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Juvenile Greek tortoise - question on pyramiding

enzo665

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Hi,

New to all of this but I have done a lot of research prior to recently purchasing a juvenile Greek tortise from a breeder. Have had him for about 2 weeks. Being a Greek tortise they did advise me that in nature they generally require a lower humidity level than other species, but did advise me to keep the substrate moist and to soak three times a week.

I am am using a closed set up (the top is a screen but it is largely obstructed by the heat lamp and a T5 10.0 strip UV light). The UV light is about 16 inches from the floor. Coconut filber mulch. A hygrometer inside the hide shows humidity hovering around 60 percent after spraying the area in the morning. Temperature under the lamp is 95F, the cool zone where the hide is stays around 80F. Feeding variety of weeds and veggies with daily dusting of Reptical with D3 and Reptivite.

My question is does this animal appear to be pyramiding? Concern here is he arrived this way from the breeder. If not, and this is a normal appearance for this age tortise20190619_134645.jpg would make me feel better. If it is, I have been reading a lot on how to halt the process but if anyone has advice specific to Greeks I am all ears.
 

enzo665

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That was my concern appreciate the honesty. Assuming the care going forward is top notch can the problem be mitigated into adulthood or is it that severe where there is no chance of a normal life?

I know what's already present isn't reversible. I am going to contact the breeder to voice concern but after only 2 weeks of course the kids are attached so it's a difficult situation I suppose..
.
 

method89

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The pyramiding will always be present, but you can stop it from getting worse with the proper care. Since you are here, I would say you are ready to provide your new friend with all the love and attention he needs so he should be fine going forward.
 

Yvonne G

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Hi and welcome!

Your tortoise's pyramiding was caused by his being raised during his first year in a too dry environment. It won't be as noticeable as he gets bigger, but it will never go away.
 

enzo665

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Thanks for the replies this far. Even though this is my first tortise I feel like I have done a good amount of research so things work well going forward.

Asking for the breeder to take him back is out of the question to me and making sure he/she gets the right care is my main focus. The kids love him. I do feel it's the right thing to do to at least voice my concerns with the dealer.

Both the website and my conversations with the staff there have me believing in all honesty this isn't some fly by night operation. I am surprised with the outcome of order. Also, despite being new at this, intuitively the relationship between dry upbringing and pyramiding seems logical. This particular breeder spoke a lot about avoiding overly humid conditions in this species, advised not to leave standing water in for any amount of time for fear of eye infections and respiratory infections etc. They spent a lot of time talking to me about the differences in the testudo species versus other more tropical species. Sounds like everyone does come at this from a different perspective so I don't think necessarily the breeder intends to do harm. Who knows? In the risk benefit analysis of raising in captivity perhaps there are merits to the arguement of "tolerating/risking" some pyrimiding to avoid consequences of excess humidity.
 

Yvonne G

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What you're seeing on your new tortoise is merely cosmetic. As long as you keep him hydrated from this point forward, there will be no health risks due to the dry upbringing.
 

TurtleBug

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In my experience, Greek tortoises (T. graeca) do not pyramid easily if they are raised appropriately. Greeks do not need high humidity closed chambers, but they do need deep, damp SUBSTRATE areas they can dig into. A shallow dish of water should also be always available as well as drier substrate areas.
 

enzo665

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Thanks yes I have been pouring water in as needed to keep the cocoa fiber damp. Not soaking wet / puddle formation. But palpably damp at all levels. I have a hygrometer sensor nailed to the top of the inside of the hide just to get a feel for what the ambient humidity is in there, assuming that if it's something in the 60 to 70 percent range the substrate in there is higher and OK for him.

Sound like a good approach to the humidity management?
 

enzo665

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Just bumping this can anyone verify they agree with what I wrote above on the humidity management? Suggestions of course welcome ....
 

TurtleBug

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Just bumping this can anyone verify they agree with what I wrote above on the humidity management? Suggestions of course welcome ....
Pour water into the substrate and mix it with your hands. Add a small amount at a time until you get the desired consistency. I don’t worry about the ambient humidity percentage with Greeks, just about the substrate dampness when indoors.

HermanniChris recently posted a very comprehensive Greek tortoise care sheet at
https://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/greek-tortoise-care-guide.174622/

About substrate dampness he writes:

“You’ve probably noticed the use of the words moist and moisture by now. It’s important to understand what that means to avoid any issues. Slightly wet or humid is essentially the point these terms are intended to get across. The substrate needs to be moist in that it holds some moisture and is never bone dry or dusty except for the very surface at times. This does not mean wet. The tortoises should not be walking around in consistent puddles or mud. When adding water to the substrate, mix it around with your hands and squeeze it. It should not “cake together” or wring out water. It should simply feel moist to touch and not be brittle. When the animals burrow into it they are encompassed in a humid situation and will absorb the much needed moisture from the substrate. This is a perfectly natural way for them to obtain what they need from a very basic requirement we provide them with.”
 
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