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Is my tortoise growing fast enough.

Discussion in 'Marginated tortoises' started by Lendrick, Jul 21, 2017.

  1. Lendrick

    Lendrick New Member

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    Hi everyone,
    I'm new to tortoises and hoped I can share ideas and learn more from the forum.

    I had my marginated tortoise for like a year now. When I got him (if it's a he) weighed about 20g now approaching a year he's about 67g. I tried to keep his growth to about 10% increase every month. I seen other peoples marginated weigh a lot more after a year. Just wanted to make sure he's ok.

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  2. Grandpa Turtle 144

    Grandpa Turtle 144 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Hi
    ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1500729870.708500.jpg
  3. Alaskamike

    Alaskamike Well-Known Member

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    I know very little about Marinated Torts. But I do know there can be a wide variance in size within species / types, as well as growth rates.

    There are folks here that can help you look closely at your environmental set up much better than I can.

    I have raised & am raising several types ; Aldabra, Sulcata, Leopard, & Florida Box Turtles.

    What I look for is
    - steady gains, move forward. Losing weight usually is an indicator of problems.
    - mobility. Do they show a good activity level
    - eating. Do they eat a variety. , reasonable amounts , eliminate well.
    - shell. Is it forming well, evenly, with little to no pyramiding ( dependent on species sometimes ). Is shell , & plastron firm.
    - eyes. Clear, open , alert.

    If all of these seem good , I am happy with slow or fast growth or something in between.

    I've experienced 6-11% growth / month with the larger Sulcata & Aldabra. Been happy with that.

    As torts become full adults their monthly growth slows , but they seem to always grow some.
  4. Tidgy's Dad

    Tidgy's Dad Well-Known Member

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    Hello, and a very warm welcome to Tortoise Forum. :)
    What Mike said.
    Slow, steady growth is fine, they grow at varying rates.
  5. marginatawhisperer

    marginatawhisperer Member 5 Year Member

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    Warm welcome! Your tortoise seems fine!
    I bought my first two marginatas 9 years ago at one year of age. Weight was around 35 grams after 450 miles in a car.
    I have monitored weight and SCL ever since in a book. Around once a month, if I can keeps my fingers away from scale and caliper.
    They are now at ten years of age 1900 grams and 1500 grams, still growing, but slower after maturity. Biggest is 25 cm, smallest is 22 cm SCL.
    The book ist turning into very interesting reading. I note problems and changes.
    Tortoises do not have significant economical value, therefore progress is made by us by anecdote, observation and careful changes.
    Yours is bigger than mine at the same age. It is possible to get them to 900 grams in two years, I have read, but I do not dare to follow.
    The European philosophy is limited amount of food to tortoises, fearing their kidneys cannot handle especially the protein.
    If you want to feed "ad libitum", let it get a lot of water, too.
    I just had four hatchlings 9 weeks ago, 8-9 grams, they are now over 20 grams, and I do not feed and heat them everyday!
    Perhaps because I crossed two bloodlines they are full of vigour. Many breeders disregard the problem of inbreeding.

    You are doing fine, this tort will be a friend for life
    Tidgy's Dad likes this.
  6. Cammy

    Cammy New Member

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    Hi guys just joined the forum as I am concerned about the growth rate of my marginated. He seems healthy enough an eats well. However he is now 4 years old and only 60mm in length (SCL). I have some scales coming on Thursday so I can update with a weight. Seems way small for what you guys are experiencing?
  7. marginatawhisperer

    marginatawhisperer Member 5 Year Member

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    Hello Cammy, and welcome to you, too.

    I need to ask:
    How long did you have your marginata?
    Have you noted any weight changes during that time?
    Please upload a picture or tell more. Personally I have trouble uploading pictures (sigh).
    Access to sunlight/UV lamp etc? Temperature? Outdoor enclosure?
    A length of 60 mm SCL should indicate a body weight of around 45-50 grams.
    I hope you get a good scale and a small caliper to measure accurately eventual changes, this will tell a lot.
    Daily changes can surprise, even the SCL can vary 1.5 %, but so does my height.
    Be careful not to hit the eyes with the caliper. I always measure a little to the right side. They can resist too much handling.
  8. Cammy

    Cammy New Member

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    Thanks for the reply marginatawhisperer.

    Had him for 4 years (from a hatchling). He has certainly GROWN in that time buy I have never measured or weighed him before.

