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Transitioning to Tortoise Table?

Discussion in 'Indian Star and Burmese Star tortoises' started by jhilliard, Nov 26, 2019.

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  1. jhilliard

    jhilliard New Member

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    Dear Tortoise Forum Members (& especially Burmese Star Fans), my female Burmese Star is fast approaching her 2nd birthday and growing steadily. When I got her at 9 months she was 70g and is currently 750g. She has been living in an enclosed vivarium habitat with steady temps and humidity between 65-80%. She has been soaked in the am and pm everyday. When I first got her I noticed slight pyramiding but her shell growth has been smooth since (see pics). My question is that her vivarium is now way too small and I have built her a tortoise table (see pics) where she can roam. I will fill with appropriate substrate and some plants and will humidify every day but my concern is that it will be difficult to maintain an even humidity in the open table environment. Should I be concerned about pyramiding in this new space. Is there a time in the lifespan of the Burmese Star when pyramiding is no longer a consideration?

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  2. Maro2Bear

    Maro2Bear Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Can’t you figure out a way to cover the new larger enclosure? Seems like two or three large pieces of plexiglass could be used to cover it up.
  3. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    You won't be able to maintain the correct temps or humidity in an open table.

    Pyramiding is caused by growth in conditions that are too dry. When they are no longer growing, then pyramiding os no longer a concern.
  4. jhilliard

    jhilliard New Member

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    Tom, at what point in your experience (years or body weight) do females of the species reach their full growth? Thank you.
  5. Markw84

    Markw84 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    There are certainly al lot of differences between individuals, but I hate the "it varies" answers myself, so here are some general sizes I find that fits the "normal" part of the bell curve.

    Burmese Stars normally become sexually mature at about 2500g for females and 700g-800g for males. At earliest that would normally be 3 yrs for males and 4 years for females. They will continue to grow to about 4000g-5000g for females and anywhere from 1100g - 2000g for males until they really begin to slow down and show little growth year to year.

    Their shells are pretty well ossified by about 600g males, 1000g females. So growth direction of the bone is pretty well set. Pyramiding by that time will not dramatically change with different conditions. You will see a valley start to develop in drier conditions that expands to a more bumpy look, but not at all as bad as young tortoise pyramiding.

    However, it is also of note that the pyramiding is only an outward sign of conditions that are not optimal and too dry. Dry conditions put the whole tortoise under more stress and makes internal hydration, and metabolic function harder. Dry conditions are hard on the eyes, inner linings of the nose/mouth and lungs, etc. I see pyramiding as our "canary in the cage". Optimal conditions that prevent pyramiding are indeed optimal conditions. Just because the shell growth is past a more susceptible pyramiding stage, why would we not want optimal conditions still? Moving a tortoise to outside enclosures as they reach size is desirable in good climates, but it is still important to do all we can to keep the best conditions possible. Frequent sprinkling/misting. Lots of plants and plant hides. A humid/warm night box, etc, etc.

    Solving pyramiding gives us the clues to the best conditions in which a tortoise will thrive.
  6. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Mine were 3000 grams or more, which is breeding size, before their 5th birthdays.
    mrnewberry likes this.
  7. jhilliard

    jhilliard New Member

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    Mark & Tom, thank you so much for the information I am designing a removable hood for the tortoise table to be able to continue to provide the proper humidity and temp parameters for her. Will post pics once it’s all set up. I really appreciate it.
    mrnewberry and Tom like this.
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