Shell Pattern Changes for Growing Elongated

Mexico

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My ~27 month old Elongated tortoise, Melee.

I've only had her for around 2 years but it feels like she's been with me forever. I was looking through old video and pictures of her and I forgot how absolutly tiny she used to be!

I really wish I had taken more or better pictures of her shell as she was growing, or dated any of the pictures I did take. I have one picture I've already posted here of Melee at 14 months back in 2018 -

belee for baby melee.jpg

And a new picture from January 2020 -

20200126_101213.jpg

If I didn't know this was the same tortoise. I would never believe it. I just love the new star bursts that have popped up, and how the "tree" or fork developing on her rear vertebral scute has filled in and stretched out to the middle one!

She's gone from a teeny little circle to this beefy oval.
 

ParkourMexican

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That's an awesome looking tortoise!
I don't suppose you have any of her weight and SCL measurements from 14 months ago and today do you?
I'm a first time tortoise keeper (intentionally) and I just received my little guy 2 weeks ago. He's only 46g and and SCL ~5.5cm.
I wonder much my guys scutes will change over time! Screenshot_20200110-190023.jpg
 

Mexico

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Unfortunatly, I don't have any of my weight and measurement data.

I did find in the first post I made about her that she was 3.22in (8cm) and 135g
Today she is at 8in (20cm).
 

ParkourMexican

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Well her shell looks perfect today, no pyramiding at all. Looks like you have taken great care of her.
Do you have any pictures of her enclosure? I would love to see that set up!
 

Mexico

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I feel like I have a high creativity for enclosure ideas, but no handiness skill :eek: Looking back at my pictures I see how thrown together everything looks. Maybe one day I'll gain some decorating skill.

Indoor Pen 2020.jpg

*Currently, Melee is in a 5ft x 1.5ft hexagonal garden bed that I have wrapped with Heavy Duty tarps to make it waterproof enough not to ruin my carpet. I put together a wooden frame to hold the uvb and heat lamps, and wrapped it in a vinyl shower curtain to keep in heat in humidity under the lamps.
*Substrate is a mixture of Peat Moss, Sand, and Sphagnum moss.
*For water, I use an underbed bin (can't remember the size, but I put her in it for the picture for a size comparison) It has an aquarium filter and heater that keeps the water from getting frigid. I have rocks stacked inside and out of the bin so she can climb in and out safely. I also use a fogger on a timer to keep humidity up outside of the warm area.
*I have a fake plant, rocks, and flooring pieces for terrain features.
*Her favorite place to sleep is over in the corner between the water bin and the tarp, so I made a PCV frame to hold open a little area for her to crawl in to.

When she was the size of your tortoise, I had her in I think a 40gal tote. It's a bad picture from an old security camera :) but you can see the basics. The first week I had her I used cardboard pieces to split the tote in half so that I could make sure she found her food and water.

first inclosure.JPG

Once she got to around 450g-500grams I had her living outside for the summer in a 10ftx10ft pen.

Outdoor pen 2019.jpg
 

ParkourMexican

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That is actually pretty funny because I do the same thing. I'll have to take some pictures of what I have going on with Groot and show you when I get the chance. Functionality is always key; that is my philosophy. I'm sure Melee doesn't mind at all!

I assume you have the filter set up for a reduced maintenance set up right? Because that is something that I would totally do. Do you have a bioactive clean up crew in the dirt? I would recommend throwing in some tropical springtails and some isopods if you don't already. They absolutely DESTROY any mold and fungus in my enclosure. You definitely have two sweet set ups in my opinion, and it looks like you've put a lot of time and effort in to them.

What fogger do you use in your set up? I tried to DIY my own fogger but it's not going as I hoped.

What age would you say that Melee was when you began putting her out for the summer? Groot is really far from that weight but I gotta start planning haha.

Also if you don't mind me asking, why did you decide to keep elongateds?
 

