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dehydration

Discussion in 'Debatable Topics' started by mark1, Dec 4, 2018 at 6:10 PM.

  1. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    I get the points Will is making, but I also understand the sentiment that this experiment was unnecessary.

    Why do we need to know how long desert torts of various ages can survive without water? What's the point? Don't we already know that they do better with good hydration and that larger torts (larger than the yearlings in this study), due to body mass alone, can survive a lot longer with no water? If head starting an endangered species is the goal, why do we need to learn the extremes of what they can just barely survive? Shouldn't they be studying optimal head starting methods and then studying the results after release?

    I'm not understanding what the value of knowing how long it takes them to die without water is? We already know its not good for them and at some point they'll expire. Why do we need to actually let a bunch of them die for something we already know? I don't need to watch small tortoises die of dehydration to know that they are going to die of dehydration.
  2. mark1

    mark1 Well-Known Member

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    I believe these studies were started in around 2002 ? what year did you start your hydration studies ? how many tortoises died in yours and what were their ages ?




    I believe you misread or misinterpreted ? the hatchling survived the natural drought at 94% , the 4 yr olds died at a rate of 100% ? body mass was theorized to be a possible reason for being less drought tolerant , retained yolk being another possible reason , small size another , ability to shrink , behavior , possibly as Will stated the fact they are a higher percentage of water than an adult …….. I believe in the conclusion or discussion part of the paper he wrote “ DROUGHT TOLERANCE DECREASED WITH AGE “





    If you read the study , optimal methods was the goal ………. I believe hibernating northern turtles is optimal , that would mean exposing them to freezing temperatures , dehydrating and starvation conditions is optimal ………….. we not only know why , but we know how …….


    That wasn’t the purpose , drought is a natural occurrence , to understand what is survivable and what is not would be useful information in headstarting releases ……






    Well I’ve seen you post that dry substrate and lack of additional humidity will kill them in a matter of a month or two , this information along with the tortoises I raised with “old info” causes someone like me to question this opinion ……….makes , at least me , want to look further for possible other reasons …..




    Again I have to ask , what year did your dehydration studies start ? the “old info” came from a humans perspective of the environment the animals lived in , the antecdotal observations were wrong ……..
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  3. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    I started experimenting with the "wet" methods on sulcatas in 2008. The first one was 3 months old at the time I acquired her. Other species I hatched myself, or bought as hatchlings. Zero have died in my care as a result of my experiments. Of the 100's of babies I've hatched and or raised, only the 1 or 2 a year with obvious congenital defects at the time of hatching didn't survive. An example would be my post of the twins from 2 or 3 years ago. They didn't make it. I was also given a hatchling Russian that still had a yolk sac attached, and the sac became somehow injured and/or infected and I was unable to save that one. I'm frequently given dehydrated DT babies that are near death, and with my methods, I've saved all but one who was nearly dead when given to me.

    It doesn't take a month or two to kill a sulcata or a tiny testudo with a hot dry enclosure. The kidney damage I've referenced can literally happen in a day or two in some circumstances. Again, necropsy revealed damaged kidneys in these cases, and they don't die for weeks or sometimes months.

    I didn't misinterpret the study. I saw the survival rates for each age group. Hence my comment on it. Again, I'll state that watching how long it takes them to die of dehydration doesn't, in my mind, translate into studying optimal care. How long they can survive bad conditions doesn't tell me how to best care for them. It just gives me a reference for how long it takes them to die with no water.
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  4. daniellenc

    daniellenc Well-Known Member

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    I don't have a particular opinion on this study, but work in human healthcare. There is not one medication, procedure, treatment plan, or piece of medical equipment in use today that was not tested on humans at some point with adverse reactions including death. This is how science advances. This is how we know what works, how it works, when it stops working, how it affects other systems within the human body, and what conditions influence efficacy. This is how we treat all modern disease period with all living organisms because there is no other way.......none. In humans where ethics are a top priority prior to any trial they're informed of the risks that are known, they are given data on past and current studies, and they're given a choice to participate or opt out. Obviously, animals do not have this option and are the first test subjects for all human medical advancement. Arguing the ethics of this is a moot point IMO because there's no right answer other than the one you as an individual are comfortable with.

