The End Of Pyramiding

DeanS

SULCATA OASIS
10 Year Member!
Joined
May 6, 2010
Messages
4,405
Location (City and/or State)
SoCal
I can't tell if that's Trey or Tuck...but he sure looks good! Nice work buddy! I was just gonna call you today or tomorrow to find out how the burrows were working! BTW, I saw one of your other posts...that is GARGANTUA in your avatar!
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,486
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
DeanS said:
I can't tell if that's Trey or Tuck...but he sure looks good! Nice work buddy! I was just gonna call you today or tomorrow to find out how the burrows were working! BTW, I saw one of your other posts...that is GARGANTUA in your avatar!

That's Trey in the update photo, and Blondie as my avatar. Burrow is working fantastically. So stable down there. I added a bucket of water last spring to increase humidity. It works great and acts as a bit of a heat sink too.
 

RedfootsRule

New Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Aug 13, 2012
Messages
938
Location (City and/or State)
Miami, Florida
http://www.tortoisetrust.org/articles/pyramiding.html

Has anyone else read this?
Seems humidity and hydration are not the only effect on pyramiding - more of a treat the symptoms type deal. Everyone seems to use the argument with semi-arid species that they have "humid burrows of 80-90%" in the wild. Well, in this article, they actually TESTED that theory in the wild and...Well, see for yourself!

Not to argue with you Tom. What you have done here is fantastic - humidity and hydration are definitely a huge role in pyramiding - I just hope people understand dryness is not the only culprit.
 

Yellow Turtle

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2012
Messages
1,608
Location (City and/or State)
Indonesia
That's a pretty old article. I've read it and I believe many people in this forum as well.

After reading lots of threads and articles, the concept for heat, hydration, humidity and diet always comes up top for pyramiding prevention. It is pretty old concept, although I think using closed chamber practically makes things simpler and more controllable.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,486
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
RedfootsRule said:
http://www.tortoisetrust.org/articles/pyramiding.html

Has anyone else read this?
Seems humidity and hydration are not the only effect on pyramiding - more of a treat the symptoms type deal. Everyone seems to use the argument with semi-arid species that they have "humid burrows of 80-90%" in the wild. Well, in this article, they actually TESTED that theory in the wild and...Well, see for yourself!

Not to argue with you Tom. What you have done here is fantastic - humidity and hydration are definitely a huge role in pyramiding - I just hope people understand dryness is not the only culprit.

Oh I've read it. We had a big debate over it here. Its about greeks in the wild during a 14 day "test" span. Totally different thing for sulcatas and leopards. I challenge anyone to raise a smooth sulcata where it never has more than 30-40% humidity. No one that wants to argue can show me pics of a smooth tortoise raised the dry way. I'm not talking adults, since they all smooth out as they get bigger. I'm talking 100-1000 gram sulcatas. The only ones I have seen that are smooth are ones that haven't grown.

For sulcatas dryness is the main culprit. I can feed them wrong, deprive them of UV, keep them in small indoor enclosures and still grow them smooth with humidity and hydration. (I would NEVER do this, but I have seen it many times.) By contrast, I can feed them perfectly, give them correct temps, lots of UV and outdoor exercise, but if they are kept dry, with no humid hide, the WILL pyramid. If you don't believe me, take a look at my adults.

There are many other factors to raising a smooth HEALTHY tortoise, but you can't do smooth without some water one way or another.
 

surie_the_tortoise

New Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2012
Messages
220
Location (City and/or State)
findlay,ohio
is there a set amount of food you feed your sulcata (say 1 cup daily as an example)? for the record im a big believer in the humidity concept . just curious if you had them on a set amounth for ages. also whats your thoughts on mazuri being fed to sulcata?
 

RedfootsRule

New Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Aug 13, 2012
Messages
938
Location (City and/or State)
Miami, Florida
The article states the test was done with over 18,000 data points over a 12-month period. Certinaly not something to dismiss, IMHO. But yes, it was just done in the natural habitat of greeks, and leopards and sulcatas MAY be a lot different. Honestly, I'll not pretend to know one way or another what its like in africa; never seen actual data on the AH in their burrows in the wild.

Like I said, obviously humidity and hydration are a major effect on the smoothness. But bone development has a bit to do with it to. The article talks a lot about the thickening of keratin from dryness putting pressure on the bones, etc. etc.

I believe you Tom. Humidity + hydration = smooth tortoise. I've seen more then enough to believe it; but its not the ONLY way to treat it. Sure, it can keep them smooth, but keeping the bones underneath healthy and developing correctly will have a lot to do with it also.

No UV and wrong diet = MBD, thus a "pyramided" tortoise =P. I know what you meant, sorry I couldn't resist :).

Once again, I'm not in any way trying to say dryness doesn't have a lot to do with smooth tortoises...I'm just saying it isn't EVERYTHING.
 

