TWEAK YOUR BEAK….HOW TO INFO

N2TORTS

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TWEAK YOUR BEAK….HOW TO INFO
In some cases your tortoises’ beak may need to be trimmed. This procedure may need the assistance of a helper with a “squeamish” and or larger animal. The most important part is … YOU have to be careful not to trim too much!
The “ Beak” or front part -upper lip is made out of Keratin , pretty much the same as what (human) fingernails are…. So they grow constantly. When trimming you have to be careful not to trim too much as there is blood supply to the “base” of the beak. A nice thing to have on hand is silver nitrate sticks , or some other forms of sterile topical “stop bleed” in case you nick a vessel.
I use a small Dremel (hobby/craft rotary tool), with a 90* angle attachment that provides a nice flat straight approach as well as a better view to gently grind off a tortoise beak's rather it be extra growth and or split beaks ( common in larger species).
Most tortoises aren't to cooperative when it comes to this timely event …. they are very strong…… and can be stubborn and have their shells to hide in.
Getting your tortoise to poke its head out of his shell in some cases takes longer than actually trimming its beak…..while other tort’s this procedure doesn’t tend to be too bothersome and if your lucky the tortoise remains somewhat calm.
Here is one of my adult female CherryHeads who always seems to have exponential growth on her beak giving her an overbite. Spring is here time for a trim….

Before…….
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After ……
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Torts4Life!

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I use a small dremel like tool as well. I'm also a dog owner and I have one of those Pedi-Paw trimmers and I take off the plastic shield and it works just like a dremel and is much quicker than using a file. I've also found that it is easier with two people. One holding the tortoise and when they stick their head out putting two fingers on either side of their neck to keep them from going back into their shell and the other person trims with the dremel. Quick and easy to keep their beak nice and trimmed!!
 

wellington

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I hope I never have to do this. However, I love this. Great visual. Thank you. Great jog on all of it.
 

mightymizz

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Thanks for sharing!!

I just have a feeling, my torts would go into the "I'm dying" mode and never stick their head out..IF it is anything like trying to force feed a baby antibiotics then this would be super tough feat...

To feed antibiotics in the mouth, I literally had to wait to pinch his head so he couldnt retreat fully into the shell. Are more mature torts more likely to keep their head out while a dremel is working on their beaks? Or are you holding pretty tight?

Thanks again!
 

CtTortoiseMom

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Love it, thanks so much for the step by step & pics!
+1 for this being a sticky.
 

N2TORTS

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Actually it all comes from experience …like anything else and knowing the limits of your strength, correct grip, placement and of course realizing the stress the animal must feel….but being confident in yourself. It’s similar to snake catching in the wild ( you don’t dare hesitate, once you establish the get go) or in another case trimming my Cockatoo’s wings and trimming her nails . In her case ….you **** her off - she WILL take your finger off….in 2 seconds. I’m not as confident with the too’ as I am with the torts , for the fear when I grab her behind the head I feel like I’m going to break her neck….but if not “tight” enough she will turn her head and “ Zap” you …Also I firmly believe the more this is done with the same animal, they are less and less to become such a stress case when the time comes. For the simple answer … no I’m not holding on her head that tight at all , she is one of the “easier” ones to work with.





For applications needing meds I use rounded off chop sticks to help open the torts mouth…..not my finger ..….. ^4
 

For Love of Everything Shell

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I will be attempting this "adventure" in the next few days... :( Bob's beak is a little too long! But I am kinda worried he will be mad at me and won't want to hang out with me anymore!
 

biochemnerd808

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Great post! Thank you for the visual, too - I was always wondering which attachment is used.
I don't think I'll attempt this on any small tortoises (Russians, Greeks) any time soon, but a larger redfoot or something larger, I think I could do it. :)
 

jjsull33

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Thanks for the lesson, my female's beak grows like that too and I might try this on my own this time.
 

meghaffer

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Our newest pet arrived last week. A Russian tortoise whose previous owners weren't terribly fastidious in diet or shell and beak care. I'm thinking her beak is way too long for me to tackle as I've never had this problem with our turtles and have zero experience. But once we get her to the vet, I think I can maintain it. Thanks for the great pictures!
 

pascualthetortoise

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Hello! I have a large 18 year old sulcata. We got him last year so we are still new with this. I noticed his beak isn't very smooth. It has two cracks in it that seem to have gotten more pronounced over the last year. Do you have any advice? Do I trim the longer parts or somehow fill in the chips/cracks?
 
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