The End Of Pyramiding

Tom

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Tom! I tracked you down from a YouTube video and now on here, I need help with my 2 young sulcatas. I have had them about a year and 6 months, they are probablaly 2 to 3 years old maybe. I rescued them from a lady in Northern California, they were kept in a glass tank inside with no lights and nothing but a slippery glass floor to walk on. Upon getting me they both had severe pyramiding, both had super soft shells, and both had flat back legs, as they dragged themselves around in that tank. So time has gone by but I don't know what else I can do to help them... they both live outside, they have a 10'x10' pen with freshly grown sulcatafood.com grass seed, small river rocks in patches to help them walk better, and a box I built for them with a heat lamp to keep it about 70 degrees in the winter time, I am located in so cal, oh and yes a water dish as well. So in that time their shells have become hard again, they are out everyday getting sun and exercise unless it's raining, I give them turnip greens with calcium powder 1 to 2 times a week, and try to soak them 1 to 2 times a week. I have been so worried about them, and I don't know what else to do. The pyramids are still there, both shells have hardened up nicely, the smaller one walks normal now, the larger one still drags himself around but has improved a lot, the rocks really force him to walk correctly. They both had a vet visit when I got them since they had a respatory infection, running nose and eyes... but they have been in good health since. I am probably forgetting some details but that's the majority of my story. any help you could possible offer? I would greatly appreciate it. The smaller one is Barnaby, the large one is Harold.

Sounds like you are doing a pretty good job. Here is what I would suggest:

I would get rid of the heat lamp and replace it with a Radiant heat panel and a Kane heat mat all on one thermostat. I'd set the thermostat to 85 in winter and 75 in summer.

I'd soak 2-3 times a week.

I'd make the pen 3 times that size.

I'd separate the two. Tortoises don't do well in pairs.

Here is some more info in case you haven't found this all yet:
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/how-to-raise-a-healthy-sulcata-or-leopard-version-2-0.79895/
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes.45180/

Here is an example of one of my night boxes with the type of heating I suggest. Over head lamp and ceramic heating elements desiccate the carapace terribly. Its worse on larger ones, but still not good for smaller ones like yours. This carapace desiccation tends to worsen the pyramiding and in some cases actually damages, or "slow burns", the keratin layer on the top of the carapace.
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/another-night-box-thread.88966/
 

JohnnyDigester

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Thank you so much for all the help. I really like your house you built, very well done, mine are similar in design just taller to allow my heat lamp with ceramic bulb to be high enough to avoid burning them, they do the job of heating the box but I will look into the heat pads I like the way you set them up. Thank you so much for your help and I will hope for the best for my little ones, time and patience will tell. At least I can find some peace and joy knowing my torts are way better off than they were. Not to go off on another topic but they have been together this whole time, they get along well. I know they are solitary animals, maybe in the future as they get bigger I will separate their current house. Thank you so much again and continue to keep up the great work you are doing with these animals.
 

glitch4200

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@Tom I think this is huge. Brand new Research literature on pyramiding in tortoises and it's causes. This is as recent as December 2015.
Taken from this journal.
1457535594192.jpg

This article name is:
1457535613412.jpg

I just shared this in my other thread. They do some very groundbreaking research in my opinion and smash alot of old outdated theories.

The full article can be found here:
http://www.exoticpetmedicine.com/article/S1557-5063(15)00185-8/fulltext

Let me know what you think.
 

Yvonne G

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I have a hard time concentrating when reading scientific stuff, so was only able to skim the article. Did they have any smooth tortoises as a result of the study? Or were some just less pyramided than others? I have actually raised perfectly smooth babies using the humid method.
 

JohnnyDigester

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I read the article and all the sub sections of the study... my brain hurts, English please! What I take from this study was night heat was not good and increased pyramiding? Humidity and diet had no effect on either group? Maybe someone else can clarify, too many big words... From everything I have read it seems multiple factors cause it, light, exercise, heat, humidity, lack of calcium, seem to be the main ones. My 2 juveniles I rescued are ruined from being stuck in a glass tank most of their lives with no light or proper substrate, who knows what they were fed. I lean more towards humidity proper heat diet and exercise to be the main problem for these guys, in my opinion. And furthermore with Tom producing healthy smooth baby torts using his humidity method with proper diet and exercise light etc.... I am almost shocked they said humidity had no effect on them? unless I am reading it wrong... time for another cup of coffee...
 

Yvonne G

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Well, I didn't see any pictures of actual "smooth" tortoises, and my guess is that the group with less night heat pyramided LESS than the other group, but really wasn't smooth at all.

The study has benefit. There probably should be a slight drop in night time temperature. When the sun goes down, it has to cool off a bit, even in Africa. But those of us who use the hot and humid method, have to be careful to not allow that drop to be too much. Cool and humid is not a good thing for babies.
 

Tom

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Well, I didn't see any pictures of actual "smooth" tortoises, and my guess is that the group with less night heat pyramided LESS than the other group, but really wasn't smooth at all.

