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Tortoise ID and does it need a set of wheels?

Discussion in 'Advanced Tortoise Topics' started by ShireKim, Aug 14, 2018.

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  1. ShireKim

    ShireKim New Member

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    Hi all, my first post here :). So quick background on "LilOne", I acquired LilOne two years ago as he/she was surrendered to a Vet Clinic after being found caught up in Chicken Wire in Phoenix. The lady called me as she knew I had another rescue tortoise so took in LilOne. He/she has been great, never had an issue, eats well, lives outside in an atrium all year until the lows drop into the 60's and then LilOne comes back inside till its safe to go back outside again (I read young tortoises don't do well below 60 so that is the basis for coming inside till the lows return to above 60). So for question one, LilOne was thought to be a Sulcata as it does resemble one but it has grown minimally in two years, it is still just at 4 inches long. So is there a potential it is not a Sulcata, or a Sulcata cross or ??? Its shell seems healthy (solid and hard), eats great and lots, just no growth. So thinking if you all agree it is a Sulcata taking to the vet for a parasite check.

    So the second part is the back legs. Again they said LilOne was hung up in Chicken Wire, but when LilOne came to me there was no obvious wounds, everything was healed and the legs are what they are. It has just a stub for the left leg, and the right leg, it doesn't walk on the base of its foot, it walks on its leg. I've got a video of LilOne walking that will try and get uploaded tonight. LilOne gets around just fine, is able to fully lift its shell off the ground and can walk quite fast when it wants too :). So I've been debating about getting a set of wheels for the back end to help it move better but I was delaying till it got some size on it, but now I'm not sure it is going to grow? Could these injuries whenever they occurred have stunted growth? I presumed it was a baby when I got it but maybe it is older? Any help anyone can provide would be much appreciated! Excited to learn more from the vastness of knowledge here! I have another rescue which is a 1/2 Desert Tortoise 1/2 Russian, and just acquired a baby Leopard :). LilOne lives with Eli (the Desert cross) and the Leopard has its own enclosure :). Any help is welcome, excited to learn :). Kim

    LilOne3.jpg LilOne5.jpg LilOne9.jpg LilOne10.jpg LilOne12.jpg LilOne15.jpg
    LilOne3.jpg LilOne5.jpg LilOne9.jpg LilOne10.jpg LilOne12.jpg LilOne15.jpg
  2. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    I would be VERY interested in seeing pictures of your desert/russian tortoise. I didn't think such a breeding cross was possible.

    Animals are much better at tuning out pain than us humans are, but that doesn't mean they don't feel pain. Your tortoise must be in pain every time he has to step down on that broken leg. It would have been more humane for the vet to either set the break in a cast, or remove the lower part of the limb. Yes, he does need some sort of mechanical support. Eventually, walking on leg skin instead of foot skin is going to cause raw skin. The pain he's experiencing while walking could be one reason he's not growing.

    Normally I wouldn't advocate keeping different species of tortoise together, but as you've been keeping them for a while, I'll just advise you to be very vigilant, and to keep it in mind that if one of them gets sick, it MIGHT be because of different species being kept together.

    I'm wondering if LilOne might be a Chaco tortoise??? @Markw84
    bouaboua likes this.
  3. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Your little one is a sulcata. I don't see anything to make me think its a hybrid. Most breeders start them all wrong and most people house them all wrong. They are not a desert species and overly dry conditions harm or kill them. They hatch and emerge at the start of the tropical monsoon rainy season over there. Eventually, when the dry season returns to their grassland and forest edge environments, they go under ground to escape the heat and dryness. Only in foreign lands do they walk around above ground like ours do. Over there, they spend 95-98% of their lives deep underground. The result of all this good intention but incorrect care and conditions is that a large percentage of the babies die every year, and those that survive are often stunted or just grow very slowly, if at all. Hydration is KEY for this and all species of tortoise. They are NOT desert animals and they suffer in dry conditions, even if they can survive them.

    Likewise, most people keep them at the wrong temperature. 60 degrees is fine for a temperate species like a russian or greek. Not for a tropical species like sulcata. There is no cold season over there. My friend Tomas from Senegal explains it like this: There are only two seasons over there. The hot season, and the hotter season. Winter is the "hot" season. Temps are near 100 every day and rarely dip into the high 80s or low 90s on a chilly January day. Here in North America, most people let them get too cold. Many can survive this treatment, but it is not good for them, and one of the common results is little to no growth. Our summer temps mimic their "colder" winter temps. Their summers are consistently much hotter than ours. I know how it is commonly done in AZ. Some people do it that way here in the CA desert too. Its not good and its not right. They need warm temps and a thermostatically controlled heated night box year round.

    I don't think anyone here can answer the wheels question. It is such a case by case basis. For the time being, I don't see any shell, foot, or skin abrasions, so I'd leave things as is. If this one starts to grow, you might need something in the future. More weight might change the current state of things.

    Species should never be mixed and tortoises should never be kept in pairs. Both of these things are a tragedy waiting to happen. I'd separate them ASAP.

    I've never seen or heard of a desert/russian cross. I won't say its impossible, but it is very unlikely. Can we see pics? Did you know the parents? What makes you think its a hybrid?
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  4. ShireKim

    ShireKim New Member

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    Eli10.jpg Tortoises6.jpg




    Thank you very much for the replies. I truly didn't know how much humidity tortoises liked until I started researching before I got my Leopard last week, which is what brought me here. I will definitely separate them and bring LilOne inside into a far more humid environment, heat is not as much of an issue as I keep my house at 85 (there is a reason I live in the desert, I love it hot), will of course provide heat lamp etc.

    Eli the supposed Russian/Desert, a lady owned his mother who was a CA Desert Tort, sent the mother to CA as a different lady wanted to breed it to her Russian Male and Eli was one of the results? I really dont see much Russian but maybe??? He is supposed to be 10yrs old now, I got him when he was 7 after the previous person put him in a tote when he hibernate and left him for almost a year :(. I've got better pics of him I will upload tonight.
  5. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    there's no Russian in that tortoise. He's a full blooded desert tortoise, and a beautiful one, at that. Just look at those eyes!!!
  6. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    I forgot to say, but meant to say: You've got a beautiful tortoise family! Now we need to see the leopard
  7. ShireKim

    ShireKim New Member

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    Thank you! Here are the pictures of the Leopard. My boss has a large Male that got me hooked on Leopards two years ago! Last week I finally made my dream of the past two years come true and purchased this little one. "She" spoke to me and decided I had to have her, named her Suzie after a friend of mine! She looks like she has minor pyramiding but sounds like with being here can stop it/slightly reverse it :).

    20180812_200224.jpg Suzie7.jpg Suzie.jpg 20180812_075818.jpg
    samkerns1 likes this.
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