shell pyramiding on these guys?

mastershake

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these two little guys were dropped off at our doorstep (we run a reptile rescue / sanctuary and have all sorts dropped off to us) we plan to keep them here we have around 3 acres and will setup a proper outdoor pen for them once they are the proper size. we are new to taking care of sulcatas as babies though. we did have a much older female who was dropped off in horrid shape and we worked with her and had her for 2 years before she passed. she lived a happy life during her time.

i have been reading all the threads here on proper care for babies and i know at least the one def has some pyramiding but im wondering how bad it is and can we stop / prevent it at this stage?? we have them on a mix of coco and cypress with some orchid bark and spagnum moss mixed in. when we first saw them they were literally caked with poop on their legs and undersides. it was so dried on in some spots it took us some time of soaking to get it loosened up. one still has a spot where a patch of it was. they are still not perfect but we are working slowly to get them perfectly clean.we are unsure of age (any thoughts?) and how they were cared for prior to seeing them for the first time. one is very outgoing and loves to wander and the other is much more shy. we finally have seen both eating (took a few weeks) and hope we can get them going perfect, our vet we work with did check them out and we do all in house fecals and basic bloodwork and they have no parasites we can find. anyway some pics first four are the larger one (3") then the rest are the smaller one (2.7"). the second one has a whiteish spot on its carapace there was a spot of dried poop stuck fast there that we got off there.
 

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Bambam1989

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Welcome to the forum. It is great that you have already been doing research.
Yes they both have some pyramiding but it is very slight. Do daily warm soaks and keep the humidity up and the future growth will come in smooth. At this size, if you prevent future pyramiding, you will hardly be able to see it when they get larger.
I recommend that you set them up in separate enclosures. Since these guys do a lot of "mental bullying" it can cause alot of stress in a one on one scenario. This stress will increase the likely hood of one becoming sick or not growing as vigorously.
 

mastershake

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thanks! i was worried about them coming in looking like they did some people are terrible. i almost thought they may have been dead at first it took them 2 days to even peak their heads out. it makes me so angry when people buy animals like these and then decide they could care less and stop taking care of them. we are really hoping to stop the pyramiding. how do they look otherwise? our vet is a specialist but doesnt see a ton of tortoises. hopefully we are on the right track with them. they also had sand stuck fast to the dried poop so im assuming they may have been kept on sand. i appreciate ANY feedback and help you guys are willing to provide. she already was looking around for a few other types like leopards etc my wife just fell in love with these guys.
 

Bambam1989

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Not many vets know alot about tortoises unfortunately. A tip for if they ever have to be taken to the vet- don't let them give vitamin injections!
They look ok from what I can see in the pics, even see the starts of fresh shell growth.
I'm going to give you a bunch of great links in case you have not already seen them. The care sheets are the best and most up to date sulcata info, I really recommend following them as closely as you can.
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/thread-45180.html

https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/how-to-raise-a-healthy-sulcata-or-leopard-version-2-0.79895/

https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/for-those-who-have-a-young-sulcata.76744/

https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/sulcata-diet-sheet.64290/

Here's a great website to help identify safe foods!
http://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/index.php#.WmKMnUOIbqA
 

teresaf

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IMG_20150907_141348.jpg They're still young. I'm guessing 6 months. Guessing. I don't own sulcatas. Babies are pretty much universal in needing high humidity(wet walls type high humidity) and heat(above 80 in every corner with basking spot at 95 to 100). The high humidity is what keeps the pyramiding in check. Their pyramiding is minor and will always be there but if they grow smooth in future the little nubs that are raised will blend in with the smooth growth where you'll never see it on the adult. The little nubs are called schutes and stay relatively the same size through out their lives. The growth happens between the schutes and if humid the growth will be horizontal (flat) but if kept dry then growth will be vertical causing little mountains. It's mostly a cosmetic issue unless it gets severe then it can cause health issues. My leopard is top heavy and his pyramiding causes him to flip over if he climbs. He can't right himself so his yard is VERY flat with no flipping hazards. With high humidity it's REALLY important to keep temps up above 80 in EVERY nook and cranny or they could get respiratory infections and die.
 

