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Burned Off or Damaged Carapace Scutes

Discussion in 'Tortoise Health' started by Yvonne G, May 28, 2017.

  1. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Supporter

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    The Clovis Turtle and Tortoise Rescue took in a 'found' male sulcata this a.m. and he's a perfect example of new shell growing under old, damaged shell. Who knows what happened to make his shell end up damaged like this, but it was more than likely from a heat/light positioned too close to the top of the shell.

    First a look at the overall view of the damage. The majority of what you see on the carapace is the new keratin/shell:

    2017 Rescue #19 a.jpg

    In this next picture, I'm showing how the old, dead bone is lifting and flaking off, showing all the new keratin/shell underneath:

    2017 Rescue #19 b.jpg

    That white point under my finger is the old or original bone that died during the "accident."

    The next are just two overall shots so you can sort of get an idea of his size. I didn't weigh him, but he's maybe about 80lbs:

    2017 Rescue #19 c.jpg 2017 Rescue #19 d.jpg

    Growing new shell can take years. It's quite possible his accident happened 5 or 10 years ago and it has taken this long for the new growth to start pushing up the old, dead bone and shell.

    I had it in mind I was going to mow the backyard today, but looks like now I won't have to. He's eating like there's no tomorrow.
    Last edited: May 28, 2017
    Jay Bagley, BevSmith, CarolM and 5 others like this.
  2. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Supporter

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    I just noticed in the second picture - you can see the remnants of a hole where he had been tethered at a young age. This is a no no, folks. Don't tether your tortoise - build him a fence.
  3. Pearly

    Pearly Well-Known Member

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    Whaaaaat????? People tether their torts???!!!!
  4. Pearly

    Pearly Well-Known Member

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    But really, "people tether their dogs"????? Or any animal.... ugggghhhhh!!!! Bad people! Or... maybe just ignorant people
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  5. naturalman91

    naturalman91 Well-Known Member

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    Sadly people do tether they're torts if you ever watch a movie from the 60s-early 80s that has a tort in it most of the time they're tethered or you can at least see the hole where they were
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  6. counting

    counting Active Member

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    I remember when I was a kid going to the museum and they had a turtle there. Probably some kind of slider, but it was years ago and I don't remember. Anyway, the poor thing had the shell pierced so the owners could "walk it" on a leash. It always stuck with me. They told me the animal has been in a great deal of pain and contracted an infection in his bone. Apparently this was super common back in the day. :(
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  7. Carol S

    Carol S Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Thanks for the pictures and information.
  8. Razan

    Razan Well-Known Member

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    The pictures are both frightening and interesting. Frightening to see what can happen to a poor tortoise and interesting to see how much improvement has been made. My heart still hurts for him though. Thank you for the educational photos and caring for him. He certainly is a happier tortoise today.
    Pearly and Loohan like this.
  9. Russian Tortoise Lover!

    Russian Tortoise Lover! Member

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    Wow, when do you think that the shell will fully heal? Or will it never? Thanks for the pictures, they are cool and a little bit scary at first. :(
  10. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Supporter

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    You missed the point of the thread. The shell IS healed. What you see is the new, healed shell.
  11. Russian Tortoise Lover!

    Russian Tortoise Lover! Member

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    But it still looks hurt, will it always?
  12. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Supporter

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    Yes. It will always look like that. The new keratin (shell) is every bit as strong and healthy as the original shell, but it doesn't have the same 'look' as the original.
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  13. SaraP

    SaraP New Member

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    He's a survivor. It's amazing how resilient that shell is in terms of its ability to regrow after trauma. I was just reading an article today about a rescue tortoise who had had his shell burned severely in a fire (I think it was a forest fire but I can't recall exactly). That case was much more severe than this one in that there was no regrowth so the rescue printed a new shell using a 3D printer. It was pretty amazing.
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  14. Pearly

    Pearly Well-Known Member

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    That's horrible!
  15. Link

    Link Member

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    Wow you learn something new everyday. I never even thought about tethering/chaining a tortoise or turtle up :(
  16. 37dodge

    37dodge Member

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    I have one that was tethered it was and still is common in ditch bank okie community. My cousins had a desert tort tethered and a caimin chained to a tire full of cement. Terrible it would be like drilling a hole through your toe.
  17. William Lee Kohler

    William Lee Kohler Active Member

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    Evan as a little kid it seemed wrong and like it would hurt to drill those holes. Shell burns are such a huge injury and it's amazing how these critters can recover from major trauma.
  18. K8E K

    K8E K Member

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    It was interesting to see both this and your awesome sulcata yard :) I was distracted by all that beautiful grazing. :)
  19. Cheryl Hills

    Cheryl Hills Well-Known Member

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    Will his she’ll ever regrow scutes.
  20. CarolM

    CarolM Well-Known Member

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    Shame my heart goes out to the tortioses hurt like this. Glad he has been able to regrow his shell, so sorry that he had to in the first place. And the tethering hole .... so cruel.
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