Tortus

Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2012
Messages
970
Location (City and/or State)
Maryland
RedfootsRule said:
http://www.tortoisetrust.org/articles/pyramiding.html

Has anyone else read this?
Seems humidity and hydration are not the only effect on pyramiding - more of a treat the symptoms type deal. Everyone seems to use the argument with semi-arid species that they have "humid burrows of 80-90%" in the wild. Well, in this article, they actually TESTED that theory in the wild and...Well, see for yourself!

Not to argue with you Tom. What you have done here is fantastic - humidity and hydration are definitely a huge role in pyramiding - I just hope people understand dryness is not the only culprit.

A paragraph from that link made me wonder something:

A further important factor is that wild terrestrial tortoises are continually wearing and abrading excess keratin from the scutes in the course of normal life. Unlike turtles, they do not shed old keratin - they wear it away. They are abraded by coarse vegetation, by impact with rocks, by wind-born sand particles, and by the constant burying, digging and excavating they engage in. While estivating or hibernating they are not motionless. They move, surrounded by highly abrasive particles in the soil. Also, micro-organisms in the soil gradually degrade the outer surface of the scutes. As such, they are subject to continual wearing (and resulting thinning) of the scutes. In the vast majority of captive situations (and especially so in indoor maintenance) this factor is totally overlooked by keepers. One result is that the keratin continues to accumulate even if humidity is not an issue. Where very low humidity is also present, the effect is compounded.

Since the article seems to claim the wearing down of scutes is a factor that creates smooth wild tortoises, can captive tortoises that show signs of pyramiding be filed smooth? Is the top of the "pyramid" down to the base pure keratin with no flesh that can be removed?

I know that's probably a silly question but I've seen pics of tortoises that didn't appear to have any growth rings at all, yet alone pyramiding, and I wondered if they were manually helped along.
 

RedfootsRule

New Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Aug 13, 2012
Messages
938
Location (City and/or State)
Miami, Florida
I honestly had that thought to Tortus, but I then got the picture of me, one of my tortoises, and an electric sander and...quickly dismissed the idea :).
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
89,051
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
No, I think that idea is all wet. I have several female tortoises that have been bred quite a bit. Their carapaces are worn in spots...where the male plastron rubs on the female carapace right above her tail; where each front foot of the male rubs on the front of the female's carapace. These spots are worn smooth and probably thin, and they are devoid of any coloration or patterning that may have been there in the first place. The smooth wild tortoises you see still have their patterns.

Another thing to consider is that the pyramids go up on the outside as well as on the inside. If you were to take your electric sander and grind them smooth, you would soon have holes in the shell.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,486
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California

RedfootsRule

New Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Aug 13, 2012
Messages
938
Location (City and/or State)
Miami, Florida
Tom, I was thinking about chersina angulata today, and it made me wonder...How do we stop pyramiding with them? Humidity is said to be their absolutely worst enemy....Is a humid hide enough, and does the humid hide not have negative health effects? Same with egyptians...Or with these more fragile, humidity-sensitive tortoises, do we have to rely on supporting proper bone growth instead of hydration and humidity?
Just a thought :)....
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,486
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
surie_the_tortoise said:
is there a set amount of food you feed your sulcata (say 1 cup daily as an example)? for the record im a big believer in the humidity concept . just curious if you had them on a set amounth for ages. also whats your thoughts on mazuri being fed to sulcata?

I let babies eat as much as they want. I the wild they hatch during the rainy season and are surrounded by as much food as they want. My preference, weather permitting, is to put them into a well planted enclosure with grasses and weeds and let them graze all day long on whatever they want.

Mazuri is a good food for them. It is balanced nutrition and a good way to insure they are getting all the nutrition they need. I feed it a couple of times a week.


RedfootsRule said:
Tom, I was thinking about chersina angulata today, and it made me wonder...How do we stop pyramiding with them? Humidity is said to be their absolutely worst enemy...q

Chersina angulata are reputedly difficult to keep alive in captivity. I think the same things said about them are said about other species. Incorrect speculation based on above ground temps and other weather data. There is a man who gave a presentation at the first TTPG conference in 2010 who has had tremendous success with the species and gets babies every year. He gave us his secret. He displayed a world map with several areas highlighted in red. He said, if you want to keep them alive move to one of these areas, put them in large secure outdoor pens and leave them alone. He lives in San Diego somewhat near the coast. No heat. Moderate humidity. Cold nights. Foggy sometimes. June gloom every year, etc... The highlighted areas on the map included the Mediterranean, southern CA one portion of Australia, and of course, South Africa. All areas that have a similar climate.

It seems that this species is not as adaptable as some. Sulcatas for example will thrive in FL, AZ, CA, OR, VA, MI, TX,.... You get the point. They will tolerate a wide variety of conditions, temps and humidity. For whatever reason, some species have a much narrower range of tolerance for "less than optimal" conditions.

I have no experience at all with Chersina or Egyptians, so I can't tell you what they need or how to grow them smooth. I can speculate based on my experience with other species that were said to be "sensitive" to humidity, but it would only be unbased speculation. Ask someone who breeds and has success with those species.
 

