Welcome to the Family - New Burmese Stars

yaycolin

Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2020
Messages
82
Location (City and/or State)
Huntington Beach, CA
Hello all,

I recently acquired 3 hatchling Burmese Star tortoises from @Markw84, as well as one of his smart enclosures! It was a pleasure doing business with Mark. His closed chamber smart enclosures are extremely well built and very aesthetically pleasing. I can tell he put a lot of work into it, and it was worth every penny. His animals are beautiful and very well started. I would definitely recommend anyone looking to purchase a Burmese Star to contact Mark. He is very knowledgable and answered all of my questions via email and text message for months until I finally had the tortoises in my possession. I know Mark will continue to work with me to answer any further questions for years to come. Thanks again Mark, for the awesome enclosure and incredible animals.

I am creating this thread to not only share these tortoises with all of you, but to also document their grow throughout the years. I would love to hear any and all feedback you guys have regarding improvements and suggestions on my husbandry. I want to be sure these little ones receive the best care possible. Thanks for joining me on this new journey! I can't wait to watch them grow.

#053 (Green)
Hatched - February 11, 2020...Acquired June 2, 2020
Hatch weight - 19.7g
Weight/length as of June 5, 2020 - 77g and 2.75inches
IMG_0562.jpeg

#062 (White)
Hatched - February 19, 2020...Acquired June 2, 2020
Hatch weight - 23.7g
Weight/length as of June 5, 2020 - 63g and 2.5in
IMG_0560.jpeg

#069 (Red)
Hatched - March 28, 2020...Acquired June 2, 2020
Hatch weight - 19.9g
Weight/length as of June 5, 2020 - 47g and 2.25in
IMG_0561.jpeg




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yaycolin

Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2020
Messages
82
Location (City and/or State)
Huntington Beach, CA
7/2/2020
*GREEN - 77 grams
*WHITE - 69 grams
*RED - 54 grams

8/5/2020
*GREEN - 77 grams
*WHITE - 69 grams
*RED - 64 grams

9/6/2020
*GREEN - 90 grams
*WHITE - 78 grams
*RED - 81 grams
 

yaycolin

Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2020
Messages
82
Location (City and/or State)
Huntington Beach, CA
They are finally starting to get consistent growth. RED has grown the most since I have had them, and its growth is also the smoothest. WHITE and GREEN have both grown very slowly, if at all, but it seems now they might start growing more consistently. I am not sure where the pyramiding is coming from though. As you can see, RED is growing fairly smooth and they are all in the same environment (85%+ humidity.) WHITE and GREEN also seem to have very dry shells. Any input is greatly appreciated!
 

Markw84

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 17, 2012
Messages
4,286
Location (City and/or State)
Sacramento, CA (Central Valley)
Colin

They are really looking pretty good. A few questions/comments.
How much do you have the UV light on? I have been really limiting UV exposure to maybe 2 hours a day midday. That's all! I even have my platynota enclosure 2 hours only 3 days a week. With my Smart Enclosures you can program that easily.
How is the pothos plant doing? Has it grown and is it providing lots of cover? They really need to be able to hide completely in cover.
Do you have a hide box in there? Again another way for them to find a hiding spot and get away from UV and IR exposure and feel secure. Plus 100% humidity in a hide box.
Have you used cold pressed coconut oil on the shells? I am believing more and more that it really helps keep the shell hydrated in our enclosures. IN the wild they would be muddy quite a bit of the time. The coconut oil really helps keep the new keratin more supple - plus they look great with it applied at least once a week.

I think the growth rates are good. Just a bit slower than I would expect, but nothing to worry about. Since they were started on a lot of weeds, grape leaves, hibiscus flowers that I grow here, probably the change in diet needed a time to develop a new gut flora profile to aid digestion. Are you giving them any Rep Cal or Mazuri?
 

yaycolin

Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2020
Messages
82
Location (City and/or State)
Huntington Beach, CA
Colin

They are really looking pretty good. A few questions/comments.
How much do you have the UV light on? I have been really limiting UV exposure to maybe 2 hours a day midday. That's all! I even have my platynota enclosure 2 hours only 3 days a week. With my Smart Enclosures you can program that easily.
How is the pothos plant doing? Has it grown and is it providing lots of cover? They really need to be able to hide completely in cover.
Do you have a hide box in there? Again another way for them to find a hiding spot and get away from UV and IR exposure and feel secure. Plus 100% humidity in a hide box.
Have you used cold pressed coconut oil on the shells? I am believing more and more that it really helps keep the shell hydrated in our enclosures. IN the wild they would be muddy quite a bit of the time. The coconut oil really helps keep the new keratin more supple - plus they look great with it applied at least once a week.

