I have questions...

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shellysmom

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Hello,

I acquired a sulcata about a month ago. S/he's about 12" long, weighs 14 pounds, and is supposedly about 8 years old. It has severe pyramiding, as well as some sort of large indentation on the side of its shell. I've attached a photo. If anyone can answer my questions, I'd be extremely grateful.

First of all, does 14 pounds seem about right for a 12" sulcata?

Secondly, do torts with severe pyramiding or previous MBD tend to stay on the smaller side, or do they grow pretty well once their issues are addressed?

Third, what could have caused such a large indentation on its side? Does that go along with pyramiding, or MDB, or something else?

Finally, what is the most reliable way to tell gender if the shell is horribly deformed? I was told it's a female, but the supracaudal scute is curved downward so much that poop sometimes gets stuck in the shell by the tail, and I have to clean it out. I can't even see where the cloaca is on the tail because of that. The tail is less than 2 inches long, which makes me think female, but then the plastron seems slightly concave, which suggests male. However, upon close examination, it's evident that the entire plastron is somewhat misshapen because of the indentation along the side of the shell. Any other body parts I can look at to determine gender? Any other ideas?



Well, crizzle, my photo didn't come through...
 

Tom

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1. Weight sounds about right.
2. It can go either way. Millions of variables involved. Hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst.
3. I'd have to see it, but its likely an old injury of some sort.
4. Post a straight on pic of the anal scute area, hopefully showing the tail, and we'll have a go at it. A nice long, warm soak and a soft toothbrush will go a long way in cleaning him/her up. Is there any concavity to the plastron? Anywhere near a 2" tail and we can just call it male. My 18" female has about a 3/4" tail.
 

Missy

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I have a similar situation with Lana. Without pics it is hard to tell but does sound like MBD that caused the indentation. Since I got Lana she has made great improvements and I believe is as healthy as she can be. When I got her she was about the size of yours but has really grown a lot in the past few months. She was so weak when I got her that I had to crawl on my knees and hold her weight up and force her to walk. I think she did not have regular access to water and had to show her the water bowl for several weeks before she finally took a drink. These beautiful creatures can be saved, tho their shells will never be the way they should have been. Put her on the best diet possible and give her plenty of fresh water and calcium and exercise and she can make a great comeback from what someones stupidity has done. Do you live where she can have sunlight most of the year? If not the best UVA/UVB bulb that you can get will get her through the winter months. Good luck and looking forward to seeing pics :)
 

shellysmom

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Ahhhh, ok, thanks for the photo posting link. I'll try again to include a photo so you can see the indentation on the side.

So after looking at lots of pictures of male sulcatas versus females, I am comfortable saying that SHE is really a HE.

I am fortunate enough to live in sunny Florida, so Mr. Shelly is very much enjoying the beautiful weather outdoors. He went for a vet visit, just to make sure I'm on the right track with everything, and despite his deformities from past issues, he is currently in very good health.

DSCN0335.jpg
 

CtTortoiseMom

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Poor Mr. Shelly he looks like he needs lots of love! It sounds like he is in great hands and that he will be able to have the life he deserves.
 

Tom

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Sadly, It does look like MBD. But now that he's getting sunshine and a good diet. He'll probably be okay.

Why don't more of the people who sell torts explain that they NEED sunshine? Ugh... so easy to prevent.
 

Shelly

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shellysmom said:
Hello,

I acquired a sulcata about a month ago. S/he's about 12" long, weighs 14 pounds, and is supposedly about 8 years old. It has severe pyramiding, as well as some sort of large indentation on the side of its shell. I've attached a photo. If anyone can answer my questions, I'd be extremely grateful.

First of all, does 14 pounds seem about right for a 12" sulcata?

Secondly, do torts with severe pyramiding or previous MBD tend to stay on the smaller side, or do they grow pretty well once their issues are addressed?

Third, what could have caused such a large indentation on its side? Does that go along with pyramiding, or MDB, or something else?

Finally, what is the most reliable way to tell gender if the shell is horribly deformed? I was told it's a female, but the supracaudal scute is curved downward so much that poop sometimes gets stuck in the shell by the tail, and I have to clean it out. I can't even see where the cloaca is on the tail because of that. The tail is less than 2 inches long, which makes me think female, but then the plastron seems slightly concave, which suggests male. However, upon close examination, it's evident that the entire plastron is somewhat misshapen because of the indentation along the side of the shell. Any other body parts I can look at to determine gender? Any other ideas?



Well, crizzle, my photo didn't come through...



Hi Mom!
 

Yvonne G

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John: Is Erika really your mom or are you making a joke because of your and her usernames?
 

ChiKat

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haha I'm assuming it was a joke...made me laugh at least :)

Poor little thing was definitely not taken care of very well :( I'm glad he's with you now! Please keep us updated on his progress!
 

Yvonne G

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Erika:

You can take some warm water, baby shampoo and a soft brush and scrub this guy all over. All that black around his shell and on his legs is dirt. He should be brown.

I was thinking that the indentation on his side is from some sort of injury when he was quite young. There might be MBD going on too, but also an old injury.
 

shellysmom

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Thanks for the info Yvonne, I'd love to get him all cleaned up. He likes to soak and have his feet rubbed, so I'm assuming he'd probably enjoy a baby bubble bath with a little scrub-a-dub. Although, I don't know how clean he'll stay, as I helped him start a burrow. He's made it about 8 feet long so far...
 
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