Is My Tortoises's Shell Rotting or Chipping

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alben909

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Hello TFO, I was wondering if my tortoise Sheldon is chipping his shell or if its rotting. He has a bunch of white marks on his shell. When I got him a year ago he had all of these marks, I just never really payed any attention to it before. I just want to know what they are out of curiosity. Can someone tells me what these are?

Photo0018.jpg
 

reticguy76

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Im on my phone and the pic is a little blurry, but looks like shell pigmentation
 

Yvonne G

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Hi Alec:

Steppe (Russian) tortoises come into this country looking pretty messed up. They are captured by the thousands and piled up on top of each other and shipped under the worst possible conditions. They get chipped, bruised, dinged and even killed before they get to the pet store of your choice. The white you see is actually the bone. Exposed bone like you see there dies. Then the process of growing new bone and keratin UNDER that dead spot starts. This is a very slow process and takes a year or more. Eventually you will see that white spot start to look a bit raised and if you leave it alone it will chip off, showing brand new shell underneath.

It sounds serious..I mean - DEAD BONE??? But its only cosmetic. Recently I took in a male steppe tortoise that had been chewed by a small dog. The dog wasn't big enough to break the tortoise, all he was able to do was scrape off the keratin...ALL OVER THE WHOLE CARAPACE. Now, wouldn't you think that having your whole top bone structure exposed and die would be a pretty large event? No, the tortoise is just fine. He has grown so much since the chew event that the white bone is starting to split as the new, bigger shell grows underneath.

It might not be a perfect tortoise, but you love him just the same, right?
 

Nixxy

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As Yvonne said, it's strictly cosmetic. Your tort isn't in any pain nor is it going to worsen. It will continue to grow.
 
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