Burned Off or Damaged Carapace Scutes

Yvonne G

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Will his she’ll ever regrow scutes.

It IS fully healed. What you see is new keratin, new shell. It will never look like the old shell because the old shell put on new growth a bit at a time, making the scute pattern. Because of the overall injury, this new growth happened all at once, over time, so no scute pattern. Scutes are keratin. The new growth on this tortoise is keratin. Same thing, just a different appearance.
 

Cheryl Hills

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It IS fully healed. What you see is new keratin, new shell. It will never look like the old shell because the old shell put on new growth a bit at a time, making the scute pattern. Because of the overall injury, this new growth happened all at once, over time, so no scute pattern. Scutes are keratin. The new growth on this tortoise is keratin. Same thing, just a different appearance.
Thanks, I was just curious and still learning.
 

Razan

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Nice to see so much improvement on his shell. You did good. Thanks for the update on this guy.
 

WithLisa

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Thank you for the interesting pictures! It's amazing how they are able to just build a new layer of keratin over a new layer of bone, but I wonder how the new shell "knows" where the edges of the scutes were supposed to be. But the new growth seems to look similar to the original scutes (except for the coloration), doesn't it?
 
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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:

View attachment 208776

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

View attachment 208777

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:

View attachment 208778 View attachment 208779

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.
Sulcata is a
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:

View attachment 208776

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

View attachment 208777

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:

View attachment 208778 View attachment 208779

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.
Sulcatas are great animals and are very easy to take care of if you are able to. people buy them as pets because they are cool because they get that big or because the buyer was careless. A salcata is very easy to deal with when they are big but only if you are able to take care of something that big when they are young is where the real question comes in if you are able to raise a tortoise like this heat lamps,uvblights,sand,water,food right temperature in the area clean tank or living space so are you ready to raise one and make sure your family after your gone is ready to see the life of this tortoise because if he out lives you. You was a great owner of this slow walking knowledge container I’m just saying when you buy a Sulcata your giving him or her your life so just don’t be careless
Or rough with these amazing creatures take your time and study before you go through with getting one because in my opinion this is what happened here just did not no what they was suppose to do. PS Bless that tortoises hart he never deserved that but I would take care of him in a hart beat and grow older just to see his shell fully grown
 

turtlesteve

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Yvonne,

There are no scutes (or more importantly, scute boundaries) on the new keratin growth that are visible to my eye. Are they present at all?
I am sort of curious if the new bone and keratin plates form in more or less the same arrangement as the original pattern.

Another way of looking at this, is what happens as he grows? Is growth permanently stunted due to the lack of bone and/or scute boundaries at the proper arrangement on his new shell?

I have seen healed shell damage before but nothing this extreme.

Steve
 

Yvonne G

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That's right, there are now no scutes. Interesting question. Since growth occurrs between scutes how is this shell now going to grow?
 

Lyn W

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Poor sully, glad he is safe and well now.
My nephew's wife told me they used to have a tortoise when she was young and her dad pierced a hole in its shell so that they could tie it to a brick and stop it wandering off.:( Thankfully people know more about torts now - maybe that should be hopefully.
 

Yvonne G

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That's right, there are now no scutes. Interesting question. Since growth occurrs between scutes how is this shell now going to grow?
I've been thinking about this, and figured out that because ALL that keratin on the carapace is "new growth" it will ALL just keep growing and expanding as he grows.
 

907tortoise

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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:

View attachment 208776

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

View attachment 208777

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:

View attachment 208778 View attachment 208779

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.
So encouraging to see that a shell can come back from such serious damage.

So sad to see how some owners mistreat their animals!

If I lived further south I would love to run a rescue shelter for torts.
 

JoFisch

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I know this is an old thread but I have a question about the possible original injury. In the original post it was suggested that having a heat lamp too low could have burned the shell. If it was so hot as to burn the shell why wouldn’t the tort move away? Could it be caused by using a bulb that had too low of wattage so the keeper had to hang it very low to achieve the right basking temp and the proximity to the shell can cause the burn even if the basking temp isn’t inappropriate? Or is it most likely that the basking temp was way too high and the tort doesn’t move until its core gets sufficiently warm and the shell damage is done prior to that.
 

Tom

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I know this is an old thread but I have a question about the possible original injury. In the original post it was suggested that having a heat lamp too low could have burned the shell. If it was so hot as to burn the shell why wouldn’t the tort move away? Could it be caused by using a bulb that had too low of wattage so the keeper had to hang it very low to achieve the right basking temp and the proximity to the shell can cause the burn even if the basking temp isn’t inappropriate? Or is it most likely that the basking temp was way too high and the tort doesn’t move until its core gets sufficiently warm and the shell damage is done prior to that.
Its a concept called "slow burning". Its too hot for living tissue to survive, but not too hot to actually burn the tortoise to the point of feeling pain. Your question about the core temp is related. If the air temp and ground temp is cool, it sucks the heat out of the tortoise faster than the over head bulb can warm the tortoise, and their core temp never gets warm enough. This makes them sit under the bulb for hours. This is why I recommend that heat lamps and CHEs not be used over larger tortoises. Kane mats underneath, and RHPs over head are a much better way to go. Or use a mini radiant oil heater to heat the whole box.
 

JoFisch

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Its a concept called "slow burning". Its too hot for living tissue to survive, but not too hot to actually burn the tortoise to the point of feeling pain. Your question about the core temp is related. If the air temp and ground temp is cool, it sucks the heat out of the tortoise faster than the over head bulb can warm the tortoise, and their core temp never gets warm enough. This makes them sit under the bulb for hours. This is why I recommend that heat lamps and CHEs not be used over larger tortoises. Kane mats underneath, and RHPs over head are a much better way to go. Or use a mini radiant oil heater to heat the whole box.
Thank you for the explanation. Could the same thing happen to a smaller tortoise if the ambient temps were low, also forcing it to stay under the basking lamp?
 

Tom

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Thank you for the explanation. Could the same thing happen to a smaller tortoise if the ambient temps were low, also forcing it to stay under the basking lamp?
Not really. In an indoor enclosure the incandescent bulb generates a wider field of heat and light relative to the size of the tortoise, and if its too hot the tortoise will just stay on the outer edges. This wider area of heat and light will encompass the whole little tortoise and not one small area on the top of the carapace like a larger tortoise would get. The bulb also tends to warm up the ambient, so they are generally less inclined to over bask. And finally, most people set the basking temperature reasonably close in an indoor enclosure, while they don't take in to account how close the carapace will be to an outdoor bulb with a large tortoise. They may also set it too close because it is so cold outside and they don't have a proper insulated heated night house. Indoors my main concern with a cold ambient temp and a bulb set too hot would be pyramiding, not slow burning.

In practice, I see "slow burn" damage on a regular basis. People use dog houses or Dogloos with a CHE or heat lamp over a large sulcata, and the tell tale signs are obvious. Conversely, I've never seen a case of "slow burn" in an indoor housed smaller tortoise.
 

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