1. Welcome! Are you interested in tortoises? If so, we invite you to join our community! Our community is the #1 place for tortoise keepers to talk online. Once you join you'll be able to post messages, upload pictures of your tortoise and enclosure, and discuss any tortoise topic with other tortoise keepers. Get started today!

Plastron caving in?

Discussion in 'Greek tortoises' started by dizzydjc, Jan 24, 2018.

  1. dizzydjc

    dizzydjc Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2017
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location (City and/or State):
    UK
    Hey

    So a brief introduction, this isn’t about my tortoise but my friends who I am very concerned about. I own two myself and they are doing well but my friends tortoise is concerning me big time and I need advice.

    So my friend has an 8/9 month old spur-thighed tortoise. She (or he) is very small for her age, I don’t know full size but I know the latest weight for her was only 25g and I know my two are approaching the 40’s in grams and are also two months younger. This already concerns me.

    So I was over today and I gave his tortoise a good check, she has gone very pale in colour, not sure if her shell is meant to be like a pale colour but I’m sure it never used to be that colour. She is also tiny, like so small and I’m sure if she is reaching a year old she should be about the size of my pinkie finger which she isn’t.

    I turned her over to stroke the underside of the shell (which my two like but not sure if it’s right to do this) but I noticed that the shell of my friends tortoise is very “bony” is you can call it that and it has kind of like concaved itself in. It was also very soft too. I knew straight away that something was up and we did a bit of research together which highlighted to me that it could be early signs of metabolic bone disease. I don’t think she is getting enough calcium in her diet so I have told my friend to ensure he gives her more.

    Is this it though or should we be more concerned? I only ask as my friend did initially have two tortoises but one died quite early on, we were told maybe because of a defect or something when she was born, but now I’m starting to worry that maybe it was something my friend neglected to see?

    Advice would be welcomed please. I have asked my friend to give more calcium, like every meal if he has to and he has also bought cuttlefish. I am just worried that the damage has already been done and it’s too late?

    Thanks for reading
    Dan
  2. Cheryl Hills

    Cheryl Hills Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2016
    Messages:
    854
    Likes Received:
    483
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location (City and/or State):
    Youngstown, Ohio
    (These ads do not appear for registered members.)
    We would need pictures of the tort and enclosure. What is he using for lights? Does he have a uvb bulb . If it is mid, he is not getting proper uvb. How long has he had the tort? Where did he get it?
    .
  3. dizzydjc

    dizzydjc Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2017
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location (City and/or State):
    UK
    Ok so I’ll work on getting pics for you, but yeah he says it’s definitely a UVB light, not entirely sure what you mean about mid? And he’s had the Tort since October and from a breeder in the UK. I also believe that the breeder wasn’t that great as he apparently gave them in a plastic box with no holes and shredded paper inside. I read this was bad for their respiratory?

    Thanks for your prompt reply though and I’ll try and get photos
    katieandiggy likes this.
  4. Cheryl Hills

    Cheryl Hills Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2016
    Messages:
    854
    Likes Received:
    483
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location (City and/or State):
    Youngstown, Ohio
  5. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2010
    Messages:
    42,433
    Likes Received:
    20,408
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location (City and/or State):
    Southern California
    I see two main possibilities:
    1. Lack of calcium. This could be from an incorrect diet, or from lack of UV. What is your friend feeding the tortoise? Any calcium supplementation? What type of UV bulb and at what mounting distance?
    2. "Breeder" failure syndrome. The symptoms you describe match up perfectly. This happens when a breeder starts a baby hatchling too dry and doesn't soak often enough. The chronic dehydration damages the baby's kidneys. This does not kill the baby right away. They act normal, eat and walk around for weeks or months before dying, but the lack of growth and the soft plastron are primary symptoms. Even if the new keeper houses and cares for the tortoise perfectly, the damage done at the breeder's facility cannot be undone. Read more here: https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/hatchling-failure-syndrome.23493/
    sshultz314 and TortyDxb like this.
  6. dizzydjc

    dizzydjc Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2017
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location (City and/or State):
    UK
    Hi Tom,

    Thanks for your reply. We’re going to make sure that more calcium is added to her diet. I’ve suggested to give plants with calcium powder every day just temporarily to see if that helps changes things.

    Your second point though doesn’t surprise me and it’s a shame, because my friend is blaming himself for this and for the death of the first tortoise (both from the same breeder). I did think something like this would have had to have happened to cause her death. She just suddenly stopped moving one day and didn’t wake up and from memory she had similar problems, and I remember she hardly grew or put on weight either.
  7. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2010
    Messages:
    42,433
    Likes Received:
    20,408
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location (City and/or State):
    Southern California
    I wouldn't do calcium more than 2 or 3 times a week. Too much will interfere with the absorption of other important nutrients and trace elements.
  8. dizzydjc

    dizzydjc Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2017
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location (City and/or State):
    UK
    ADE9F9AE-F19A-4A06-A36A-32F6FAE760E3.jpeg F63589D2-E605-489B-8578-6FDDA60C3DFB.jpeg D9C62FC1-3615-429D-AF56-9646C2A26715.jpeg Thanks Tom, I’ve passed that on.

    Here are the pics that were requested... she really doesn’t look well in the photos in my opinion.