I think the growth rates are good. Just a bit slower than I would expect, but nothing to worry about. Since they were started on a lot of weeds, grape leaves, hibiscus flowers that I grow here, probably the change in diet needed a time to develop a new gut flora profile to aid digestion. Are you giving them any Rep Cal or Mazuri?
Thanks for the response, Mark.
I have the UV light on for 4 hours a day, and then I take them outside for about 30 minutes twice a week. I can definitely adjust the UV time if you feel they benefit from less exposure. Do you suggest cutting back to 2 hours of UV per day? Or only 3 days per week? Should I stop taking them outside for natural sun? Also, do you think the amount of UV exposure they are currently getting is the reason for the pyramiding and dry shell?
The pothos is doing good. I had it in a 6" pot and it grew a lot. They tended to stay under the pothos leaves all day long and never use their hide, which was nice because I could still observe them. I feel the pothos started to out grow that pot because growth stopped and leaves began to turn yellow. I repotted it in a 8" pot and trimmed away some leaves, so it's a little bare now. Since I have done this, the torts now stay in their hide most of the time. New growth is beginning to come back on the pothos, so they will be able to hide under that again soon. I also propogated the pothos plant, so they will soon have two plants to hide under.
I have not used any coconut oil yet. Is there a specific type of coconut oil I should use? Just solidified pure coconut oil from the grocery store? I assume I just rub a thin layer on the shell and leave it be? Apply it once a week?

I currently feed them dandelion greens, plantain leaves, white clover, endive, escarole, arugula, spring mix, romaine, hibiscus leaves and flowers, mulberry leaves, opuntia cactus, and Mazuri mixed with Zoo Med grassland pellets about every 5 days. When I take them outside, they tend to munch on the grass the entire 30 minutes. Every meal is also mixed with different dried items from Kapilodo Farms everyday. When I feed them the Mazuri/Zoo Med diet, I add Zoo Med calcium with D3 supplement.
 
Last edited:
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yaycolin

Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2020
Messages
82
Location (City and/or State)
Huntington Beach, CA
Thanks for the response, Mark.
I have the UV light on for 4 hours a day, and then I take them outside for about 30 minutes twice a week. I can definitely adjust the UV time if you feel they benefit from less exposure. Do you suggest cutting back to 2 hours of UV per day? Or only 3 days per week? Should I stop taking them outside for natural sun? Also, do you think the amount of UV exposure they are currently getting is the reason for the pyramiding and dry shell?
The pothos is doing good. I had it in a 6" pot and it grew a lot. They tended to stay under the pothos leaves all day long and never use their hide, which was nice because I could still observe them. I feel the pothos started to out grow that pot because growth stopped and leaves began to turn yellow. I repotted it in a 8" pot and trimmed away some leaves, so it's a little bare now. Since I have done this, the torts now stay in their hide most of the time. New growth is beginning to come back on the pothos, so they will be able to hide under that again soon. I also propogated the pothos plant, so they will soon have two plants to hide under.
I have not used any coconut oil yet. Is there a specific type of coconut oil I should use? Just solidified pure coconut oil from the grocery store? I assume I just rub a thin layer on the shell and leave it be? Apply it once a week?

I currently feed them dandelion greens, plantain leaves, white clover, endive, escarole, arugula, spring mix, romaine, hibiscus leaves and flowers, mulberry leaves, opuntia cactus, and Mazuri mixed with Zoo Med grassland pellets about every 5 days. When I take them outside, they tend to munch on the grass the entire 30 minutes. Every meal is also mixed with different dried items from Kapilodo Farms everyday. When I feed them the Mazuri/Zoo Med diet, I add Zoo Med calcium with D3 supplement.
@Markw84
 

Chubbs the tegu

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 9, 2019
Messages
8,239
Location (City and/or State)
Ma
Hello all,

I recently acquired 3 hatchling Burmese Star tortoises from @Markw84, as well as one of his smart enclosures! It was a pleasure doing business with Mark. His closed chamber smart enclosures are extremely well built and very aesthetically pleasing. I can tell he put a lot of work into it, and it was worth every penny. His animals are beautiful and very well started. I would definitely recommend anyone looking to purchase a Burmese Star to contact Mark. He is very knowledgable and answered all of my questions via email and text message for months until I finally had the tortoises in my possession. I know Mark will continue to work with me to answer any further questions for years to come. Thanks again Mark, for the awesome enclosure and incredible animals.

