The End Of Pyramiding

mintybum

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theyre about 3"
Yes I read that its part of their make-up kinda from how theyre kept from very young, I bought these guys at 1 year old I do need to improve the humidity I feel. Always a problem in the uk.
My 13 yr old's shell is fine so im doing something right you just so so many horro stories its slmost the norm to have pyramiding on them now a days

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IRTehDuckie said:
after skimming over this thread, i see i need to change a lot about my tortoises houses. I know everybody thinks they come from the desert, what does humidity matter? btu you are right, about the burrows.. they ARE so far down its always humid there, and they spend a lot of time there.. My tortoise has slighty pyramiding on the shell, just little bumps, nothing huge, but after seeing this, i definitely need to get stuff straight.

my tort is 2 and a half, and we keep her outside all day, bring her in at night, at night the humidity is about20-50% depending on the weather outside, and temps never get below 73 degrees. during the day we pop her outside, and temps range much more from 60 to 90, (its michigan, what can i say? haha) but humitidy out there is usually high, about 70 to 80.

Is there anything different i should be doing? I know for a fact now i have to make the appropriate shelter for my sulcatas.
Hi redfoots arent from the desert lol, theyre from the amazon where is damp and humid. id says you humidity is fine, 70-80 is great do you have hose the run down keep it damp for them?
im no expert, still learning myself.
 

BK-JAY

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No up-to-date pictures yet awww ok I guess you'll get around to it when get a minute can't wait to see them
 

Tom

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BK-JAY said:
No up-to-date pictures yet awww ok I guess you'll get around to it when get a minute can't wait to see them
I tried to get pics yesterday, but they never came up above ground. They were fat and happy from the previous days big cactus meal and it was really hot and windy, so the lazy tortoises just stayed underground where their weather is always perfect. I didn't feel like reaching in to grab them out of their hole. Trey is really too big to pick up one handed anymore.

I'll get some pics ASAP.
 

Tom

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They are now three years old, and they are both doing well. I'm pretty sure they are both female too. I didn't get weights, but Tuck is now 12" long and Trey is 14". For those that are new to the forum and don't want to go back and read 42 pages, these were my first tortoises that I raised with the "wet routine" from literally the day they hatched. They were raised in an open topped enclosure. I had it mostly covered, but humidity was never stable and never where I wanted it to be. The room was usually around 50% and inside the enclosure was usually a bit higher. These guys look good enough to make me happy, but you can see they are not perfectly smooth. My Sudans were started in a closed chamber once I got them, and they are growing considerably smoother than these two. Its all a learning process. I started this thread in an attempt to silence those that called this method of simulating the African rainy season "unnatural". They said that the tortoises would get a respiratory infection and/or shell rot from all the humidity. I showed them pics of Daisy, who was my first tortoise ever to get the "wet routine", but still they argued. I'm still waiting for that shell rot and RI to develop, but so far, after three full years, I haven't seen any sign of either yet... My opponents in this argument got quieter and quieter as this thread progressed.

Soon they will be moving into the 7000 square foot adult enclosure. Here they are:




 

AZtortMom

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Beautiful torts, Tom. Thank you for sharing [SMILING FACE WITH OPEN MOUTH]


Life is good
 

Yellow Turtle

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Tom said:
They look smooth enough to make me really happy if I care for them myself.

I'm curious with the above pictures. Are they their soaking containers or containers being put in their enclosure for them to self soaking?
 

Tom

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Yellow Turtle said:
They look smooth enough to make me really happy if I care for them myself.
I'm curious with the above pictures. Are they their soaking containers or containers being put in their enclosure for them to self soaking?
They are great big concrete mixing tubs that I use for soaking the big ones. Here is an old pic with some of my adults in them.

 

Laura

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so now your next experiment should be rainy season and amount of food.. I wonder if overfeeding causes they to have growth spurts... hence pyramid.
 

Tom

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These guys have free fed their whole lives. My Sudan's too.

From what I can tell, if conditions are correct, they don't pyramid regardless of growth rate. If conditions are not correct they will pyramid no matter how slow you grow them. My adults demonstrated this one for me.
 

BK-JAY

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They look great Tom thanks for the pictures and the on going knowledge you grace us with. can't wait to see them at 4 years old
 

IRTehDuckie

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Re: RE: The End Of Pyramiding

Tom said:
What size is your tortoise? Age doesn't matter. Once they get to about 8-10" they will start smoothing out regardless of humidity. It's the first few months and the first few inches of growth that are the most critical.
I didnt know that at all, I still have a little one about 4 or 5 inches though. So I still plan on taking all of your advice. Thanks again!

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tortoise007

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Hey Tom, I was wondering... There is all this talk about stoping pyramiding and all... but what's so bad about it??? Other than showing that the tortoise may or may not be slightly dehydrated, is there anything harmful about it? I mean does it harm the tortoise in any what soever? There are plenty of tortoises out there that aren't dehydrated but still have slight pyramiding. Unless the tortoise is quite noticeable pyramided and when you see it you think, "Man, that thing needs help!", Is there anything wrong with minor pyramiding??? Or is it just something that people like to say: "My tortoise is pyramid free!"?

So I guess what I'm trying to say is, what's the big deal about minor pyramiding? I get that heavy pyramiding shows that the tortoise is unhealthy and all, but what's so bad about minor pyramiding Other than it looks bad?
[hr]
BTW... do you still have scooter, Bert, Delores and Daisy? Your first four sulcatas? If you do I'd love to see some pics, so you can say: "these are my first ever sulcatas!"
 

