Is My Tortoises Shell Healthy??

rockythetort

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Aug 27, 2020
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Gateshead
Hi I got my 8 month old Horsefield Tortoise last month and have never had one before, I am constantly worrying about him as I want to provide him with the best possible care I can.

I have recently noticed his shell looks different and was wondering if anyone knows if it is healthy and normal.

Any help and advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Minority2

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Tortoise Hell
Hi I got my 8 month old Horsefield Tortoise last month and have never had one before, I am constantly worrying about him as I want to provide him with the best possible care I can.

I have recently noticed his shell looks different and was wondering if anyone knows if it is healthy and normal.

Any help and advice would be greatly appreciated.

The lamp fixture is affecting the way the carapace looks. The substrate is probably making the tortoise dry, among other things.

1. Is that topsoil you're using?
2. Are you also using one of those pre-made tortoise tables with the very low overhead lamp fixtures that don't come with reflector hoods?
3. Have you read the forum's guide regarding Russian tortoise care? I ask this because a lot of UK pet shops are still selling and teaching a lot of wrong things to new owners. The advice they give are not only wrong but harmful to tortoises as well.

Most up to date guide on Russian Tortoises:
 

Maria.Smith

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Essex
Hi I got my 8 month old Horsefield Tortoise last month and have never had one before, I am constantly worrying about him as I want to provide him with the best possible care I can.

I have recently noticed his shell looks different and was wondering if anyone knows if it is healthy and normal.

Any help and advice would be greatly appreciated.
Looks so Similar to one of my Baby horsefields shells! I used a substrate that looks like yours at first and I have since bought coco husk soil and they are so much happier, I have put a good few inches in so they can dig down and bury themselves which they do every night now.
 

rockythetort

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Joined
Aug 27, 2020
Messages
5
Location (City and/or State)
Gateshead
The lamp fixture is affecting the way the carapace looks. The substrate is probably making the tortoise dry, among other things.

1. Is that topsoil you're using?
2. Are you also using one of those pre-made tortoise tables with the very low overhead lamp fixtures that don't come with reflector hoods?
3. Have you read the forum's guide regarding Russian tortoise care? I ask this because a lot of UK pet shops are still selling and teaching a lot of wrong things to new owners. The advice they give are not only wrong but harmful to tortoises as well.

Most up to date guide on Russian Tortoises:
 

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rockythetort

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Looks so Similar to one of my Baby horsefields shells! I used a substrate that looks like yours at first and I have since bought coco husk soil and they are so much happier, I have put a good few inches in so they can dig down and bury themselves which they do every night now.
Thanks for the advice, I will try that out.
 

Minority2

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Hi his is his enclosure and the substrate I use which I purchased from pets at home.

Stop using that substrate. Use either coco coir and or fir bark instead. The substrate you are currently using has a mixture of unsafe and potentially harmful substances that can cause impaction to tortoises. I say potential because while 1 gulp or two may possibly pass safely, when combined with a poor diet, and frequent gulps, that mixture of substrate can and will cause expensive hospital bills to death.

1. What type of specific bulbs are you using? Please include a picture with the shape of the bulb and a web link to the product if possible.

2. The substrate level looks awfully low. Try to achieve at least 4+ inches deep for a burrowing tortoise.

3. The resin water and feeding dishes you have are frankly not good for tortoises. Besides being light flipping hazards that have caused the deaths of numerous tortoises, they are also not as useful as terracotta plant saucers. The terracotta plant saucers are usually recommended because not only are they shallow and heavy, they also provide tortoises with a hard enough surface to trim down their beak and claws.

4. Is that a heating mat I see on the left hand side? Can you please web link the exact brand and model so that members can see if that particular model is safe or unsafe for tortoises? Usually any heating mat that is extremely hot to the touch will not be safe for tortoises.

5. Are you doing anything to keep the enclosure humid?
 

rockythetort

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Hi we were given the heat mat from someone but we don't have it plugged in. I will order some of the drinking bowls you have recommended and I have ordered Coco soil and bark.

I have included a picture of the lamp I am using.
 

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Minority2

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Hi we were given the heat mat from someone but we don't have it plugged in. I will order some of the drinking bowls you have recommended and I have ordered Coco soil and bark.

I have included a picture of the lamp I am using.

If the heating mad is not safe to the touch do not even use it.

The mercury vapor bulb you have is usually not recommended because, simply, the quality of these bulbs are garbage.

1. The heat they distribute is far more concentrated than ideal, causing more dryness in tortoises which can result to pyramiding.
2. The uv(B) production is not reliable in these bulbs. They will significantly lose effectiveness in a matter of months versus a florescent tube styled uv(B) rated bulb.

I strongly suggest not using them. For basking use either:
1. A "traditional" incandescent flood styled bulb. Not halogen. Not spot bulb. I don't know how you'll be able to find a steady supply of these in UK since they've been banned for some time now. There are workaround versions with a different name attached to them, however, I don't remember what they're exactly called.
2. Reptile heating panel. The type that doesn't feel hot to the touch. You hand it overhead to simulate a basking spot while pairing the device with a temperature controller as well as a digital/mechanical timer.

For uv(B) Use only:
1. A T5 lighting fixture with a florescent tube style uv(B) reptile rated bulb. Here is a link for example:
 
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