Author Topic: Uneven shell growth question  (Read 2979 times)

melissalee

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Uneven shell growth question
« on: December 05, 2008, 11:12:57 PM »
Hi all,
Many thanks to everyone who posts such detailed, accurate information and advice on this forum! Its really great to know there is a place to go for information on these awesome little creatures.

I inherited a RT about 5 months ago, a female about 5" long named Pineapple. She seemed in good health when I got her, perhaps a bit underfed, but spunky and very active. No signs of shell rot, worms or pyramiding. She spent most of the summer outside in my backyard (no chemical lawn treatment) for at least 5 hours a day grazing and burrowing, weather permitting. Now that the weather has gotten colder, she is in my basement, which maintains a steady 60-65. She has a night heat lamp and UVA/UVB bulbs during the day, keeping a temp between 85-90 in the basking area and about 70 in the shaded areas. She is in a standard tort. table as suggested here, about 2' x 4' with water, a half log, bed a beast and timothy hay bedding, water bowl, cuttle bone, etc.

My question is about her shell. When I first got her, she had a narrow ring of lighter shell between the first and second rows. Obviously a growth ring, right? She had a noticable growth spurt when I first got her, especially after being placed in the backyard run to graze at will during the summer, which seemed pretty normal to me.  My concern is that, while the growth ring on the left side of her shell has gotten bigger and more spread out, the ring on the right has not moved at all since I got her. It looks like a kind of crack on that side of her shell, while the left side is smooth and spreading out nicely. She is definately bigger on the left side of her shell than the right. I kind of hoped that it would just even out with time and a steady diet (spring green mix, occasional carrots & spinach and prickly pear treats, with a weekly calcium dusting on the greens- which she HATES but will eventually eat if I skip feeding her the day before) but it does not appear to be. I'm worried about what will happen to her come the next spring growth spurt.

I read once in my early research on RT's that this kind of unbalanced growth was normal and would correct itself, but I don't want to take any chances. Any advice or information would be greatly appreciated! Thanks.


kmiller

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Re: Uneven shell growth question
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2008, 11:03:41 AM »
I don't have an answer for you, but the same question you do!  Same deal with one of my RT, I got Hook in terrible shape, I still don't have his beak trimmed as much as I would like but I don't want to tramautize him. I refer to him as my stray Tort - a coworker of my husband had a neighbor who was being evicted and gave him to their kids without asking - in a dirty stinky tiny little tub filled with dampish shredded cardboard and they called me - he was so skinny and so shy - is there anything sadder then a skinny tort! 

He did have a thin dark line in one of his growth rings, I felt it was either shell rot, or healed shell rot.  I don't know of any reptile vets around here so I rely on the internet for advice. I have had him almost two years and as he has grown one side shows nice and even growth rings but the other side of his shell doesn't seem to be "stretching" in just that one spot. The good news that the dark area has mostly disappeared, flaked off.  So I am waiting to hear what other members know about this
Proud mom to four RTs -Ellie & Vinnie, Queenie & Hook.
Two BTs-Zoey & Zeyna (Boston Terrors)

Jules

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Re: Uneven shell growth question
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2008, 05:12:15 PM »
melissalee - yours is showing signs from before you got her.  Inside feed for 20 a day or 1 hour less often.  I would not have night heat if the room is 60-65.  The cool off is good for her. 

both-If you continue to feed proper green leafy food they should be OK.  I add TNT http://www.carolinapetsupply.com/catalog/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=58  to insure proper nutrition.  You may want to add that to your torts diet.