I am creating this thread to not only share these tortoises with all of you, but to also document their grow throughout the years. I would love to hear any and all feedback you guys have regarding improvements and suggestions on my husbandry. I want to be sure these little ones receive the best care possible. Thanks for joining me on this new journey! I can't wait to watch them grow.

#053 (Green)
Hatched - February 11, 2020...Acquired June 2, 2020
Hatch weight - 19.7g
Weight/length as of June 5, 2020 - 77g and 2.75inches
View attachment 296658

#062 (White)
Hatched - February 19, 2020...Acquired June 2, 2020
Hatch weight - 23.7g
Weight/length as of June 5, 2020 - 63g and 2.5in
View attachment 296656

#069 (Red)
Hatched - March 28, 2020...Acquired June 2, 2020
Hatch weight - 19.9g
Weight/length as of June 5, 2020 - 47g and 2.25in
View attachment 296657




View attachment 296659


View attachment 296660

View attachment 296661

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View attachment 296665
God i need one of these guys
 

Markw84

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 17, 2012
Messages
4,286
Location (City and/or State)
Sacramento, CA (Central Valley)
Thanks for the response, Mark.
I have the UV light on for 4 hours a day, and then I take them outside for about 30 minutes twice a week. I can definitely adjust the UV time if you feel they benefit from less exposure. Do you suggest cutting back to 2 hours of UV per day? Or only 3 days per week? Should I stop taking them outside for natural sun? Also, do you think the amount of UV exposure they are currently getting is the reason for the pyramiding and dry shell?
The pothos is doing good. I had it in a 6" pot and it grew a lot. They tended to stay under the pothos leaves all day long and never use their hide, which was nice because I could still observe them. I feel the pothos started to out grow that pot because growth stopped and leaves began to turn yellow. I repotted it in a 8" pot and trimmed away some leaves, so it's a little bare now. Since I have done this, the torts now stay in their hide most of the time. New growth is beginning to come back on the pothos, so they will be able to hide under that again soon. I also propogated the pothos plant, so they will soon have two plants to hide under.
I have not used any coconut oil yet. Is there a specific type of coconut oil I should use? Just solidified pure coconut oil from the grocery store? I assume I just rub a thin layer on the shell and leave it be? Apply it once a week?

I currently feed them dandelion greens, plantain leaves, white clover, endive, escarole, arugula, spring mix, romaine, hibiscus leaves and flowers, mulberry leaves, opuntia cactus, and Mazuri mixed with Zoo Med grassland pellets about every 5 days. When I take them outside, they tend to munch on the grass the entire 30 minutes. Every meal is also mixed with different dried items from Kapilodo Farms everyday. When I feed them the Mazuri/Zoo Med diet, I add Zoo Med calcium with D3 supplement.

Colin

Sounds like you are doing a great job and I would not change anything.

We don't really know why some of these tortoises - leopards and stars in particular - seem prone to slight "bumpy" type pyramiding once some of them reach about 6-8 mos old. There are a few of us working on experiments now to try to figure this out at bit better. I have some of my holdbacks that are now 18 mos old that have this, while others raised right with them are perfectly smooth. I personally believe it is the UV exposure. Watching my Burmese - the adults rarely even come out during the day at all. The all come out at sunset and graze/browse for a few hours and go back into the night house fo the night we after dark. When I put some of my yearlings in there, I never see them out and about when there is direct sun exposure. THe UV lights we use have a large percentage of UV in their output - yet far less intensity than sunlight. So the brightness that tells them to avoid the sun is not there, yet an equal amount of UV is there as full midday sun. Couple that with the behavioral changes, and that most enclosures are far more barren than any tortoise would ever consider a place it would want to live, and I feel we have a problem.

I personally would go with 2 hours a day UV. I like to ensure the UVI at tortoise level is right around 3.0 max. If no change in a few months, go to 2 hours 3x a week. Be sure to continue to add just a bit of calcium with D3 to their food once a week. Don't overdo it. Your feeding diet seems great.