    Back to this study I myself have zero issue with animal testing. If my job was to raise a species in captivity, hatch them in captivity, and release them to populate the dwindling population in the wild I would want to know the effects of weather to increase the chances of survival as was done here. I do understand in the wild no one is providing a water bowl so it's important when considering ethics to me at least. I also understand outside of the human body science including veterinary science knows far less about how body systems work in animals and reptiles. In the wild many hatchling tortoises die, Predators, drought, food shortage, and habitat destruction have been key hypothesized culprits so studying these individually is pretty interesting. These guys were provided food, safety from predators, and a habitat safe from destruction leaving water as the only variable in theory except rainfall affects vegetation growth so I'm a little on the fence as to whether I agree the controls to study hydration were adequate. It appears this study showed once a tortoise is big enough and death by predator became less likely hydration, or lack there of was the leading cause of death. Why is this important? For starters if the desired outcome is increasing population we now know raising them in captivity beyond a year only increases lifespan when we look at death by predator. However, without supplemental water mortality increased. The key outlier here for me though is vegetation as mentioned because rainfall effects plant growth. However, in drought conditions both water and food are naturally reduced so maybe this is less important? Knowing ahead of time how drought effects mortality will inform decisions on how many eggs to incubate, how long to keep them in captivity, and the expected projection of survival rates year to year. While science can't predict the intensity or duration of drought conditions it can predict expected rainfall in a given season/year which could help population efforts when looking at ideal release times in the wild. Just my 2 cents here.
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  5. Will

    Will Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    https://journals.co.za/docserver/fu...est&checksum=C1C642A3F281437203D63BB3F8F510B1

    Here is the study I mention in post #20.

    And further consideration on the narrative that has come forward here.
    The scientists did not set out to kill any tortoises. The study would not have been approved by their IACUC .

    So as the experiment proceeded maybe they find one tortoises has passed. They may well have considered it an exception, lets see what happens next. Some others died, some did not. That is near the same as anyone who has pet tortoises and did not provide medical intervention until the tortoise survived or died. If you ever had a pet tortoise and thought, doesn't need a vet I think it will be fine, and it died, then you are just as cruel as these scientists.

    You are confusing an in arrears view with a naive view from one point in time to another, you are applying hindsight. These are wild tortoises being observed in a slightly modified wild, predators excluded, and rain was added.
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  6. mark1

    mark1 Well-Known Member

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    so prior to 2008 you were losing a lot of tortoises to kidney failure ?

    all but one of the dehydrated DT babies that have been given to you at deaths door didn't suffer from the damaged kidneys that occurs within a day or two being kept in a dry enclosure ?

    failure to thrive in hatchlings is a phenomena that has been studied , I've seen many proposed causes , dehydration and kidney damage is not a primary cause I can recall seeing ………

    in their book , "current therapy in reptile medicine and surgery" , mader and divers have a chapter on diseases seen in pet store reptiles ……..

    the most common symptoms in pet store chelonia are failure to thrive , anorexia , and abnormal shell development ………….

    the most common post mortem finding is herpes virus in 4 out of 10 tortoises …………..those herpes virus infections were also usually accompanied by a bacterial infection …………

    study done on captive DT in California showed 8 out of 10 tested positive for mycoplasma antibodies ……….

    herpes virus , mycoplasmal infections , rana virus , cryptosporidia , adenovirus , picornavirus , all reasonably common in captive chelonia , many of these sub-clinical in healthy appearing animals until stressed or immunocompromised …….

    144 captive tortoise necropsies ,I.F. Kemyer , the most common cause of death , 27% intestinal , 22% nutritional disorder ……..



