Chipping Shell

wessicataylor

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Hello, my neighbors recently moved and left this little guy behind because they couldn't take him with them. We took him in about a week ago. I am concerned because his shell is very brittle on the surface and there are large pieces of the scutes that are chipping off. We already have an appointment to see our herp vet this week to check this out, as well as a general check up. He is in quarantine away from our other tortoises for now too. I just wanted to know if anyone had any ideas as to what this might be so I can go into my appointment with some knowledge. Also can anyone verify what species he is? He kind of looks like a desert tortoise but his head and shell don't really look right, but not sure if he just has some deformities. I really appreciate any help or advice anyone has in advance!
 

crimson_lotus

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I'm not an expert, but perhaps desert tortoise? Not sure about the chipped shell, but maybe getting more info on how this tortoise was cared for by the previous owners may help. Could be potential heat lamp damage?
 

Gillian M

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Hi @wessicataylor and welcome to the forum.

Personally, I believe it's not enough humidity; but I'm not sure - am no tort expert. Torts are to be soaked DAILY in warm water, also to avoid pyramiding. Do you do that? What is the climate like back there? I for one live in Jordan (The Middle East), where the climate is VERY VERY DRY. Therefore I give Oli a daily soak in warm water and I spray his enclosure with water daily as well.

It COULD (am guessing) be lack of calcium.

Let's tag the experts here, for help: @Tom @Yvonne G your help would be highly appreciated. Thanks.
 

Tom

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Looks an awful lot like a desert tortoise, but I suppose it could also be a really old and weathered Texas tortoise too. They have similar leg scales, and both have those chin glands and protruding gulars too.

The color is more desert tortoise, but the size and shape make me lean Texas tortoise. Luckily, care and feeding is similar for both.

Did this tortoise have a heated night box with a heat lamp or CHE over him? The carapace damage is similar to what we see in those cases. Over head heat lamps don't work well for large tortoise in outside night boxes. That could be the issue.

If this is a TX tort, a contributing factor to the chipping could be that Texas tortoises live in areas that tend to be more damp and humid than the CA desert. If this is a TX tort and its been living in dry CA for a long time, the chipping could be be a result of the long term dryness. Just guessing here...
 

Gillian M

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Jordan
Looks an awful lot like a desert tortoise, but I suppose it could also be a really old and weathered Texas tortoise too. They have similar leg scales, and both have those chin glands and protruding gulars too.

The color is more desert tortoise, but the size and shape make me lean Texas tortoise. Luckily, care and feeding is similar for both.

Did this tortoise have a heated night box with a heat lamp or CHE over him? The carapace damage is similar to what we see in those cases. Over head heat lamps don't work well for large tortoise in outside night boxes. That could be the issue.

If this is a TX tort, a contributing factor to the chipping could be that Texas tortoises live in areas that tend to be more damp and humid than the CA desert. If this is a TX tort and its been living in dry CA for a long time, the chipping could be be a result of the long term dryness. Just guessing here...
Thanks your help Tom.

The tort does seem to look dry and in need of soaks as well as humidity.(Spraying his/her enclosure with water) Right?
 
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