Mexico

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You're right on the money about the filter. I want to have clean water available at all times, but dumping and cleaning a small dish multiple times a day got real old, real fast. I do a full water change every 14 -15 days as long as there isn't poop in the water. I used to keep an aquarium so I already had the extra filter(with polyfil, carbon, and bioballs) air stones, and water heater.

The fogger I use is the Coospider Reptile Fogger from Amazon. It can hold 3 liters of water so I have to refill it every other day since this enclosure is almost entire open, and there is alot of evaporation going on at all times. I also use a pressure sprayer to keep the substrate hydrated.

As far as age goes for Melee going outside, I got her in Feb 2018 and I felt she was big enough by July 2018. She would've been 19 months maybe, but I really went by her size (she was nearing 500g by then) and her ability to move around to find her food and water without me being there to prompt her. I did a couple of supervised days outside to make sure she had enough places to hide, could get in and out of a larger water bowl safely, and that she couldn't climb any of the posts to escape. Once I thought all was good I started letting her out full time, until it started getting cold. We have high humidity in the summer where I live, so I knew I wouldn't have any problem keeping up with her environmental requirements.

Groot is going to love being able to go outside when the time comes! Plus, spraying down and enclosure with a water hose is waaaayy more fun than using foggers or spray bottles.

And I chose enlongateds mostly because their care conditions and diet were similar to the box turtle that I had at the time. I was gifted my box turtle because a coworker knew I was interested in reptiles, so I already had this humidity and water loving species and I thought why not add another one since I had experience. I started watching tons of videos and reading about tropical tortoises and just fell in love when I saw those pitch black eyes and lime colored heads elongateds have.

what about you and groot? How did you find him?
 

ParkourMexican

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I want to set up something similar to your water dish but have the filter dump the water in a way that makes a waterfall or something like that. I can dream right? This is the beginning of that project: I got a coffee table took the top off added side boards and used 20mil pond liner to make it water proof. I am working on the top next.

GrootsHome (2).jpg
Thanks for the fogger suggestion I just needed a place to start my search because I noticed that Groot may be a bit dehydrated due to the lack of ambient humidity.

Here is my current set up. It is a bit of an eyesore but I am just glad my wife was okay having this in the house.
GrootsHome1 (2).jpg
GrootsHome2.jpg

More on your point about falling in love with the distinct dark eyes and light heads, I also feel like they are really under appreciated. From what I have researched it seems like they have almost identical care requirements to redfoots while also being able to handle colder temperatures! Although Groot is heavily pampered with his own space heater and daily temperatures between 70 and 80F, but I can easily see letting him in an outdoors enclosure for a good 5.5 to 6 months once he is big enough.

I decided to go with elongateds primarily because of the high humidity where I live. I also did a ton of research and figured that out of the common forest tortoises redfoots and yellowfoots would only be able to be kept outdoors 3 months out of the year, and mountain tortoises would get too big to comfortably keep them indoors. So to selfishly keep a tortoise in captivity and while also giving it the best and most naturalistic life that I could I had to go with an elongated. And I definitely do not regret my decision!

I got him from Bill Murray's Redfoot Ranch in Florida and I am very please with the well being of Groot. He has only gained weight since he came to me.
 

Huckleberry

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My ~27 month old Elongated tortoise, Melee.

I've only had her for around 2 years but it feels like she's been with me forever. I was looking through old video and pictures of her and I forgot how absolutly tiny she used to be!

I really wish I had taken more or better pictures of her shell as she was growing, or dated any of the pictures I did take. I have one picture I've already posted here of Melee at 14 months back in 2018 -

View attachment 285424

And a new picture from January 2020 -

View attachment 285425

If I didn't know this was the same tortoise. I would never believe it. I just love the new star bursts that have popped up, and how the "tree" or fork developing on her rear vertebral scute has filled in and stretched out to the middle one!

She's gone from a teeny little circle to this beefy oval.
That's an amazing transformation!
 

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