    Stuart McArthur,BV
    etMed, MRCVS Holly House Veterinary Surgery 468 Street Lane, Moortown, Leeds LSI7 6HA, UK

    Silvia Blahak, DMV
    Staatliches Veterinaruntersuchungsamt Westerfeldstr. 1,32758 Detmold, Germany

    Petra Koelle, DVM,
    Cert. Spec, for Reptiles, Cert. Spec, for Fish Department of Zoology, Fish Biology and Fish Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Munich, Germany

    Elliott R. Jacobson, MS, DVM, PhD,
    DACZM Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610, USA

    Rachel E. Marschang, DVM
    Institute for Environmental and Animal Hygiene Hohenheim University Garbenstr. 30, 70599 Stuttgart, Germany

    Francesco Origgi, DVM, PhD
    Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases Human Virology Unit San Raffaele Scientific Institute Via Olgettina 58, 20132 Milan, Italy


    "But stress factors like transport, sale, poor husbandry, or hibernation may decrease the level of antibodies and the tortoises will again become symptomatic of acute disease and shed virus. Usually clinically healthy tortoises are acquired and suddenly became ill, spreading virus and infecting a whole collection. They are often not kept in quarantine or tested for herpesvirus antibodies. The latent carriers are mostly Testudo graeca, though Testudo marginata or A. horsfieldii may also be latently infected."
  7. Joma

    Joma Member

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    Slippery slope people. Yes, there is an ethical difference between studying free roaming animals from a position of non-interference and studying those that are penned. As soon as you place a pen around an undomesticated animal, you have interfered with it from a position of authority, and therefore have a certain responsibility vis a vis its outcome - it is no longer in a “natural environment” and you are the creator of the artifice.

    I also read “zero issues with animal testing” from @daniellenc. Really? This is a very broad statement that may need to be refined as I can probably show you dozens of animals experiments that would turn your stomach with their cruelty and lack of clear intention and purpose.
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  8. TammyJ

    TammyJ Well-Known Member

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  9. Yvonne G

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

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    Yes, but from my understanding of this "pen," it was very large.
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  10. TammyJ

    TammyJ Well-Known Member

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    :DThere you go.
  11. Joma

    Joma Member

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    Perhaps. But if, as you suggest, the pen was large enough so as to not be a pen at all (ie. so as to not interfere with their behavior in any way) why did they need to use it in the first place? We must assume there was a purpose to that pen, a purpose which seems to dismiss the idea they were adopting a position of non-interference.
  12. TammyJ

    TammyJ Well-Known Member

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    When is a pen not a pen? I guess when none of the animals ever encounter the fence. Hmmm. What was the topic again?
  13. mark1

    mark1 Well-Known Member

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    many studies identical to this one were done on wild roaming tortoises , at or near the same timeframe ……. all the deceased tortoises were necropsied . the problem with the unpenned tortoises was predation and finding the tortoises during the dry season ……. the tortoises hold up in their burrows during drought , they don't go look for water ……… finding predated tortoises you can't be sure if the tortoise died from the drought , would have survived the drought but was killed …….. the tortoises in the pens left no doubt the drought was the primary cause of death ….. the necropsies on them could be used to determine if the wild found dead tortoises died from drought , would have survived had they not been predated , or were live but past the point of ability to recover

    ………. the necropsies on tortoises that died from drought displayed in common abnormalities , and degree of abnormalities , of the thymus , liver , lungs , gut , bone , blood , muscle , body fat and bladder …… I asked about kidney damage because it's an organ I've not seen mentioned in the necropsies I've read ………… I've not seen a study done on hyperthermia , but hyperthermia does cause kidney damage or failure …………… in order to show this somebody would have to overheat tortoises to the point of death , I imagine it's been done as I've seen lethal temperatures for turtles and tortoises before ……

    as far as failure to thrive , many reasons have been proposed because there are obviously many causes ………one of the things the study attempted to determine was the physiological data of the "point of no return" from dehydration caused by drought ……. "point of no return" being synonymous to what is posted about "there is nothing you could do or could've done " , that is a real point ……… I personally believe receiving an open eyed active hatchling is nowhere near that point of no return , at least as far as dehydration ……… Tom mentioned receiving DT near death from dry conditions , with his care only ever losing one , I believe that would back up my thought that an open eyed active hatchling is nowhere near to far gone as far as dehydration...……

    a lot of folks would be surprised at the thought , further investigation and knowledge that comes from a study that may outwardly appear to raise the question why was it done ? jmo
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  14. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    Nice try. I never said that and I'm not interested in yet another battle with someone that wants to encourage people to keep tortoises dry. You don't like what I say, then don't follow my advice. You want to keep your tortoise the old ways, go ahead. When you want to succeed and do better come back and talk to me. I'm happy to share what I've learned in three decades of tortoise keeping and experimentation.
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  15. mark1