I do like a jungle of plants as much as possible as that is how they would live if they had a choice and that takes care of exposure issues. It sounds like you are working on that - so that's taken care of. We still do have the issue of behavioral changes in captivity that I believe contributes to pyramiding. They lose the flight and hide reflex and stay exposed much more than any tortoise in the wild would. Natural sunlight is OK in small doses while very young. I only give outdoor exposure while bathing in a tub and in water for my babies if at all.

I use only organic, cold pressed coconut oil. I did get the big jar from Costco and it is a Kirkland brand. It is semi-solid at room temperature but liquifies/melts at about 85°. I apply a nice coating to their shell after a bath. I don't wipe off excessively and leave a nice coating, but certainly not dripping! It normally looks to me like they need reapplication in about a week. It is reputed to have some sunblocking properties, but that is minimal and wears off in hours. It also is reputed to have some anti bacterial properties. I like the idea of keeping the new keartin as supple as possible. Think of how your skin (keratin) feels with it on. There is a mounting number of examples we've seen on the forum over the past few years of the difference it does seem to make. So it definitely is something I have added to my care routines. Certainly no harm and I believe a tremendous probably upside.
 

yaycolin

Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2020
Messages
82
Location (City and/or State)
Huntington Beach, CA
Colin

Sounds like you are doing a great job and I would not change anything.

We don't really know why some of these tortoises - leopards and stars in particular - seem prone to slight "bumpy" type pyramiding once some of them reach about 6-8 mos old. There are a few of us working on experiments now to try to figure this out at bit better. I have some of my holdbacks that are now 18 mos old that have this, while others raised right with them are perfectly smooth. I personally believe it is the UV exposure. Watching my Burmese - the adults rarely even come out during the day at all. The all come out at sunset and graze/browse for a few hours and go back into the night house fo the night we after dark. When I put some of my yearlings in there, I never see them out and about when there is direct sun exposure. THe UV lights we use have a large percentage of UV in their output - yet far less intensity than sunlight. So the brightness that tells them to avoid the sun is not there, yet an equal amount of UV is there as full midday sun. Couple that with the behavioral changes, and that most enclosures are far more barren than any tortoise would ever consider a place it would want to live, and I feel we have a problem.

I personally would go with 2 hours a day UV. I like to ensure the UVI at tortoise level is right around 3.0 max. If no change in a few months, go to 2 hours 3x a week. Be sure to continue to add just a bit of calcium with D3 to their food once a week. Don't overdo it. Your feeding diet seems great.

I do like a jungle of plants as much as possible as that is how they would live if they had a choice and that takes care of exposure issues. It sounds like you are working on that - so that's taken care of. We still do have the issue of behavioral changes in captivity that I believe contributes to pyramiding. They lose the flight and hide reflex and stay exposed much more than any tortoise in the wild would. Natural sunlight is OK in small doses while very young. I only give outdoor exposure while bathing in a tub and in water for my babies if at all.

I use only organic, cold pressed coconut oil. I did get the big jar from Costco and it is a Kirkland brand. It is semi-solid at room temperature but liquifies/melts at about 85°. I apply a nice coating to their shell after a bath. I don't wipe off excessively and leave a nice coating, but certainly not dripping! It normally looks to me like they need reapplication in about a week. It is reputed to have some sunblocking properties, but that is minimal and wears off in hours. It also is reputed to have some anti bacterial properties. I like the idea of keeping the new keartin as supple as possible. Think of how your skin (keratin) feels with it on. There is a mounting number of examples we've seen on the forum over the past few years of the difference it does seem to make. So it definitely is something I have added to my care routines. Certainly no harm and I believe a tremendous probably upside.
Thanks for all the tips, Mark.
I have adjusted my UV light to only be on 2 hours a day, 3 days a week. I will take them outside on one of the off days to get natural sunlight and to munch on some grass for 30 minutes.
I am hoping the pothos grows back pretty quickly, as there is quite a bit less coverage than there was before I changed out the pot. I can tell they are missing it. I also started the coconut oil treatments yesterday. They look great when it is applied.

I am really hoping these changes eliminate the pyramiding and shell dryness. I will post updates in a few months.
 

Markw84

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 17, 2012
Messages
4,286
Location (City and/or State)
Sacramento, CA (Central Valley)
Darnit Mark! Now u tell me.. after i already promised Tom haha
Certainly can't go wrong with @Tom ! Last time I was there I know he had some eggs incubating! We both got some unusual spring/summer clutches this year. Burmese Stars are normally winter layers only.
 

