Burned Off or Damaged Carapace Scutes

Yvonne G

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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

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

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 2017 Rescue 19 d

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.
 
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counting

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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. :(
 

Razan

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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.
 

Yvonne G

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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. :(

You missed the point of the thread. The shell IS healed. What you see is the new, healed shell.
 

SaraP

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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.
 

Link

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

37dodge

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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.
 

William Lee Kohler

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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.
 

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