    mark1 Well-Known Member

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    everything I've posted has said these desert tortoises do better with supplemental water , they do best during the rainy season in their natural environment ……. the study I posted exhibited those facts long before your 2008 revelation , the folks running that study didn't miss that observation ……when folks start spinning the other sides words ("encourage people to keep tortoises dry.") they may as well just quit , cause they already admitted they lost ……. I guess it's possible your just not a good reader ? at no point did I suggest such a thing , or anything I posted suggest it …….... maybe your 3 decades of studies could withstand a bit of tweaking ? if I were you I probably wouldn't argue with this idiot either , as your not gonna be able to back up anything you got with anything other than what you think you see ……I don't question your ability to raise a tortoise , but an idiot like myself has seen countless folks who do stuff , some doing it very well , without a clue of how what their doing works ……
    as far as raising them dry prior to your 2008 revelation , you've posted you did "using the old info" , many times on this board ? 2008 was 10yrs ago , 3 decades is 30 , if it causes kidney failure , you must have had some whose kidneys failed ????? the success rate with DT at deaths door part , that is your claim 2 post back ……..


    these folks found dehydration to cause

  16. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    Dammit. I just can't let bad info stand. This argument has already been had so many times...

    Here's is the analogy @mark1 : I'm saying driving while under the influence of alcohol causes many fatalities, and we shouldn't do it. Now you come along and link an old study that says scientists have done autopsies and found that humans also die from cancer, heart attacks and malaria. And here's another old study that shows some people died while drinking and driving while some others LIVED! {Cue the dramatic music, Dum dum dum....} SO WHAT? Doesn't change or even relate to what I'm saying! Yes, I've seen tortoises die from many causes including the ones you've listed. What the hell does that have to do with the best way to raise babies and help them to thrive? NOTHING!

    None of mine died before 2008. Somehow, like the DT babies in your 15 year old study, they managed to survive in the wrong conditions. Doesn't mean it was good for them. Certainly wasn't "optimal". They lived, but they didn't thrive. Since that time, I and many others have sent in dead babies for necropsy, to the tune of $500-1000 each, and found kidney failure to be the PRIMARY COD. I can't think of a case where there weren't also numerous secondary problems noted on the report. When baby tortoises begin to fail and internal organs start shutting down, all sorts of pathogens can gain a foothold. This doesn't mean dehydration and kidney failure wasn't the COD. Further, the necropsies I've paid for were complete. They didn't find a problem or two and stop there, as most vets would. Case in point: I bought a group of ivory sulcatas from a reputable well known seller. Some of them were presenting little white pustules on the neck skin on arrival. Other symptoms were lethargy, lack of appetite and eating substrate. We (my vet friends and I...) lanced and cultured some of the lesions and the lab reported back some weird bacteria that was very uncommon. Can't remember the name now, and its unimportant. We tried treating the lesions topically and systemically, and treatment failed. Necropsy, FULL necropsy, revealed reptile cryptosporidia as the primary COD and my weird surface bacteria was one of several other secondary complications. Kidney failure, other organ failure, or dehydration, had nothing to do with the death of those babies. It was a type of crypto which is currently incurable and untreatable in reptiles. What does this have to do with the price of tea in China??? This has no bearing on a discussion about daily soaks, and kidney or other organ damage done from artificially dry captive enclosures. Apples and oranges.

    Now think about this: How many people are going to buy a $50 sulcata, watch it stay the same size for weeks or months, and then spend $500 dollars on a necropsy when it finally dies? Many of these people have already spent hundreds of dollars on futile vet care. What percentage of these people are then going to spend ANOTHER $500-1000, have their vet who failed to save their baby send their dead baby off to Kansas, get a complete necropsy report and then publicly share their findings? Further, even if they did, who is going to gather all these individual reports, compile the data, and post about it on the Tortoise Forum? Sadly, I am about the closest thing to this we are going to get.