mastershake

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thank you for the links. we are reading the table now. we are right at 78-79 on the cooler side of the enclosure they are in. i will have to up the humidity even more it seems its sitting at 76% right now. im building them an actual full enclosure with a built in sprayer hooked up to a humidistat so when the % drops below a set point it will go off. is this okay to do? its a very very fine mist nothing that will be like full on rain or heavy dripping??
 

mastershake

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my wife was asking about sex and we both know its nearly impossible at this size but do you guys have any thoughts? she is just super curious lol. some of you guys here i saw seem to be able to make a good guess :)
 

Bambam1989

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my wife was asking about sex and we both know its nearly impossible at this size but do you guys have any thoughts? she is just super curious lol. some of you guys here i saw seem to be able to make a good guess :)
Absolutely no way of knowing at this point. Most of us slap a label on them and call it a he or she so that we are not referring to them as "it". I call my baby sulcata a "he", but it is just as likely to be female.
The temperatures that they were incubated influences the chances of being male or female. Lower temps are more likely to be male, higher temps more likely to be female. When temps are high during incubation it increases the chances of developing "split scutes" or in other words an irregular shell pattern. These are more likely to be female but you still have the occasional male with split scutes.
I did not notice split scutes on your babes.
 

mastershake

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i figured it was way to early i just saw a few making guesses here lol. are you reff to the "split scutes" as some sellers call them reg them being more prone to be female? one question how do you guys keep temps up so high without dring it out to much? my temps in the hide were a bit low (75-76) so i am using a che bulb to get the temps up, they are at 84.9 where they are sleeping with 86% humidity. hoping thats not to hot. im building them a whole new enclosure so ill look around and get some ideas on how to achieve this. thanks again!, trying to learn EVERYTHING i can as quickly as possible.
 

teresaf

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my wife was asking about sex and we both know its nearly impossible at this size but do you guys have any thoughts? she is just super curious lol. some of you guys here i saw seem to be able to make a good guess :)
Right around 12 in straight line measure is when you can tell for sure whether they're male or female. Sometimes you'll notice the males develop before that because their bellies will get concave. However they all look like they're females until they "turn" male... By turn I mean start showing male characteristics. Don't forget to up your temperature so that the corners where it is 78 degrees is above 80. If you use a closed chamber I don't think a sprayer or a mister will be necessary. You just pour water into the dirt in the corners and the humidity coming from the dirt will not be able to escape the air inside. There are a bunch of good threads about closed Chambers on this forum. You can type in closed chamber in the search bar above and choose a link to browse. Close Chambers are similar to incubators. There air is only circulated when you open it each day to feed and bathe them making it easier to maintain a certain temperature and humidity.
 

mastershake

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we have temps up to 84.9 at 85% humidity at the moment. hope thats not to hot. im using xpvc to build their new enclosure with sliding acrylic or glass doors. i just cant start on it till monday and want to get them growing as perfect as possible. currently they are in a "table" of sorts i quickly put together. and i see they should not be open topped so i made a makeshift cover for it till i get the new one done. this raised the humidity a ton which is awesome.

how do some sellers state they have female or male at such young ages? not questioning you guys more curious then anything. i see some stating its IS a female and yet only 3". as said you can incubate for them but im reading that is not any guarantee? just seems shady some selling as a set female like that. i only noticed this because she saw some of the ivory ones and was like OMG and we were looking at them.
 

teresaf

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They're guessing. By the temperature that they were hatched at. I guess they can have them medically sexed but that is expensive and hard to find people who could do it... Plus it's very dangerous on the tortoise especially at the small age
 

mastershake

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we went with one of the lifetime garden beds for now with the dome top. this way i can put a divider in the middle for a bit and i can separate them and they will each have a 2x4 section of the bed. as they get a bit bigger we will get another one and use one for each. that way while they are growing i will be building the outside enclosures. i have got the temps and humidity pretty well under control now also. and will get them the same in the lifetime enclosure before adding them to it. today they were outside for a while and LOVED IT!!!

thanks so much for all the help! i am of course still reading and loving learning about them.
 
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