Keep us updated.
Jules
Chicago

earthyman71

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Re: Uneven shell growth question
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2008, 02:58:39 AM »
Hi all!  I just acquired a new tort (a methseula of sorts - way old and way undercared for) and his shell has MASSIVELY grown unevenly and there is a ring of new growth on one side that's not matched AT ALL by a ring of new growth on the other.  Also, the symmetrical line running from head to tail on the bottom of his shell literally is a horrid squiggle.  He's a beautiful being that I feel like all I can do is to treat right and hope for the best.  He's being treated for shell rot, now has a proper home with proper uva/uvb and is being soaked daily.  The poor guy was kept in a 10 gallon with little to no substrate and tossed apple slices every once in a while.  (When i got him my heart broke!  I drove 1.5 hours to rescue him and know I did the right thing).

If any readers have any experience in rehabilitating very neglected/abused torts, any of your insight would be appreciated.
me, 5 dogs, 3 cats, 12 russians split in two colonies, 3 boxies, 2 pancakes

KQ6AR

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Re: Uneven shell growth question
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2008, 11:00:40 AM »
About the only thing you guy's all can do, is keep giving them proper care like you are.
These things may or may not even out in time. Just keep them healthy.
Dan Goemmel
20+ Russians
7 Marginata's
Keeping russian's since 1997 & Breeding since 2000
Concord, CA
http://www.russiantortoisepictures.com/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=13272

kmiller

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Re: Uneven shell growth question
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2008, 03:09:00 PM »
I'm not an expert, but I can share my experience with my stray tort. My advice for a neglected tort is the basics, good nutrition, regular hydration and in the beginning try to keep the stimulation (not a lot of loud noises and activity) and handling handling to a minimum until they seem a bit more settled in. After awhile, when they seem more relaxed is the time to start regularly handling him! Keep him in isolation away from any other torts, just in case he has any diseases or parasites - I was told six months.

I did have to work him over when he very first arrived - his beak and claws were seriously overgrown, his claws were curling into hooks -my husband and I gently trimmed the claws with cat nail clippers a couple of times over a few weeks, be careful not to cut into the quick (blood vessel just like on a dog) and used a coarse grit nail file to gently trim back his beak and he had some kind of greenish "scum" that needed several soaks and light scrubbing with damp paper towels to remove.

I remember Hook spent weeks with his head in a corner, burrowed as deep as he could get.  I was very concerned because the only thing he would eat was romaine lettuce and my others eat quite a mixture of greens, tort pellets, supplements, occasional cactus leaves and "treats" from the yard (weeds, flowers and such). Just like with picky kids I kept offering him a variety and now a days he is still the first to the dish at feeding time and will eat just about anything with great gusto.

My plan was to nurse him back to health an rehome him...he was such a gnarly, beat up looking thing - hence the name Captain Hook - naming him was my first mistake.  He will never win any beauty contests but he has the best personality - he reminds me of a dog - he comes running when ever he sees/hears me. Instead we tried introducing him to our other torts, kept a very close eye on them for a month or so and when that went well my very patient husband built a bigger tort enclosure to house our herd of four RTs. Give it a few months, your new tort is probably just so overwhelmed just yet but after a few months of good care & nutrition you'll have a happy little tort on your hands.
Proud mom to four RTs -Ellie & Vinnie, Queenie & Hook.
Two BTs-Zoey & Zeyna (Boston Terrors)

crio515

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Re: Uneven shell growth question
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2008, 05:03:07 PM »
wHAT DO GROWTH RINGS LOOK LIKE? ON THE SHELL, WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT? I'M SORRY, I JUST HAVE NO IDEA.
THANKS!

whytepizza

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Re: Uneven shell growth question
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2008, 05:22:29 AM »
wHAT DO GROWTH RINGS LOOK LIKE? ON THE SHELL, WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT? I'M SORRY, I JUST HAVE NO IDEA.
THANKS!
Hmmm, hard to explain. There are a few kinds of growth to look for:
One is like a 'bubble' but it's just extra growth.
Another i like a concave section but it can be that alot of the shell is growing abnormally (or that the small concave part is growing abnormally)
A third is like a pyramiding.
http://i390.photobucket.com/albums/oo342/herpmaniac/HPIM1663.jpg
This picture shows the beginnings of pyramiding and a few scars from healed shell rot. All in all this guy is doing pretty well. But you can also easily see the lines in his shell
http://i390.photobucket.com/albums/oo342/herpmaniac/HPIM1768.jpg
This is what is should look like (minus the color change :-D) Notice there are no lines on the shell that are noticable.
It's hard to tell from those pictures alone and someone, please, correct me if i am wrong or have any more growth pictures.
Don't give into peer pressure, noone else does.