5.7

New Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2013
Messages
13
Tom said:
We've had some cold rainy weather lately. Tuck and Trey have been hiding out in their warm underground "burrow". I caught them above ground doing some grazing today. I have not weighed them for a while, but they are around 12" now.

equq8g.jpg

looks great how old is it?
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,486
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Hatched in May of 2010, at the beginning of this thread about them.
 

Love4tortoises

New Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2013
Messages
89
Location (City and/or State)
Mission Viejo, CA
I know all Sulcata's grow at different rates, but in your opinion, how much should they weigh at about 6 months?

I purchased my sulcata from a pet store in November and dont know its birth date. As of February 16th, 2013 he weighed 55 grams and is about 2.5 inches in length. Does this sound like he is growing or should he weigh more by now? I feel like all the other readings I have seen the torts weigh more by now...

Any helpful info on growth rates would be great! I want to make sure that he is growing at a healthy rate!!

Thank you, Tom!
 

Attachments

  • IMG_1629.JPG
    IMG_1629.JPG
    1.3 MB · Views: 98

paludarium

Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2011
Messages
57
Location (City and/or State)
Taiwan
Tom said:
We've had some cold rainy weather lately. Tuck and Trey have been hiding out in their warm underground "burrow". I caught them above ground doing some grazing today. I have not weighed them for a while, but they are around 12" now.

equq8g.jpg
Wow. I love this thread and the results.


RedfootsRule said:
http://www.tortoisetrust.org/articles/pyramiding.html

Has anyone else read this?
Seems humidity and hydration are not the only effect on pyramiding - more of a treat the symptoms type deal. Everyone seems to use the argument with semi-arid species that they have "humid burrows of 80-90%" in the wild. Well, in this article, they actually TESTED that theory in the wild and...Well, see for yourself!

Not to argue with you Tom. What you have done here is fantastic - humidity and hydration are definitely a huge role in pyramiding - I just hope people understand dryness is not the only culprit.
I don't know why some authors missed this important study? The following research is one of the must read articles regarding humidity and water balance:
Water balance in neonate and juvenile desert tortoises, Gopherus agassizii

The abstract of this research along unveils many interesting facts.
Such as "in controlled laboratory conditions, rates of body mass loss which reflect net evaporative water losses, were independent of the difference in vapor density between the animal and its environment." Also " total evaporation rate was independent of burrow conditions, but tortoises in the longer, more humid burrows had higher rates of water vapor input and total water input than did those in shorter burrows. Thus, tortoises in long burrows lost body mass more slowly in response to a higher humidity, in contrast to neonates under laboratory conditions."

Ambient humidity is not as effective as burrows or "humid hides" to prevent the neonates or juveniles from losing water.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,486
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Love4tortoises said:
I know all Sulcata's grow at different rates, but in your opinion, how much should they weigh at about 6 months?

I purchased my sulcata from a pet store in November and dont know its birth date. As of February 16th, 2013 he weighed 55 grams and is about 2.5 inches in length. Does this sound like he is growing or should he weigh more by now? I feel like all the other readings I have seen the torts weigh more by now...

Any helpful info on growth rates would be great! I want to make sure that he is growing at a healthy rate!!

Thank you, Tom!

Your weight sounds fine for a 3.5 month old. Steady growth is what you are after and you've got it. They start at around 35 grams. Make sure your temps are good, day and night, and feed that little bugger. Don't worry. He'll be giant soon enough.

Do you feed Mazuri? Its a good food as part of a varied diet for young ones. Helps them put on some size and get past that delicate baby stage sooner.
 

Love4tortoises

New Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2013
Messages
89
Location (City and/or State)
Mission Viejo, CA
Tom said:
Love4tortoises said:
I know all Sulcata's grow at different rates, but in your opinion, how much should they weigh at about 6 months?

I purchased my sulcata from a pet store in November and dont know its birth date. As of February 16th, 2013 he weighed 55 grams and is about 2.5 inches in length. Does this sound like he is growing or should he weigh more by now? I feel like all the other readings I have seen the torts weigh more by now...

Any helpful info on growth rates would be great! I want to make sure that he is growing at a healthy rate!!

Thank you, Tom!

Your weight sounds fine for a 3.5 month old. Steady growth is what you are after and you've got it. They start at around 35 grams. Make sure your temps are good, day and night, and feed that little bugger. Don't worry. He'll be giant soon enough.

Do you feed Mazuri? Its a good food as part of a varied diet for young ones. Helps them put on some size and get past that delicate baby stage sooner.

Great! I am so happy to hear that! :) I just learned from reading on the forum about the Mazuri food, so I actually ordered some and I am waiting for it to be delivered. :) I have finally mastered the tank conditions and have seen a huge improvement in his activity since figuring it out. Thank you so much for starting this thread about pyramiding, it is amazing! :) I will post pics once my little one grows a bit more!
Thanks again!
 

mintybum

Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2011
Messages
53
Location (City and/or State)
Grimsby, Lincolnshire, UK
Hi
I have a 14 year old cherry head and two three year old redfoots, ive just noticed that one ooks like its showing signs of pyramiding, the othe rthree year old is ok as is my oldest, is there any reason for this?
Julie
 
Top