2 1/2 year old Leopard Tortoise pyramiding

jsharpminer

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20190919_181049.jpg Hello all! I have a 2 1/2 year old Leopard Tortoise that has some pyramiding, and I have been going out of my mind trying to figure out how to prevent it. I got her at one year old (with some pyramiding already), and followed all the guides on this forum about closed chambers, diet, daily soaking, outside time, herand keeping around 80% humidity. Now she's big enough that she spends most of the day in an outdoor enclosure, and night in a closed chamber at around 50-70% humidity. It seems like her shell has gotten worse since I started letting her outside all day, which is confusing since I live in Georgia, so the humidity is pretty high. Am I missing something?
 

Kapidolo Farms

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For me, I had pyramiding until the humidity exceeded 90 %. There is a qualitative way to see when it is enough. When the tortoise goes from the warm side 95F to the cool side 85F, you want to see condensation on the shell. I had to plant pothos in with the really small guys to keep it both that warm and that humid. I know it seems crazy, but that is what has worked for me.
 

TammyJ

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What's the humidity level and the temps right now in Georgia? Maybe you will have to (1) increase your indoor enclosure humidity to 90% and (2) make a humid outdoor enclosure for her with lots of vegetation?
 

Tom

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Outside all day makes little ones pyramid. Climate doesn't matter. Loose in their native range might be an exception, but even captive in their native range isn't an exception.

Outside all day also makes them grow slower. Much slower and pyramid, even on the same amount of food or more food.

They shouldn't be outside all day until they are around 5-6 inches.

At night when the lights on my closed chambers go out, humidity rises from 80-85% to 99-100% as the temperatures cool to 80 degrees. 50-70% is too low anytime of day or night.

How are you heating the night enclosure? Any electric heat source is going to dry things out. Some more than others.
 

Yvonne G

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Hard to tell from a picture, but it looks like most of the growth between the bumps is smooth, so rather than having gotten worse, it just looks more pronounced because of the smoothness between the scutes. ???
 

CleoTheLeo

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I know everyone talks about the main cause of pyramiding being due to low humidity levels, but with Cleo, she pyramided due to an improper diet. I was feeding her mostly kale, and too much of it and she grew too fast. She had a humidifier in her enclosure and her soil was always moist. So I know for my case it was just as much about diet causing growth problems as humidity seems to be for others. She has a proper diet now and was outside for the summer, so she was getting plenty of exercise and was able to graze on her own. I fed her a small amount each night to supplement her grazing which she didn't seem to do a lot of. I hope that her new shell growth will even out, but I guess time will tell. It was hard to believe that a tortoise was getting "fat" from eating too much kale and leafy greens, so I ignored it because I didn't want her to be hungry, but now I know I should have limited it. I still always feel guilty about letting that happen and hope it isn't causing any added pressure on her organs or any other health problems.
 
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Gijoux

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For me, I had pyramiding until the humidity exceeded 90 %. There is a qualitative way to see when it is enough. When the tortoise goes from the warm side 95F to the cool side 85F, you want to see condensation on the shell. I had to plant pothos in with the really small guys to keep it both that warm and that humid. I know it seems crazy, but that is what has worked for me.
Thank you for this tip!
 

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