Jenn

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Re: Uneven shell growth question
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2008, 05:24:59 AM »
wHAT DO GROWTH RINGS LOOK LIKE? ON THE SHELL, WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT? I'M SORRY, I JUST HAVE NO IDEA.
THANKS!

Growth ring out lined
1 RT's
1 Leopard Gecko
2 Dogs
3 Kids
http://aboxturtle.com/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=1215
Jennifer
Fernley,NV

Jenn

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Re: Uneven shell growth question
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2008, 05:39:09 AM »
wHAT DO GROWTH RINGS LOOK LIKE? ON THE SHELL, WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT? I'M SORRY, I JUST HAVE NO IDEA.
THANKS!
Hmmm, hard to explain. There are a few kinds of growth to look for:
One is like a 'bubble' but it's just extra growth.
Another i like a concave section but it can be that alot of the shell is growing abnormally (or that the small concave part is growing abnormally)
A third is like a pyramiding.
http://i390.photobucket.com/albums/oo342/herpmaniac/HPIM1663.jpg
This picture shows the beginnings of pyramiding and a few scars from healed shell rot. All in all this guy is doing pretty well. But you can also easily see the lines in his shell
http://i390.photobucket.com/albums/oo342/herpmaniac/HPIM1768.jpg
This is what is should look like (minus the color change :-D) Notice there are no lines on the shell that are noticable.
It's hard to tell from those pictures alone and someone, please, correct me if i am wrong or have any more growth pictures.

the first pic doesnt look like pyramiding,Looks more like his shell is quilted.
1 RT's
1 Leopard Gecko
2 Dogs
3 Kids
http://aboxturtle.com/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=1215
Jennifer
Fernley,NV

KQ6AR

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Re: Uneven shell growth question
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2008, 03:33:10 PM »
You might think of growth rings, like the rings in a tree when it grows. each section of the shell has them. The raised sections are growth while the sunken rings are times of hibernation or aspiration.

 In a tortoise that has never hibernated it may not be as apparent. 
Dan Goemmel
20+ Russians
7 Marginata's
Keeping russian's since 1997 & Breeding since 2000
Concord, CA
http://www.russiantortoisepictures.com/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=13272

whytepizza

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Re: Uneven shell growth question
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2008, 06:43:02 PM »
wHAT DO GROWTH RINGS LOOK LIKE? ON THE SHELL, WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT? I'M SORRY, I JUST HAVE NO IDEA.
THANKS!
Hmmm, hard to explain. There are a few kinds of growth to look for:
One is like a 'bubble' but it's just extra growth.
Another i like a concave section but it can be that alot of the shell is growing abnormally (or that the small concave part is growing abnormally)
A third is like a pyramiding.
http://i390.photobucket.com/albums/oo342/herpmaniac/HPIM1663.jpg
This picture shows the beginnings of pyramiding and a few scars from healed shell rot. All in all this guy is doing pretty well. But you can also easily see the lines in his shell
http://i390.photobucket.com/albums/oo342/herpmaniac/HPIM1768.jpg
This is what is should look like (minus the color change :-D) Notice there are no lines on the shell that are noticable.
It's hard to tell from those pictures alone and someone, please, correct me if i am wrong or have any more growth pictures.

the first pic doesnt look like pyramiding,Looks more like his shell is quilted.


Hmm, i think you're right. That's the one type of shell issue i forgot to mention, too.
Don't give into peer pressure, noone else does.