    I will try and do pictures later in the week

    He has been indoors all his life (kept near a window) but to be honest I have only recently invested in a UV light. I have a basking lamp that gives a spot temperature of 85 Fahrenheit

    Access to fresh water at all times and mainly fed on rocket.
  9. marginatawhisperer

    marginatawhisperer Member 5 Year Member

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    Mine seems to love dandelions, before midsummer, after that I do not think taste is the same. Dandelions have a good amount of calcium and is low in phosphorous, preventing misshapen shells, soft. They do love yellow flowers from time to time.
    A very good basic food is Pre Alpin Testudo (pellets). Made from meadow herbs, ecological, a derivation of horse pellets, modified.
    Can be bought in stores or on the net. Served in water to soften them.
    Has there been a lack of UV and perhaps calcium the shell might be too soft, but it can be cured. UV lacking could explain the size, but there are no definitive truths. Is shell lumpy or smooth? Lumpiness or pyramiding will not smooth over time, but can be minimized by condition correction.
    Look on this forum for tortoise tables to get an idea of what you can do. They can be very attractive pieces of furniture, with a WOW factor. Can also be homebuilt.
    A modified cupboard or bookshelf on its back can do it, plastic and silicone in bottom (watertight). Do not place over something very expensive! Pee go a long way out! Mine cost around 7 Pounds, including small hinges for a broad door, flapping down on a nearby dining table, with small stairs., and we see eye to eye, instead of me coming as a surprise from above.
    If I am sitting eating at the table, they come out to investigate, but beware of falling hazard! They have good depth perception in daylight, but if you have more than one they push a lot.
    You can best jugde the basking lamp by how it places itself under it, centrally, or to the side? Then lower or heighten.
  10. Cammy

    Cammy New Member

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    Hi again. Will try and upload the pictures. Think I have some pyramiding going on. Now that I have read the care sheet on this forum I see the importance of humidity when they are young. I have never monitored or managed humidity. I made the wrong assumption that as they like to bask in the sun all day they like it hot and dry. Always has fresh water available though. 20170731_160222.jpg 20170731_160230.jpg 20170731_160242.jpg
  11. marginatawhisperer

    marginatawhisperer Member 5 Year Member

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    Some use a little water based lotion on the shell from time to time
  12. Tidgy's Dad

    Tidgy's Dad Well-Known Member

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    Yes, pyramiding.
    As well as the humidity make sure he gets daily soaks for 20 minutes or so, in an high sided opaque container so he can't see out, up to a level just above where the plastron meets the carapace. He probably won't like it to begin, but it's necessary. After a while you can soak only twice or thrice a week, but I'd start off daily for now.
    marginatawhisperer likes this.
  13. Cammy

    Cammy New Member

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    Yes excellent I will do the daily soak that seems easy to manage. Hopefully get the scales tomorrow and I can start taking a weekly log of SCL and weight to monitor progress.
    Tidgy's Dad likes this.
  14. Cammy

    Cammy New Member

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    Collected scales yesterday and weighed him at 56 grams. Probably OK for a SCL of 60mm? Hopefully with my improved care regime it will bring him on a bit. Seems happy enough though maybe just destined to be small?
  15. marginatawhisperer

    marginatawhisperer Member 5 Year Member

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    Weight seems to be quite OK for 60 mm SCL
  16. GBtortoises

    GBtortoises Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    More importantly than soaking, which is not a "must" but rather added insurance, is overall humidity maintenance.
    There are three key elements to proper humidity/hydration for a Mediterranean tortoise: Soil moisture should always be maintained. They should not be kept completely dry. Soil should be sprayed as needed, usually a couple of times per day, to retain some moisture. A good judge of correct soil moisture is: grab a ball of it in your nand and squeeze it. The soil should feel damp in your hand, but not be able to squeeze water out. When you open your hand it should, for the most part, retain it's balled shape or slightly crumble. If it's too dry it will collapse in your hand when you open it. If it's too wet it will remain completely intact and water will be squeezed out.
    Adjust spraying frequency and amount accordingly. It also helps to saturate and churn the soil weekly so that water can be blended throughout the substrate.
    Ambient air humidity is also important and not only directly benefits the tortoise but can also help to maintain substrate moisture. Dry air will dry the substrate more rapidly (and the tortoise itself). Ambient air humidity can be difficult to maintain in some living conditions. Household air conditioning and heat constantly dry the air in a room. To alleviate some evaporation of moisture and enclosure can be partially covered. But it should not be covered so much that it restricts all fresh air flow. Ideal ambient air humidity levels should be in the 50-70% range, with occasionally higher being fine too.
    Lastly but most importantly is body hydration. A tortoise must always have access to drinking water, 24/7. There is some misconception that tortoises store water therefore only need to drink occasionally. This is absolutely not true whatsoever! Tortoises, like any other living animal need water available to help maintain hydration, to aid in digestion and for multiple other reasons. In captivity water needs to be accessible to them at all times so that they can drink when they need to.

    Soaking will not prevent pyramiding. It also only plays a partial role in proper hydration. Soaking also isn't bad. But understand that it is not the simple solution to disregard the above elements. Too many people are given the impression on this site that soaking is a must and that it is the answer to providing constant hydration without having to be so concerned about the other key elements of proper hydration. That is absolutely not true. In reality, if those key elements are provided as they should be then soaking is unnecessary at all or at the very least, redundant. Soaking should be looked at as additional insurance, not the ultimate solution.
    threeboxerlover likes this.
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