Large White Gaps/Scutes

debbie5240

New Member
Joined
May 16, 2018
Messages
7
Location (City and/or State)
Virginia
Hello All!

I've had my Russian tortoise for almost 2 years now! I take him to an exotic vet around here every May and everything has always come back great. The past few months though, I've noticed gaps forming in between his scutes. They are whitish. I did look around the forum and that seemed to be fairly normal. I soak my turtle once a week for about 30 minutes in warm water, and when I go to grab him, I like to press gently around his shell to make sure there aren't any squishy or concerning spots. When I did that though, he (I'm assuming my Russian tortoise is a male) did not seem to like it and it appeared to look like he flinched. He has gotten bigger since I first brought him home so I'm hoping these large gaps are normal.

I was hoping someone could take a look at the photo and let me know if everything appears to be okay. With everything going on, I am trying to limit my outside exposure but if need be I will gladly take him to the exotic vet. Chester 03152020.jpg
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
85,159
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
That's just new growth. It's nothing to be worried about. Until it hardens off it's a bit tender to the touch. You may be feeding too much. Tell us about that.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
48,961
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
I agree with Yvonne. That is what new growth looks like.
 

debbie5240

New Member
Joined
May 16, 2018
Messages
7
Location (City and/or State)
Virginia
Thanks for the responses!! I figured it was new growth but I wanted to be sure!

I feed him a variety of items. I did a TON of research on this site so I'm hoping I got it right, but please feel free to tell me if I'm feeding something wrong.

I tend to stick with a blend of radicchio, baby kale, and endives At times I like to switch it around and I'll give him some mustard greens, green carrot tops, collard greens (which I don't think he likes very much cause he hasn't eaten it the past few days), and romaine lettuce. I never just give one type of green for a meal, I like to mix it. About once a week, I'll mix his greens with the fiber pellets that pet stores sell, and I sprinkle some vitamin D on his food as well. Lastly, about once a month I give him dried fruit/vegetables flakes as a treat. As for the amount, I tend to stick to half a handful/full handful, once a day.

I hope I didn't explain too much lol but that's my routine with him! I want to keep him as long as possible :)
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
85,159
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
Thanks for the responses!! I figured it was new growth but I wanted to be sure!

I feed him a variety of items. I did a TON of research on this site so I'm hoping I got it right, but please feel free to tell me if I'm feeding something wrong.

I tend to stick with a blend of radicchio, baby kale, and endives At times I like to switch it around and I'll give him some mustard greens, green carrot tops, collard greens (which I don't think he likes very much cause he hasn't eaten it the past few days), and romaine lettuce. I never just give one type of green for a meal, I like to mix it. About once a week, I'll mix his greens with the fiber pellets that pet stores sell, and I sprinkle some vitamin D on his food as well. Lastly, about once a month I give him dried fruit/vegetables flakes as a treat. As for the amount, I tend to stick to half a handful/full handful, once a day.

I hope I didn't explain too much lol but that's my routine with him! I want to keep him as long as possible :)
The new growth looks so radical because for quite a while this tortoise didn't grow, and now, with your good care and diet, he's started growing again. He's making up for lost time.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
48,961
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Thanks for the responses!! I figured it was new growth but I wanted to be sure!

I feed him a variety of items. I did a TON of research on this site so I'm hoping I got it right, but please feel free to tell me if I'm feeding something wrong.

I tend to stick with a blend of radicchio, baby kale, and endives At times I like to switch it around and I'll give him some mustard greens, green carrot tops, collard greens (which I don't think he likes very much cause he hasn't eaten it the past few days), and romaine lettuce. I never just give one type of green for a meal, I like to mix it. About once a week, I'll mix his greens with the fiber pellets that pet stores sell, and I sprinkle some vitamin D on his food as well. Lastly, about once a month I give him dried fruit/vegetables flakes as a treat. As for the amount, I tend to stick to half a handful/full handful, once a day.

I hope I didn't explain too much lol but that's my routine with him! I want to keep him as long as possible :)
There is so much conflicting info on diet. I think this is probably one of the most frustrating topics for everyone involved with tortoises.

Grocery store foods are lacking, and should only be used if you can't get anything better. And if you do need to use grocery store greens, then you need to be amending them to make up for their deficiencies. Grocery store greens are lacking in fiber, some are lacking in calcium, some have a poor ca to phosphorous ratio, and some, like kale, have undesirable compounds in them like goiterogens. Kale is okay once or twice a month, but not as a staple. Endive and escarole are the best ones to use as staples.

What to amend with? Lots of options, and I think several of them should be used. The ZooMed Grassland pellets, when soaked and mixed in are a good wy to add fiber and variety.

Tyler and Sarah at tortoisesupply.com sell a product called "Salad Style". It is blended up grass hay. When soaked and mixed in with greens, this is a good way to add fiber. They also sell one called "Herbal Hay". This one is all sorts of dried flowers and plants and I just sprinkle it on top.

Will @Kapidolo Farms sells many dried supplements to be used for this purpose. I've been using several types and love them. Better still, my tortoises love them. I've got the moringa, nettle, hibiscus, echinacea. I just wet the greens and sprinkle it on top, then mix it all in. Will suggests blending up some spineless opuntia cactus, aloe, cucumber, or something else sticky to make it stick to the food even better than water.

You said you sprinkle D on the food? I'm going to guess you are using a calcium supplement with D3 in it? With a diet heavy in grocery store greens, I'd sprinkle a little pinch of that on the food a couple of times a week. Too much can be a problem as it interferes with the absorption of some mineral and other trace elements. With a good weedy, leafy diet, less is needed.

Original Mazuri is another supplemental food you can soak and mix in to make sure all the nutritional needs are being met, and most tortoises love it.

The best thing to do, better than supplements and amendments, is to just feed the best foods to begin with. Broadleaf weeds, leaves and flowers of the right types. It takes time to learn to ID the plants around you and either grow your own or find safe sources, but its a much better way to go. We can help you ID weeds, and there is usually a local plant nerd at your local nursery that can help ID any that we can't. Any new foods will require a lengthy introduction process to get your tortoise, including the above supplelmetns. Start small with very little of the new stuff. Just a tiny tiny amount at first. Gradually add more as the tortoise accepts the new stuff.

Here is a starter list of good foods for your tortoise:
Mulberry leaves
Grape vine leaves
Hibiscus leaves
African hibiscus leaves
Blue hibiscus leaves
Rose of Sharon leaves
Rose leaves
Geraniums
Gazanias
Lavatera
Pansies
Petunias
Hostas
Honeysuckle
Cape honeysuckle
Leaves and blooms from any squash plant, like pumpkin, cucumber, summer squash, etc...
Young spineless opuntia cactus pads

Weeds:
There are soooooooo many...
Dandelion
Mallow
Filaree
Smooth Sow thistle
Prickly Sow thistle
Milk thistle
Goat head weed
Cats ear
Nettles
Trefoil
Wild onion
Wild mustard
Wild Garlic
Clovers
Broadleaf plantain
Narrow leaf plantain
Chick weed
Hawksbit
Hensbit
Hawksbeard

Other good stuff:
"Testudo Seed Mix" from http://www.tortoisesupply.com/SeedMixes
Pasture mixes or other seeds from http://www.groworganic.com/seeds.html
Homegrown alfalfa
Mazuri Tortoise Chow
ZooMed Grassland Tortoise Food
 

New Posts

Top