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Beneficial mud masks for shells?

Discussion in 'Tortoise Health' started by TechnoCheese, Mar 4, 2018.

  1. TechnoCheese

    TechnoCheese Well-Known Member

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    Not sure what to call this other than a mud mask, lol, but here’s my thinking:
    Tortoises that burrow would probably have a good coating of mud on their shells in the wild. This might help hydrate their shells, and maybe even promote smoother shell growth during times where it gets a bit dryer. Would it be beneficial to put a coating of mud on their shells? And if we were to take this further, could we add certain things to the mud to make it almost like a medicinal shell conditioner?
    Would it be able to help sooth shell burns caused by heat lamps?
    Could it help stop pyramiding in process?
    Or is this just a stupid idea and it has no benefit?
  2. TechnoCheese

    TechnoCheese Well-Known Member

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    Hmmm... what if we added things like ash, or aloe Vera gel? Or maybe even something like honey, which can soothe stings?
  3. TechnoCheese

    TechnoCheese Well-Known Member

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    I might try this soon with some sort of organic soil, depending on what I can find. Does anyone have objections, or think this would be harmful in any way?
  4. wellington

    wellington Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member

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    This is my guess. The mud will block uvb and will/can draw out moisture from the shell. Now, in the wild, they have taller grasses, bushes, rocks, etc, to walk thru, over, under, etc, that helps knock this mud off before it gets dry or is dry, probably not leaving a thick layer. If not used with the natural landscaping then I don't think the mud will be beneficial unless your going to knock it off and put it on. However, you still have the hot drying bulbs.
    I think, at least with leopards, sullies, etc that are hatched in the rainy season, I feel a layer of leaf litter or tall weeds that are kept wet, that the hatchlings are walking under therefore wetness is almost a constant on their top and bottom shells and using an alternative to the mvb and Che's for heating is an option to try.
    I have added the very wet leaf litter and my hatchling leopards love being hidden away under it. For heat, I think an enclosure inside a heated enclosure is something to try. Therefore the heat isn't right over the tortoises, surrounding their enclosure. For basking, using a flourescent light inside the tortoises enclosure making that area right under the light just a bit hotter then the surrounding area.
    I do not explain things well. Hope this can be understood.
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  5. Bambam1989

    Bambam1989 Well-Known Member

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    You can try it if you would like but there is a few things to keep in mind.
    If your tort is already developing smooth shell growth, you won't know if it's helping. That's why I think these "experiments" would be more accurate if done with multiple torts and a species that is already prone to it.
    The PH level needs to be checked/ monitored of the "mud". If you are using a mixture that is high alkaline or acidic and start seeing negative results you can inform the forum of these results. For example, if your mud is on the acidic side and your torts shell begins to discolor or flake with prolonged use. Perhaps an alkaline mask will increase the risk of fungal infections. We don't know what the results may be and every factor needs to be considered and recorded.
    I personally will make suggestions and point out my thoughts to the experienced keepers/breeders on the forum. If you try something new with your torts shell, keep a close eye on it for negative results.
    I will be honest. Since mid-January, I have been applying an "untested" substance on my torts shell. I have seen no I'll effects so far but I am a LONG way from recommending it. It's still to soon to know if there is ill effects and because my tort already had smooth growth I don't know if there is any benefit to it.
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  6. Benjtort

    Benjtort Active Member

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    My tortoise has mild pyramiding I will be willing to assist you in this experiment not only to help others but to help my tortoise. Just tell me what I need to do
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  7. wellington

    wellington Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member

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    I personally think it all has too do with the hot bulbs/Che's.
    My four hatchlings have lived in a swampy, very high humidity large tote box almost since hatching. I use mvb and Che's for heat, uvb and light. They have pyramiding. Little over two years ago, I had one hatchling raised the same way except s/he was in a bigger enclosure, but only got to roam half of it. Still same heat and light sources used, still high humidity, not as swampy though and it pyramided. Surprisingly though it didn't start showing any pyramiding as early as the ones I have now. That one baffles me.
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  8. TechnoCheese

    TechnoCheese Well-Known Member

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    Thank you guys so much for the input! I think this is a very interesting topic, but I think I might wait a while until I can afford several groups of hatchlings(maybe leopards). I will definitely get back to this topic in the future, maybe with a control group of just a normal closed chamber and daily soaks, and several experimental groups like closed chamber with leaves and plants, closed chamber with mud on shell, closed chamber with mud and plants. And maybe even trying bambam’s idea with the PH level. I think I’ll shelve project “mud mask”, unless someone else wants to try ;)
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  9. TammyJ

    TammyJ Well-Known Member

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    It seems to me like a good idea if you think more humidity is needed for your tortoise's shell. If I were to try it I would put it on the shells in the evening so they have it on overnight, then remove it when they go outside in the morning into their "bushy" enclosure. In my case they sleep inside and go outside in the days (tropical climate).
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  10. TechnoCheese

    TechnoCheese Well-Known Member

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    Oooooooh, this might be good this summer! I’m hoping to let my tort have a bit more outside time than normal, so this would be great!
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