The study has benefit. There probably should be a slight drop in night time temperature. When the sun goes down, it has to cool off a bit, even in Africa. But those of us who use the hot and humid method, have to be careful to not allow that drop to be too much. Cool and humid is not a good thing for babies.

Haven't read the study yet, but my ambient in my enclosures drops to about 80 at night and creeps up into the low 90s most days.
 

Anyfoot

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@Tom I think this is huge. Brand new Research literature on pyramiding in tortoises and it's causes. This is as recent as December 2015.
Taken from this journal.
View attachment 167218

This article name is:
View attachment 167219

I just shared this in my other thread. They do some very groundbreaking research in my opinion and smash alot of old outdated theories.

The full article can be found here:
http://www.exoticpetmedicine.com/article/S1557-5063(15)00185-8/fulltext

Let me know what you think.

Am I understanding the set up correctly.

Room temp at night is 17c and in the day 29c.
Treatment subjects had a heat mat on 24/7 connected to a thermostat.
Controlled subjects had a heat mat on at night only.

All subjects had heat mats on at night from 1900 to 0700.
 

ashleighmaylouise

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image.jpeg Hi, I'm new to keeping a tortoise and I'm worried about pyramiding, I have a Redfoot tortoise called Rafael and I've had him for just over 1 week. However, I have no idea how old he is, but apparently he's 2 years old and from what I've seen on the Internet, he doesn't look it. I do mist his viv twice on a daily basis and I bathe him in warm water for 5-10 mins daily. I also live in the UK, England, so as you might know the weather is never really too clever outside for him to be out there on a daily basis or even permanently.
I was wondering when I do mist how much should I do each time and so on. Same with how much food to give him daily, I have briefly read through this page briefly and you find that people with personal experience have better advice.
I'm worried I'm doing everything wrong, the more I read, the more I get anxious that I'm not keeping him healthy
 

Tom

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They baby has not been kept in the correct conditions. Since I don't keep that species, you'd be better served by getting specific advice from someone who does. Pop over to the RedFoot section and look up some names of experienced keepers.
 

jockma

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I have a pyramided RF. Make a topic over in the RF section and I'll answer any questions you have.

I was told mine was "probably 6 months old" despite him being twice the size of yours, I wouldn't be surprised if they gave you an inaccurate age. Thankfully size matters more than age when it comes to care.
 

MadieM

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This guy is giving two torts away because he doesn't have the time to take care of them. When I asked him what he feeds them he said "fruit and all sorts of things! they're like little pigs!" my stomach churned and i then asked him what does he keep them inside? he said he has never let them outside but want's to build them a little house, for now he has them both in a terrarium tank that they're both outgrowing and the medium used is rabbit pellets. As of today I am going to build them both their own separate pens and rescue them tomorrow but do their shells look okay?
 

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saginawhxc

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I'm not the forum expert or anything, but despite the fact that their shells are decently pyramided for that age, I think they look okay. I think they are small enough that if you introduce proper husbandry you can introduce proper growth from here on out. I think they will be okay.
 

Tidgy's Dad

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This guy is giving two torts away because he doesn't have the time to take care of them. When I asked him what he feeds them he said "fruit and all sorts of things! they're like little pigs!" my stomach churned and i then asked him what does he keep them inside? he said he has never let them outside but want's to build them a little house, for now he has them both in a terrarium tank that they're both outgrowing and the medium used is rabbit pellets. As of today I am going to build them both their own separate pens and rescue them tomorrow but do their shells look okay?
Bit bumpy, but nothing to panic about.
They're actually rather pretty! :)
 

MadieM

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Thanks guys! I've seen some gnarly pyramiding at their worst on the web. :( Can you guys tell what their ages are or do i have to measure them?
 

Tidgy's Dad

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You cannot tell the age of a tortoise unless you have it's hatch date.
Measuring doesn't really help as they can grow at vastly differing rates depending on conditions kept in, diet, health and genetics.
These are not hatchlings, obviously, but don't look full grown either.
 

MadieM

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hmmm....fingers crossed he know's when their hatch date was. Said he got them from a breeder and they were both little babies. Also can male and female be together? either way I still want to build their own pens. Thank you for helping me :)
 

Tidgy's Dad

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Pleasure, but we may have to get this transferred off the pyramiding thread.
Best to keep them separated. These tortoises are territorial and don't need or want friends. They will bully, maybe fight and possibly injure or even kill each other. A male can also 'pester' a female to death if she can't escape.
 

JohnnyDigester

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they look great to me, they don't look like the 2 I rescued so ya... mine were kept in a tank as well with no lights and newspaper... who knows what they ate.
This guy is giving two torts away because he doesn't have the time to take care of them. When I asked him what he feeds them he said "fruit and all sorts of things! they're like little pigs!" my stomach churned and i then asked him what does he keep them inside? he said he has never let them outside but want's to build them a little house, for now he has them both in a terrarium tank that they're both outgrowing and the medium used is rabbit pellets. As of today I am going to build them both their own separate pens and rescue them tomorrow but do their shells look okay?
 

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