    So you found an old study that watched some DTs die of dehydration in a wild setting. Great. Babies survived the drought conditions for longer than the four year olds. Awesome. I'll file that interesting info away in the back of my brain with all sorts of other useless fun facts. Now why are you arguing with me about the best way to start tropical tortoise species? Why are you questioning 100's of first hand cases of mine and 1000's of first hand cases of other people all over the globe? What are you advocating? Further, what the hell do you even know about DTs??? How many DTs have you started, rescued, raised or cared for? How many DTs have you run hydration experiments on? You are arguing with someone who has been observing the species since the 70s, caring for them since the 90s, and running direct hydration comparison experiments on them for almost 10 years, all under the supervision and guidance of experienced reptile vets. WHY ARE WE HAVING THIS CONVERSATION???

    Time for the bottom line: I'm telling people to house their baby tortoises on damp substrate, offer a humid hide and an appropriate water bowl, offer species appropriate ambient humidity and temperatures, and to soak babies daily. I'm telling them this because I KNOW for a FACT, that all babies of all species will thrive and do well under these conditions. I KNOW this because I've done it both ways and have been experimenting with this for decades. I KNOW this because I've seen the symptoms of dehydration and paid for the necropsies on dehydrated babies that came of of the typical "beef jerky maker" style enclosures. I KNOW this because I've seen and talked about necropsy reports and first hand vet accounts from many of these cases.The great Bill Zovickian, who I respect and admire tremendously for his accomplishments and experience, says in his care sheet that he soaks radiata babies religiously every day for the first four years. Is all of this personal observation and experience null and void to you because I don't have anything from that's been published in a peer reviewed scientific journal? The information that I needed didn't exist. I'm a problem solver. I went and found the information myself, piece by piece, over many years, and its all right here on the forum for you and anyone else to review. You are free to dismiss it. Others have chosen to not dismiss it and have had universal success with their tortoises because of it.

    Now Mark, time for YOU to answer some questions: How many necropsies have you paid for? How much hydration experimenting have you been doing for that last few decades? Where are all of your TFO threads showing all of your experiments and their results? How many DT babies have YOU raised and what were your first hand observations? WHAT is the point of this thread and these studies you've linked here? What is it YOU are advocating here?
  17. mark1

    mark1 Well-Known Member

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    it's what the study was about ? headstarting DT's ??? not exactly a leap of logic ????? that wasn't the gist of my post in any case , I think the title of the post is self explanatory ???? i'll check with you next time before I post ………..

    my original post was under a vendor thread , I didn't realize it and it was deleted ……. a woman bought a tortoise from someone everyone apparently knew and liked ….she had a picture of her enclosure and tortoise , you along with others posted the substrate looks dry and the top is not closed , told her she killed her tortoise from dehydration / kidney damage , having had it for a month ……. I say the odds of dehydrating a healthy tortoise to the point of death in that timeframe is near impossible without quite an effort , I don't believe an open top and dry substrate will do it , i'd think you'd need to cook him at the same time , while denying him of water..... aquatic turtle hatchlings can take more than that …DT are known to hatch and survive up to 8 months without food or water , I doubt sulcatas are much different …. does it mean she didn't do something to kill it , no ……. because the guy is liked here , does it mean she didn't get a sick tortoise , no ……….. I believe it was a sulcata , he offered her a discount , he should have just sent her another , they are a dime a dozen ……. but everyone convinced her she killed it herself , she may have , or may not have ...

    ……… I recently bought 3 turtles , from a tortoise god i'm sure you all know and like , advertised as "perfect in everyway" , they were far from it , no matter how much folks like the guy …… one had a respiratory infection and shell rot . the second had an ear abscess and shell rot , two ear abscesses currently . the third a kinked tail and a chunk of marginal missing , i'm not new to this…it'll be years before I ever have the confidence to put them with mine …… I read on here lots of times folks asking if their animal are sick , they are new and often can't recognize it even if it's obvious to someone who does this ………..

    someone taking in lots of sick DT's , the odds of not having tortoises there that have been exposed to mycoplasma is slim to none , herpes also …….. those pathogens will not bother a healthy unstressed animal , stress one out and you very well may have a sick animal on your hands , imo I've seen it plenty of times ………… also congenital issues affect every animal I know of ? not every hatchling is born with what it needs to survive , that failure to thrive thing ……..