    What do you think?
  9. Markw84

    Markw84 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2012
    Messages:
    2,682
    Likes Received:
    3,754
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location (City and/or State):
    Sacramento, CA (Central Valley)
    That looks like Metabolic Bone Disease in a hatchling to me. Bone is not growing as it should. You can see that best on the plastron, especially where the bottom of the marginal meet the plastron. The scutes are growing (protein based) but the bone is not. That causes the scute to actually push up at the seams like you are seeing. The bone growth is not supporting the new keratin growth.

    Please check and confirm proper diet - foods with a good balance of calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. Then you need to check there is proper UVB provided for D3. What type of UVB bulb is being used? How old is it? How high above tortoise level is it mounted? How hot a basking area is being provided? At this stage, I would also offer a supplement with D3. Be careful not to overdo it as you can overdose dietary D3. that is why proper D3 metabolism through UVb and heat is preferred.
    trickspiration, dizzydjc and Yvonne G like this.
  10. dizzydjc

    dizzydjc Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2017
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location (City and/or State):
    UK
    Thank you so much for this, is the outlook looking bad at the moment then? Like are we talking (let’s be honest) death or is there hope?

    I am doing my best to try and encourage my friend to do what he can to help, it doesn’t help that I’m not always there but seeing her in the flesh yesterday really scared me and she looks really ill to me. The other thing is how pale she has gotten.

    I will come back and update you with more info when I have it, I’m relying on my friend at the moment to provide the info.

    Thanks guys for your help, really appreciate it.
  11. dizzydjc

    dizzydjc Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2017
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location (City and/or State):
    UK
    8AE80766-FD52-4846-827F-4E9AB7CB53AF.jpeg
    Here is the pic of the enclosure too.

    In answer to your question MarkW84, the light is a UVB and heat combo light. Exscuse my ignorance but what is D3?
  12. Cheryl Hills

    Cheryl Hills Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2016
    Messages:
    854
    Likes Received:
    483
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location (City and/or State):
    Youngstown, Ohio
    That small of a tort needs a closed chamber with temps no less then 80.
  13. dizzydjc

    dizzydjc Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2017
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location (City and/or State):
    UK
    Sorry not sure what you mean about closed chamber? The temps used to be an issue but before Christmas I made my friend get a couple of thermometers and I think he monitors it so it doesn’t fall too low. I hope so anyway.
  14. TechnoCheese

    TechnoCheese Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2016
    Messages:
    2,509
    Likes Received:
    2,001
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location (City and/or State):
    Lewisville, Texas
    A completely closed in enclosure. A temporary fix would be to cover the walls completely in plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
  15. dizzydjc

    dizzydjc Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2017
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location (City and/or State):
    UK
    I see. Is that contributing to the problem then? It looks low in that picture but in real life it is quite high and she won’t be able to climb out of the black bit of it.
  16. TechnoCheese

    TechnoCheese Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2016
    Messages:
    2,509
    Likes Received:
    2,001
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location (City and/or State):
    Lewisville, Texas
    The height isn’t a problem, the problem is that the heat and humidity are escaping out of the open walls. It very well could be contributing, but I don’t believe it would be enough to cause what you’re seeing now. However, it might help improve its condition, because it should get the heat and humidity up :)
    dizzydjc likes this.
  17. dizzydjc

    dizzydjc Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2017
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location (City and/or State):
    UK
    I’m with you and that does make sense actually when you put it like that, kinda makes me doubt my own enclosure here at home with my two torts actually but it is a lot more higher and built in here.

    Thanks for your advice, and for questioning you all. I have just never come across this before (neither has my friend) and I want to try and get her healthy again.
    TechnoCheese likes this.
  18. TechnoCheese

    TechnoCheese Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2016
    Messages:
    2,509
    Likes Received:
    2,001
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location (City and/or State):
    Lewisville, Texas
    Are your two torts in the same enclosure?
  19. dizzydjc

    dizzydjc Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2017
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location (City and/or State):
    UK
    Yeah but bathed and fed seperately. I was hesitant at first, as I’ve read the horror stories but so far it’s been going exceptionally well. I know one day I will need to get two enclosures, when I can get more room I will.

    The thing is, for me it’s good as one of them used to always land on her back (adventurous little thing!) but the other one on a number of occasions now has helped her right herself. Seen it all on cam and everything so for the moment it’s going well, touch wood.
  20. TechnoCheese

    TechnoCheese Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2016
    Messages:
    2,509
    Likes Received:
    2,001
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location (City and/or State):
    Lewisville, Texas
    The other tortoise flipping the other back over is probably just trying to ram the other out of its territory. Just make sure you separate them ASAP. Am I right to assume that they are testudos? Testudos are highly territorial. But again, just make sure you separate them as soon as you can, and have lots of hides and sight barriers. Further more, “cuddling” and “following” are just the two chasing/pushing each other out of their territory, and it is highly stressful for them to be together.
    It would be great if you could make a post about your torts and enclosure :)
    katieandiggy and dizzydjc like this.
Similar Threads: Plastron caving
Forum Title Date
Greek tortoises Greek tortoise soft plastron Nov 27, 2016
Greek tortoises Hatchling Greek with "soft" plastron Jun 13, 2015
Greek tortoises Baby Plastrons? Jan 23, 2014
Greek tortoises I found a small hole on Smiley's plastron. Jun 8, 2009
Greek tortoises Pictures of plastron ridges on our greek Apr 21, 2009

Share This Page