May 2011. So I am still learning here.
However I think the husbandry before we get them has alot to do with it. I think if they are kept wrong before we get them, the pyramiding has already started even if not visiable(in the very young). Even if we get them in the correct temps/humidity/etc as soon as we get them, I am not sure if it will stop it from showing up even if only slightly.
This is something maybe Tom will try if he thinks it will make a difference to know. Raise hot and dry for about 2-3 months, before any pyramiding shows and then raise them hot and humid and see if any pyramiding still shows up?
Anyway I think that is what played a big part in the difference in your torts. Just my opinion:D
 

doubletorts

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StudentoftheReptile said:
In my experience as well, I would say in general, anytime you keep more than one of ANY species together in the "same" conditions, there are always going to be differences. Ex: One is bigger/more outgoing/more colorful/etc...than the other. I;ve seen this with various lizards, turtles, snakes, as well as many fish species. It is why many herpers advise keeping more than one together unless you are purposely starting a breeding group. Definitely not pairs, especially for subadult and adult sulcatas.

True, thanks!

wellington said:
I have not had my leopard tort long, since May 2011. So I am still learning here.
However I think the husbandry before we get them has alot to do with it. I think if they are kept wrong before we get them, the pyramiding has already started even if not visiable(in the very young). Even if we get them in the correct temps/humidity/etc as soon as we get them, I am not sure if it will stop it from showing up even if only slightly.
This is something maybe Tom will try if he thinks it will make a difference to know. Raise hot and dry for about 2-3 months, before any pyramiding shows and then raise them hot and humid and see if any pyramiding still shows up?
Anyway I think that is what played a big part in the difference in your torts. Just my opinion:D


That does make sense. and I have to say, I think I might actually agree. Lol. Well at least for my situation. My torts were not from the same breeders, so that is a very good opinion I must say :) Thanks.
 

Katherine

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Could definitely be a case of genetics/who got the better jumpstart as a hatchling but I agree more with those posters concerned about 'pair' problems. I would be willing to bet the smaller tortoise would grow better separated from his 'friend' : ( If it is not feasible to separate them then I would definitely try feeding/soaking/misting them separately to make sure the smaller one is getting his share. Additionally you mentioned that the smaller one had 'slight pyramiding'...can you decipher if this is in recent growth or not? If it is NOT in recent growth then I may be more inclined to believe that it could be related to their hatchling care prior to becoming your pets.

My apologies if this is a little off topic...
doubletorts said:
Every time I see this (which is often) it makes me reconsider the "fast growth is bad" idea. In most of these cases the faster growing, bigger one, is the smoother one too.

It is my understanding that in the wild Sulcata tortoises are often burrowed in during the dry season and eating little simply because there is little to eat; thus growing very little during dry periods. During the wet season when they are out and about eating the abundance of greens around them they are experiencing simultaneous leaps in growth and humidity; hence a nice smooth carapace. Considering this, and knowing that pyramiding can only occur during periods of growth and growth is directly proportional to food intake; it makes sense that if you are providing 24/7 high humidity you could (although I would never endorse, suggest, or try) powerfeed / quickly grow an animal that would still have a very smooth shell. On the contrary you could grow the animal as slowly as possible and if it lacked hydration it would pyramid regardless.

I do not believe the rate of growth would matter in regards to pyramiding; only the conditions during periods of growth.
 

doubletorts

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katherine said:
Could definitely be a case of genetics/who got the better jumpstart as a hatchling but I agree more with those posters concerned about 'pair' problems. I would be willing to bet the smaller tortoise would grow better separated from his 'friend' : ( If it is not feasible to separate them then I would definitely try feeding/soaking/misting them separately to make sure the smaller one is getting his share. Additionally you mentioned that the smaller one had 'slight pyramiding'...can you decipher if this is in recent growth or not? If it is NOT in recent growth then I may be more inclined to believe that it could be related to their hatchling care prior to becoming your pets.

My apologies if this is a little off topic...
doubletorts said:
Every time I see this (which is often) it makes me reconsider the "fast growth is bad" idea. In most of these cases the faster growing, bigger one, is the smoother one too.

It is my understanding that in the wild Sulcata tortoises are often burrowed in during the dry season and eating little simply because there is little to eat; thus growing very little during dry periods. During the wet season when they are out and about eating the abundance of greens around them they are experiencing simultaneous leaps in growth and humidity; hence a nice smooth carapace. Considering this, and knowing that pyramiding can only occur during periods of growth and growth is directly proportional to food intake; it makes sense that if you are providing 24/7 high humidity you could (although I would never endorse, suggest, or try) powerfeed / quickly grow an animal that would still have a very smooth shell. On the contrary you could grow the animal as slowly as possible and if it lacked hydration it would pyramid regardless.

I do not believe the rate of growth would matter in regards to pyramiding; only the conditions during periods of growth.

Unfortunately at this time I am not able to permanently separate the two, but I am trying to feed them separately. However, when I take the smaller one out the feed he doesn't want to some times. But whenever I put food in its enclosure it will race to the bowl like a typically tortoise would do. I'm thinking his pyramiding might be caused by his environment and husbandry before me. Especially if I have two growing up at the same time, in the same environment/ enclosure, same food, lights, hiding areas, etc. Which makes me feel a little better because then I feel like I'm less at fault. Now his pyramiding is not too terrible, I just hate seeing it getting that way when I have tried so hard to keep it from happening to both of my torts. But thanks everyone for their responses. I didn't know so many things could be at play here, especially the times before I had gotten them.
 
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