    I don't give my opinion on things I've seen unless I have seen verification from other reputable sources , my opinions usually aren't far off , I am a good guesser ……….. I don't see something once and assume I know the cause , I've been around long enough to know better than that I know what constitutes an opinion ……….

    the paper written on that study was peer reviewed and published in 2015 -6-1 ? that's 2 1/2 years old ? maybe it's a 15 year study ? do you have a theory on why none of the ones you raised dry didn't die ? is it something you wonder about ? after having seen them die from unrecoverable acute kidney damage after 1-2 days of being kept dry ????
    could I ask the name of a herp veterinarian near you you would recommend ? they didn't die prior to 2008 , but "since that time" they have ? this is the internet , anyone can say whatever they want and be whoever they want to be , doesn't mean i'm buying it ………. any necropsies done on my animals are done for free , as the vets have to ask before they do one , it's for their own knowledge ……. I've helped make all my vets better at what they do , I've got near 30yrs invested in the current ones ………...
    the original study plainly stated drought was far from optimal , it was fatal to a majority of their adult tortoise , I hardly find that a endorsement of dry ??????……… they did better with supplemental water , they all did best in years of above average rainfall ………. you obviously could stand to read it , although you may "KNOW" to much to bother …. myself , when I read things like this I relate what I read to what I've seen , it's how my guesses and opinions become conclusions ? I don't use folks I gave the information they have to verify mine , I think they call that circular referencing ?
    "None of mine died before 2008" , this was post 2008 they were dying ? which tortoises were you doing the necropsies on ? were they dying from your study ?
    it also doesn't mean it was ?

    folks like those who did the study referenced are the ones doing necropsies , they're paid to study such stuff , which is why i put more stock in their results and conclusions than contradicting unsubstantiated info from someone off the internet ….



    a vet worth having will ask if it's ok for them to look , unless they already know , it's how they learn ……..don't know about Kansas ? but my vets are capable of necropsy themselves , the animal is dead , not much pressure there , if they weren't capable i'd get another vet…….


    the only one arguing is you , with Nagy, KA Hillard, S Dickson, S and Morafka , D.J. on a conclusion of theirs you apparently don't disagee with ?????……. it was about raising hatchling DT's , and the conditions they are known to survive and the conditions they did best in ,their conclusion happened to be WET ………….

    reputable facts and information

    the proper question would be , "what the hell do those guys know about DT's???
    I've actually raised turtles and tortoises longer than you've been alive ……..

    none , i'm guessing those headstart program guys got you beat ?

    the same amount you have , you didn't kill any in your studies did you ?????

    you raised them dry for 20yrs, "none died" , you raised them "wet" for 10 yrs, some apparently died , for your necropsies since 2008 ….. your conclusion was what ?
    you got lots of reptile qualified vets in your area ?

    well then your on the wrong thread , I've simply supplied folks someone elses information, and who those someones are , their project showed what arid tortoises can and can't survive , and found that supplemented water , above average rainfall is optimal for them , they grow better and survive at a much higher rate ….. maybe your offended as your dehydration study is redundant and some of your conclusions are contradictory to what these folks put out there …...
    "universal" , your quite an interesting character …. I've seen it , thanks

    it's the internet , I can tell you anything , I would only put reputable folks info that's been verifiably confirmed , from folks with credentials that are public and verifiable …….. stuff I seen first hand to substantiate their findings , actually verifying mine , is always nice ……

    I've raised forest species , redfoots and elongated tortoises in a manner that would be consider "dry" here …..... they didn't die from kidney failure , they actually never died that I know of ……. was it the best way to raise them , no ……… but that knowledge that they survived and grew in those conditions , is knowledge , to me knowledge is useful ……… a healthy arid species of tortoise being killed in a matter of days from not being supplied additional humidity ,and dry substrate resulting in acute dehydration/kidney failure contradicts what I've seen and read ……… I had a r.p.manni baby hatch in the indoor enclosure one year , when I took everybody outside in may , I didn't know he was there , he survived to november , without food or water , when I brought them back in ….. that is a species not evolved to be drought tolerant ………..

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