Help with sulcata pyramiding?

Jacob Brissette

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Hey everyone!

This is comet who is my 9 month old sulcata and also my first tortoise. I was wondering if her shell is looking alright or if I need to make better efforts at keeping her well hydrated.

She has a clean water dish available in her enclosure 24/7 that she drinks from everyday. I am using cypress mulch and I try to keep it as moist as possible but sometimes I admit I do forgot to spray it. I bathe her about once every other day and sometimes every two days because she is very good about soaking herself inside of her water dish.

Any input would be greatly appreciated! Thanks everyone for reading.
 

Bee62

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Hello and welcome to the forum. Glad you found us.
Your "Comet" is a pretty good looking tort baby ! The shell is very smooth and I can`t see any pyramiding. It seems that you keep your tort very well.
The only thing you could make better is to soak your tort every day although she uses the water dish too. Keep an eye on high humidity and high warmth in the enclosure of your baby tort and she or he will grow like a weed ...
 

Jacob Brissette

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Hello and welcome to the forum. Glad you found us.
Your "Comet" is a pretty good looking tort baby ! The shell is very smooth and I can`t see any pyramiding. It seems that you keep your tort very well.
The only thing you could make better is to soak your tort every day although she uses the water dish too. Keep an eye on high humidity and high warmth in the enclosure of your baby tort and she or he will grow like a weed ...

Thanks so much! That certainly will put my worries to rest. Being a first time tortoise keeper I find myself fretting about every little thing.
 

Markw84

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Your tortoise is starting to pyramid. As you know - Pyramiding is caused when the carapace is allowed to dry out too much during active growth periods. Either your humidity is not high enough where the tortoise is choosing to spend most of it's time, or perhaps the lighting you use is drying too much. Are you using some type of closed/covered enclosure? The picture looks like the substrate is not damp. You need to dump water in the substrate and mix it up with your hands to get it uniformly damp. The top will then dry out a bit, but the bottom layers should remain damp. Be sure temps don't drop below 80° day or night. Some lighting setup will dry the tortoise too much as well. Let us see pictures of the enclosure and lighting setup and we can give you ideas.
 

Jacob Brissette

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Your tortoise is starting to pyramid. As you know - Pyramiding is caused when the carapace is allowed to dry out too much during active growth periods. Either your humidity is not high enough where the tortoise is choosing to spend most of it's time, or perhaps the lighting you use is drying too much. Are you using some type of closed/covered enclosure? The picture looks like the substrate is not damp. You need to dump water in the substrate and mix it up with your hands to get it uniformly damp. The top will then dry out a bit, but the bottom layers should remain damp. Be sure temps don't drop below 80° day or night. Some lighting setup will dry the tortoise too much as well. Let us see pictures of the enclosure and lighting setup and we can give you ideas.

I thought it looked slightly bumpy.
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This is the new setup I just built as a step up from the aquarium I used before which was great at holding humidity but didn't have the room I was looking for. I like your idea about mixing the substrate with water as I'm just spraying it now but it dries out quickly. I think what I'll do is get some plastic liner on the bottom and mix it up with some water then buy some sphagnum moss and soak it for her hide. I'm using a 75 watt night bulb for her at night and it usually keeps the tank pretty warm but again it's hard with the open air tortoise table. Might get some acrylic to fit on the front so it holds temp and humidity better.
 
M

Maggie Cummings

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I use sheet acrylic to cover the top of my young Sulcata. Or this is what they look like grown up DSCN3363
 

Markw84

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I thought it looked slightly bumpy.
View attachment 206044
This is the new setup I just built as a step up from the aquarium I used before which was great at holding humidity but didn't have the room I was looking for. I like your idea about mixing the substrate with water as I'm just spraying it now but it dries out quickly. I think what I'll do is get some plastic liner on the bottom and mix it up with some water then buy some sphagnum moss and soak it for her hide. I'm using a 75 watt night bulb for her at night and it usually keeps the tank pretty warm but again it's hard with the open air tortoise table. Might get some acrylic to fit on the front so it holds temp and humidity better.
You need to fully enclose the setup or you will never keep the humidity up where you need. Plexiglass or something is needed to close off the front. I assume the top is closed? I would also go with some orchid bark for substrate. Get it at a garden center, and you can usually find it pretty cheap. It is used for growing orchids because it holds moisture really well and will not mold. Put some pots in there with a spider plant, pothus ivy, or boston fern. Those are good choices that do well in lower light. That will make the setup much more natural, not barren, for the tortoise and help with humidity. The tortoise will like to rest under the overhanging branches and it is good food once it grows enough to hang down within reach.

Can't tell what you have for lighting. What are you using for UVB, basking, and night heat? If you have a MVB (mercury vapor bulb) in that dome fixture, it looks too close and could very well be contributing to the carapace drying out. I also see a dome fixture pointing sideways into the enclosure. What is that? Is it just for the picture? You should not have any light, or basking source positioned any way except direct, overhead.

Here's a picture of one of my enclosures to give you some ideas. This is one my Burmese Star males are in, but I keep my sulcatas in an identical enclosure their first year... Think tropical garden, not barren landscape.

IMG 5139
 
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Maggie Cummings

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That's what I was thinking. Hopefully it's not too late to get her back on the right track.

Help came too late for Knobby. I think he's 5 years and smaller than my yearling Sulcata. He's in a closed chamber. It won't help now. He'will always have that pyramiding. But I'm hoping with a good diet, more heat and humidity it will stop , or least stop whatever is coming in bad. But you need to put your tortoise in a closed and humidity container. No doubt
 
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