Tom

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Pyramided bone is porous. Non pyramided bone is dense, relatively thin and heavy. When you look at it in cross section, the pyramided bone looks like a big sponge. Imagine if your skull was made of porous lumps instead of the dense correctly formed bone that it is currently made up of.

Does this hurt anything in a practical sense? No. Not really, unless its pretty severe and associated with MBD. The big deal to me is that they don't do this in the wild. Wild sulcatas are smooth. All the wild leopards I've seen in the wild were smooth. All the Testudo in the wild are smooth. There are a couple of species where some mild pyramiding might occur in the wild, like the Tent tortoise (Psammobates) from South Africa and possibly some Indian stars, but most do not. To me this indicates that "we", the people who keep these tortoise here in captivity, are doing something terribly "WRONG". I figured out at least some of the problem. People were keeping tortoises that in the wild would hatch into a wet, hot, rainy, humid environment, in desert like conditions. They were doing this based on incorrect, but somewhat logical assumptions.

There is much more to this whole thing that needs to be studied and tested, but at least for the time being, people can now grow a captive tortoise that comes pretty close to looking like a wild one of the same species. The shell may not be weathered and abraded as much, but at least it has the same general shape and profile.

Your question is a good one. Ask more. :)
 

tortoise007

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Tom said:
Pyramided bone is porous. Non pyramided bone is dense, relatively thin and heavy. When you look at it in cross section, the pyramided bone looks like a big sponge. Imagine if your skull was made of porous lumps instead of the dense correctly formed bone that it is currently made up of.

Does this hurt anything in a practical sense? No. Not really, unless its pretty severe and associated with MBD. The big deal to me is that they don't do this in the wild. Wild sulcatas are smooth. All the wild leopards I've seen in the wild were smooth. All the Testudo in the wild are smooth. There are a couple of species where some mild pyramiding might occur in the wild, like the Tent tortoise (Psammobates) from South Africa and possibly some Indian stars, but most do not. To me this indicates that "we", the people who keep these tortoise here in captivity, are doing something terribly "WRONG". I figured out at least some of the problem. People were keeping tortoises that in the wild would hatch into a wet, hot, rainy, humid environment, in desert like conditions. They were doing this based on incorrect, but somewhat logical assumptions.

There is much more to this whole thing that needs to be studied and tested, but at least for the time being, people can now grow a captive tortoise that comes pretty close to looking like a wild one of the same species. The shell may not be weathered and abraded as much, but at least it has the same general shape and profile.

Your question is a good one. Ask more. :)

Thank you! Very interesting!:D Glad to know that.
 

TommyZ

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Hey Tom,

I was thinking since pyramiding is directly correlated to moisture and humidity do you think there's any chance that using Vita shell on a hatchling would be beneficial? It seems just like a general moisturizer to me so I have been putting it on my hatchling weekly, I posted pics on a separate thread recently and everyone seemed to say that the shell was growing in quite smooth with no early signs of pyramiding. I do still struggle a bit with humidity, it hovers in the 50 to 70 percent range as opposed to the 80 percent typically required and recommended for a cherry head hatchling. I am wondering what your thoughts are on using Vita shell or some other lotion or moisturizer type to aid in stopping pyramiding early on? Thanks for having my input.

Tom

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Tom

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I did a whole thread on this a couple of years ago. I found it made no difference, but it was only a very small trial on three tortoises. Some people swear by it and claim great results from it.

Personally, I'm pretty neutral on it. I don't think it does any harm, and in some cases I think it might offer some benefit.
 

thereptileenthusiast

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Very interesting thread. Most large sulcatas here in sunny, humid south florida have a small bump in the center of each scute about the size of a typical pyramid from a 5-6 inch tortoise. I assume that is the size most people get tired of them tearing up the indoor (dry)enclosure and move them to the backyard. Smaller ones like to create a depression under a bush or dense vegetation where it is nice and humid and spend the hottest part of the day there. Adults create burrows and also spend the hottest part of the day there. Most will sprint to their favorite grazing spot when it starts to rain and eat all the soaking wet vegetation they can get. Mine love being out and about during light rain.
One thing many people outside of South Florida don't realize is our winters are very dry. Wet season corresponds to the hot summers. "Winter" is typically in the 70's and we scarcely get rain. Your lawn will actually go dormant if you don't irrigate and look like dry hay. My sulcatas will still spend just as much time in the burrows even though it is cooler, so apparently they enjoy the extra humidity there. They still prefer to come out in the early AM regardless of temps since the grass is wet with dew.
As was mentioned, sulcatas aren't found roaming the barren sandunes of the Sahara. They live in the marginal areas where the desert gives way to the savannah and there is abundant vegetation. Have you ever walked through the subdesert in the early AM? The vegetation is soaking wet. That is when tortoises are out and about, eating the wet vegetation and no doubt getting nice and wet as they pass through the wet vegetation.
Just my 2 cents
 

Ansh

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The more I think about it, the more in feel that the dry method for raising hatchlings is completely unfounded. Even in the simplest sense, an animal that carries most of its bony skeleton around it, must need to keep it moist in order for the growth to be uniform. Drying out of the outer keratin layer would only restrict the growth of the underlying bone resulting in the 'pyramided' appearance.
 

-EJ

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Just one little important correction... pyramided bone is not always porous... which is a sign of MBD. A pyramided tortoise does not always have MBD.

Also... a humid environment benefits ALL tortoises regardless of size.
 
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