Sulcata shell growth, from jagged to smooth/straight

Blakem

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I've recently faced a difficulty to create proper humidity levels for my 13 inch sulcata tortoise. She will be 3 in March. As most of you know, humidity creates smooth shell growth, among other reasons. I've raised my sulcata from a 2 inch baby according to this forum. I thought that i was still doing things properly. I thought that humidity and soaking did not need to be as high as they got larger. I was still soaking, spraying her shell and providing water and proper diet at all times.


I visited Tom this past summer and we talked about a topic I don't recall reading on the forum; jagged growth. here's what it looked like (first picture)




She's been growing like crazy lately, so I'm constantly seeing new growth on the caparace and the plastron.


Where I live, in the central valley, humidity only gets 20-30%. Before I just had a bowl of water in the heated enclosure. Now, I have two bowls of water on a shelf near the oil heater in the enclosure and I spray her shell 3-4 times a day with warm water. Ive been soaking her 2-3 times a week. It has only been about 3 weeks but I can see straight growth lines. I thought it would be much longer before I see straight clean lines. I'm very happy to see that it is working. the second picture is the new growth today.
 

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Blakem

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I just realized the new good growth picture isn't in the thread....here's another try. If anyone needs clarification please ask. I'm not super knowledgeable but my sulcata is healthy.
 

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Tom

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I used to think that if you could get them to 6" or so smooth, that they would just keep growing smooth, regardless of conditions. I was wrong.

Thanks for bringing attention to this subject and sharing your success story.
 

Yvonne G

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My Aldabrans were raised - not really DRY, but with no extra humidity or moisture. They are pyramided, and at over 200lbs, the scutes are still growing at an upwards slant. They are now 14 years old. I've been toying with the idea of placing a humidifier in their shed, but now that it's winter, I'm hesitant to do that.

After seeing your pictures, it gives me more 'push' to go ahead with more moisture in their shed. I'll try placing water out of reach and near the heat source, see if that helps any. Thanks for the idea.
 

Blakem

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My Aldabrans were raised - not really DRY, but with no extra humidity or moisture. They are pyramided, and at over 200lbs, the scutes are still growing at an upwards slant. They are now 14 years old. I've been toying with the idea of placing a humidifier in their shed, but now that it's winter, I'm hesitant to do that.

After seeing your pictures, it gives me more 'push' to go ahead with more moisture in their shed. I'll try placing water out of reach and near the heat source, see if that helps any. Thanks for the idea.

Do you remember that my girlfriend and I came to visit after the special Olympics softball tournament? I've seen your biggins, they're very fun. I know you have had many visitors. Glad I could give you that push to try it out!

Thanks for the compliments. Super easy fix on my end. I think the spraying helps a lot, among increasing humidity.
 

Dizisdalife

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Glad you caught on to this. My sulcata was kept without moisture in his night box when I first moved him outside. Over that winter some pyramiding returned and many of the scute margins were damaged. Keeping him in a moist environment has really help these conditions. The overall health of the shell has noticeably improved. I can raise the humidity in his night box to around 90% RH, but I just don't believe that is necessary. Unlike keeping them inside in a closed chamber, the night box doesn't have MVB lights and CHEs to constantly dry out the shell. The oill filled radiator that I use is a much more gentle, diffused heat. A couple of shallow water dishes and a low speed fan to circulate the air keeps the box at about 70% RH even on days (and nights) when the outside air is 20% RH or less. At times I place a damp sponge in front of the fan. That's when I see the humidity climb to 80% or even higher.
 

bouaboua

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Learn something again. I need to figure how to keep the humidity up in the winter enclosure for our sulcata.
 

Dizisdalife

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Learn something again. I need to figure how to keep the humidity up in the winter enclosure for our sulcata.
I think you will find it easier to maintain humidity in a night box than in a typical indoor enclosure. It depends on the heat source that you are using and how well the box is sealed.
 

Blakem

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Learn something again. I need to figure how to keep the humidity up in the winter enclosure for our sulcata.

You should be able to use this method easily. How was your night box assembled? Mine is insulated with the cotton candy type of insulation (fiber glass insulation). The oil heater is set up on a thermostat on 90-95. Sometimes I open my night box and I can feel the humidity come out when I open the lid.
 

Blakem

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Glad you caught on to this. My sulcata was kept without moisture in his night box when I first moved him outside. Over that winter some pyramiding returned and many of the scute margins were damaged. Keeping him in a moist environment has really help these conditions. The overall health of the shell has noticeably improved. I can raise the humidity in his night box to around 90% RH, but I just don't believe that is necessary. Unlike keeping them inside in a closed chamber, the night box doesn't have MVB lights and CHEs to constantly dry out the shell. The oill filled radiator that I use is a much more gentle, diffused heat. A couple of shallow water dishes and a low speed fan to circulate the air keeps the box at about 70% RH even on days (and nights) when the outside air is 20% RH or less. At times I place a damp sponge in front of the fan. That's when I see the humidity climb to 80% or even higher.
Thanks for your input on your method! The fan is a cheap and nifty idea, along with the sponge. Glad we can all contribute ideas that work for us and the health of our animals.
 

Blakem

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"Blake m, post: 993807, member: 17475"]Thanks for your input on your method! The fan is a cheap and nifty idea, along with the sponge. Glad we can all contribute ideas that work for us and the health of our animals.

The oil heater is a really simple heat source. The oil does not burn, so it doesn't need to be replaced. I have a wood barrier around mine to keep from burning my tortoise. They're not supposed to heat so hot that it can harm badly, but I don't want to even try that route out.
 

bouaboua

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You should be able to use this method easily. How was your night box assembled? Mine is insulated with the cotton candy type of insulation (fiber glass insulation). The oil heater is set up on a thermostat on 90-95. Sometimes I open my night box and I can feel the humidity come out when I open the lid.
This is what I have. Also insulated wall and all double panel window and door.

028.JPG 036 (7).JPG

California always very dry (15~30% ). We have 3~4 water plate/dish in it, but still at 19%.

I'm thinking putting a humidifier in to see what happen? But we will have rain all week next week.......Let me see how the rain will change the humidity inside.
 

Dizisdalife

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This is what I have. Also insulated wall and all double panel window and door.

View attachment 106943 View attachment 106944

California always very dry (15~30% ). We have 3~4 water plate/dish in it, but still at 19%.

I'm thinking putting a humidifier in to see what happen? But we will have rain all week next week.......Let me see how the rain will change the humidity inside.
What a beautiful house for your tortoise. The volume that you have there might indeed warrant a humidifier. Leaving that sliding patio door open will let most of the moist air out, or let it in when it does rain. You may be able to create a humid hide within the house that helps your tortoise. Or you could make a small tortoise door in one of the solid walls and leave the patio door closed most of the time.
 

Blakem

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This is what I have. Also insulated wall and all double panel window and door.

View attachment 106943 View attachment 106944

California always very dry (15~30% ). We have 3~4 water plate/dish in it, but still at 19%.

I'm thinking putting a humidifier in to see what happen? But we will have rain all week next week.......Let me see how the rain will change the humidity inside.
That is a beautiful housing unit. Does your Windows have caulking to prevent the release of heat/humidity?
 
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