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Desert Tortoise chipped shell

Discussion in 'North American Tortoises (genus Gopherus)' started by kaypea, Jun 13, 2018.

  1. kaypea

    kaypea New Member

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    I recently adopted my first Calif Desert Tortoise. When pulling him out from under a bush I could only reach a rear corner of his shell, and when I pulled on that corner a piece of the shell chipped off. On inspecting it, I noticed that there was also an old chip on the other side. Are the shells supposed to be this fragile? He was dropped off at an animal shelter anonymously, so his age and history are unknown. CalenderT.JPG CrackL2.JPG CrackR3 (2).JPG
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  2. ascott

    ascott Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    He is super handsome.....and while it is tempting to grab the tort by a ledge of the shell....really reach in a touch further to get a grip on a thicker part/section of the shell....I mean, I totally get it....I have pulled and not problems...but if you are going to pull, make sure to do so in a thicker spot...and the tort will be fine...no harm done....I would however, fun my finger along that chipped spot and if it is rough/sharp to the touch I would take a ladies emery board and securely set the tort on my lap and gently gently gently run the emery board along any sharp/jagged edge to smooth it out so that no irritation/sore develops on the leg skin near that spot.... :)
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  3. orv

    orv Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to the world of stewards of CDTs. We have been keepers of California Desert Tortoises for quite a few years and find the appearance of your new baby troubling. My initial impressions are that there is very little muscle on the upper portion of your tortouse's legs. Those rear legs should appear robust for digging and exploring his territory. Next, I've not had any CDT with a shell so fragile. I truly question your tortoise's diet, and especially his calcium and vitamin D intake. Desert tortoises are resilient creatures, with proper diet, sunlight and lots of outdoor exercise there is hope for a good life for your's too. Enjoy your new charge and welcome!
  4. orv

    orv Well-Known Member

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    By the way, I see from your profile that we are located just a few miles south of you in Aguanga.
  5. daniellenc

    daniellenc Well-Known Member

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    Oh if @orv is close please let that help flow over. My baby is still small but I don’t grab from that angle. I just scoop them up plastron (bottom shell) first. However, I agree his shell shouldn’t shatter like that not a CDT owner but abnormal. @Tom @RosemaryDW @Yvonne G is this MBD maybe? BTW I have no clue and am trying to learn.
  6. ascott

    ascott Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    By the way....it was good of you to adopt the tortoise out of the animal shelter....likely it was roaming for some time....you will have the tort plumped up and healthy in no time....those eyes show he is ready and willing to thrive....as well as very wide and cleared eye....offer lots and lots of food and water and outside time and all should work out fine..... :)
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  7. orv

    orv Well-Known Member

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    Not to overload you, but I'd be happy to put you in touch with the local California Tortoise and Turcle Club (CTTC). Your nearst local is in Redlands. PM me if you'd like more information as to who you can contact.
  8. Grandpa Turtle 144

    Grandpa Turtle 144 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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  9. kaypea

    kaypea New Member

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    Thank you, ORV. He was actually adopted through the Chino chapter, via the animal shelter.
  10. kaypea

    kaypea New Member

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    Thanks for the tips and yes, I learned my lesson!
  11. Toddrickfl1

    Toddrickfl1 Well-Known Member

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    daniellenc likes this.
  12. Grandpa Turtle 144

    Grandpa Turtle 144 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Nope ! He’s cute . But thank you.
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  13. kaypea

    kaypea New Member

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    Orv, I also wonder if his past diet has led to a fragile shell. The rescue lady said not to feed him anything, as he has the run of my yard with grass, weeds, plumbago, rose and hibiscus. I don't see him eating much, though. Walking around a couple hours a day, then mostly in his burrow or under a bush. Reading the care sheets, I wonder if I should give him cuttlebone. I see Chewy.com has Turtle bone supplement from Zoo Med. I'm guessing I could also get it from Petco or the local reptile store. I welcome your suggestions.
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  14. daniellenc

    daniellenc Well-Known Member

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    Cuttlebone is great and always ok to have lying around.
  15. Maro2Bear

    Maro2Bear Well-Known Member

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    Check out the bird section in your local WalMart.... we usually pick up a few from there during our weekly shopping adventures. Cheaper than from a “Pet Store”.

    Good luck..
  16. kaypea

    kaypea New Member

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    I found some at Walmart on-line for birds but it said it contained phosphorus, and I had read that tortoise should not have phosphorus.
  17. Pearly

    Pearly Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to the happy family of Tortoise Lovers! I’m in Texas, owned by couple of adorable Redfooteds
  18. Pearly

    Pearly Well-Known Member

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    I seem to recall reading somewhere that plumbago is not good for torts. All the other stuff- awesome! And... I would FEED! I mean - supplement to plump him up a bit.
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