Chubbs the tegu

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 9, 2019
Messages
8,239
Location (City and/or State)
Ma
Certainly can't go wrong with @Tom ! Last time I was there I know he had some eggs incubating! We both got some unusual spring/summer clutches this year. Burmese Stars are normally winter layers only.
Yes. I believe he said do to hatch in a couple months or so.. the wait might kill me
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
53,899
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Yes. I believe he said do to hatch in a couple months or so.. the wait might kill me
You can't do better than babies from Mark. I don't blame you if you don't want to wait. I'll be able to sell all of mine either way. Or you can get some from each of us for a mixed group later.
 

maggie3fan

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Joined
Jun 30, 2018
Messages
4,582
Location (City and/or State)
Crazy Town
Thanks for the response, Mark.
I have the UV light on for 4 hours a day, and then I take them outside for about 30 minutes twice a week. I can definitely adjust the UV time if you feel they benefit from less exposure. Do you suggest cutting back to 2 hours of UV per day? Or only 3 days per week? Should I stop taking them outside for natural sun? Also, do you think the amount of UV exposure they are currently getting is the reason for the pyramiding and dry shell?
The pothos is doing good. I had it in a 6" pot and it grew a lot. They tended to stay under the pothos leaves all day long and never use their hide, which was nice because I could still observe them. I feel the pothos started to out grow that pot because growth stopped and leaves began to turn yellow. I repotted it in a 8" pot and trimmed away some leaves, so it's a little bare now. Since I have done this, the torts now stay in their hide most of the time. New growth is beginning to come back on the pothos, so they will be able to hide under that again soon. I also propogated the pothos plant, so they will soon have two plants to hide under.
I have not used any coconut oil yet. Is there a specific type of coconut oil I should use? Just solidified pure coconut oil from the grocery store? I assume I just rub a thin layer on the shell and leave it be? Apply it once a week?

I currently feed them dandelion greens, plantain leaves, white clover, endive, escarole, arugula, spring mix, romaine, hibiscus leaves and flowers, mulberry leaves, opuntia cactus, and Mazuri mixed with Zoo Med grassland pellets about every 5 days. When I take them outside, they tend to munch on the grass the entire 30 minutes. Every meal is also mixed with different dried items from Kapilodo Farms everyday. When I feed them the Mazuri/Zoo Med diet, I add Zoo Med calcium with D3 supplement.
The yellow leaves on the pothos 'could' mean over watering. In that humidity Pothos would not need a lot of watering. @Mark84...I drove out 80 towards Placerville, hollering for you and honking. But a nice Hiway Patrolman told me I probably should just drive on thru and git outa Calif. that I wouldn't find you that way. I also looked for NoCa guy, but I wasn't sure where in North Calif to look. So this crazy old lady made it home in 9 hours...
 

Markw84

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 17, 2012
Messages
4,286
Location (City and/or State)
Sacramento, CA (Central Valley)
The yellow leaves on the pothos 'could' mean over watering. In that humidity Pothos would not need a lot of watering. @Mark84...I drove out 80 towards Placerville, hollering for you and honking. But a nice Hiway Patrolman told me I probably should just drive on thru and git outa Calif. that I wouldn't find you that way. I also looked for NoCa guy, but I wasn't sure where in North Calif to look. So this crazy old lady made it home in 9 hours...
You took the wrong freeway on the wrong side of Sacramento. I'm more off 50 east of Sacramento. ...maybe next time!

Aaron, @NorCal tortoise guy is almost 45 min north of Sacramento, so you probably passed fairly close. Surprised he didn't hear you. He has quite a large creep of sulcatas now. He now has my breeding group in his creep! That includes my 200lb+ male Crush!
 

maggie3fan

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2018
Messages
4,582
Location (City and/or State)
Crazy Town
You took the wrong freeway on the wrong side of Sacramento. I'm more off 50 east of Sacramento. ...maybe next time!

Aaron, @NorCal tortoise guy is almost 45 min north of Sacramento, so you probably passed fairly close. Surprised he didn't hear you. He has quite a large creep of sulcatas now. He now has my breeding group in his creep!
Oh gosh! I am so jealous! Maybe that coulda been me.
You took the wrong freeway on the wrong side of Sacramento. I'm more off 50 east of Sacramento. ...maybe next time!

Aaron, @NorCal tortoise guy is almost 45 min north of Sacramento, so you probably passed fairly close. Surprised he didn't hear you. He has quite a large creep of sulcatas now. He now has my breeding group in his creep! That includes my 200lb+ male Crush!
 
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