Possible pyramiding between costal and marginal scutes only?

TheWaveCarver

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I noticed a gradual depression forming between the Costal and Marginal scutes of my 6 year old Cherryhead Tortoise. Now, I know this doesn't affect the health of the tortoise. For sake of discussion, I was curious if anyone else has observed near zero pyramiding between the Vertebral and Marginal scutes, but then a depression between the Costal and Marginal scutes (And a bit between the marginal scutes themselves) and what the cause might be.

Scute Diagram:
Scute_Diagram.png

My tortoise with slight valley between costal and marginal scutes:
MyTortoise2.jpg
MyTortoise1.jpg
MyTortoiseZoom4.jpg

Tortoises with zero pyramiding for comparison:
Example1.jpg
Example2.jpeg
Example3.jpg
Example4.jpg
 

ZEROPILOT

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I've always referred to that at "skirting". Just for my own description of it. I'm sure it's not an actual scientific name.
I've seen it. And figured it must reflect different stages of how the tortoise was kept. Different environments. Different conditions that at some point changed and then the growth rate and shape changed.
I have gotten many RF that were kept in horrible or less than ideal conditions that were then allowed to live outdoors in our tropical environment. The growth rate and change shape is subtle at first. But shows over time.
To me this seems to be an accelerated growth thing. Id be curious to know if the tortoise in question had a dramatic change in diet and housing at some point.
This may or may not be accurate. But it's what I've attributed it to.
It's interesting also because I've never known anyone (else) to bring this up. And it truly IS a THING.
 

TheWaveCarver

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I've always referred to that at "skirting". Just for my own description of it. I'm sure it's not an actual scientific name.
I've seen it. And figured it must reflect different stages of how the tortoise was kept. Different environments. Different conditions that at some point changed and then the growth rate and shape changed.
I have gotten many RF that were kept in horrible or less than ideal conditions that were then allowed to live outdoors in our tropical environment. The growth rate and change shape is subtle at first. But shows over time.
To me this seems to be an accelerated growth thing. Id be curious to know if the tortoise in question had a dramatic change in diet and housing at some point.
This may or may not be accurate. But it's what I've attributed it to.
It's interesting also because I've never known anyone (else) to bring this up. And it truly IS a THING.
Without getting super detailed, I can confidently say he's always been housed in a greenhouse with humidity levels above 95% and temps between 81 and 83F.

For 1.5 years I did remove his Arcadia 12% (Index 1-2 on the Solarmeter 6.5) and replaced it with SurSun Mid-Day blaze LED UVB bulb. After reading extensively about the LED UVB technology, I decided to revert back to the Arcadia 12% T5 HOs.

Diet is probably the thing with the most variance. I alternate between regular feeds of Dandelion greens, escarole, endive, collard greens, green leaf lettuce and occasional mango.

Is it possible this "skirt" could be genetics or gender related? It's rather subtle and I know the plastron shape differs between males and females... just a thought.
 

ZEROPILOT

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Without getting super detailed, I can confidently say he's always been housed in a greenhouse with humidity levels above 95% and temps between 81 and 83F.

For 1.5 years I did remove his Arcadia 12% (Index 1-2 on the Solarmeter 6.5) and replaced it with SurSun Mid-Day blaze LED UVB bulb. After reading extensively about the LED UVB technology, I decided to revert back to the Arcadia 12% T5 HOs.

Diet is probably the thing with the most variance. I alternate between regular feeds of Dandelion greens, escarole, endive, collard greens, green leaf lettuce and occasional mango.

Is it possible this "skirt" could be genetics or gender related? It's rather subtle and I know the plastron shape differs between males and females... just a thought.
Genetics possibly.
I can't confirm that or deny it.
As far as it being a form of sexual difference, I haven't seen that. Just the violin shaped waistline than often, but not always shows up in males of a certain age.
I do not have multiple generations of any one bloodline.
It seems to me that I've seen that in males and females. It's been decades and I may be wrong.
I also don't want to second guess you. What you're doing seems to have excellent results. But, my Redfoot eat up to 60% fruit. How that effects growth I can't say. I've always done this.
Maybe someone with more scientific knowledge can recognize this as a common trait to a specific sub species from a specific location. But I've always only seen the bowling ball smooth domed shell carapaces.
Most of my experience is with Northerns, Cherryhead and/or hybrids.
I haven't been taking notes. Some of that old information could've been helpful
 
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TheWaveCarver

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Genetics possibly.
I can't confirm that or deny it.
As far as it being a form of sexual difference, I haven't seen that. Just the violin shaped waistline than often, but not always shows up in males of a certain age.
I do not have multiple generations of any one bloodline.
It seems to me that I've seen that in males and females. It's been decades and I may be wrong.
I also don't want to second guess you. What you're doing seems to have excellent results. But, my Redfoot eat up to 60% fruit. How that effects growth I can't say. I've always done this.
Maybe someone with more scientific knowledge can recognize this as a common trait to a specific sub species from a specific location. But I've always only seen the bowling ball smooth domed shell carapaces.
Most of my experience is with Northerns, Cherryhead and/or hybrids.
I haven't been taking notes. Some of that old information could've been helpful

Oh wow, I'll slowly increase the fruit regiment since I'm pretty far off the 60%. Here's some more detail on my feeding schedule:
2-3 bunches of endive, escarole, dandelion leaves, collard greens or green leaf lettuce (Rarely) per week
1 banana or a handful of mango slices every 2 weeks
A couple times a year, Mazuri tortoise pellets (So pretty much never).

For supplements I used to sprinkle Rep-cal Calcium with D3 and Rep-cal Herptivite once a week but then I switched to EarthPro-A once a week about 2 years ago.
Other than that, I mist his carapace a couple times a week but maybe lack of actual rainfall has an effect on developing keratin?

What fruits do you normally feed? I've heard to avoid anything with citrus so I rotate between Mango and banana mostly. I'll put some new ones in my rotation.

Also to be clear, this is the area I'm talking about with the 'valley'. He doesn't seem to be developing too much of a violin shape yet. Green areas are 'flush' but the purple rectangle has that depression or 'valley' I described.

Locations.png
 

Yvonne G

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Some tortoises develop that 'skirting' some don't. It might be a geographical thing. . . that is, where the ancestors of this tortoise originated.
 

The_Four_Toed_Edward

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Now that you mention it, I think my Russian tortoise has something similar. He is a rescue from a shelter and his shell isn't in the best shape, but it isn't pyramided (he is likely wild caught). But he has a very distinct growth line, or a valley, in that same spot!

Here is a photo of him soaking, you can see the whitish valley quite clearly. But all in all his shell isn't perfect. His growth lines are very strong and there is some slight pyramiding.
 

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Littleredfootbigredheart

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I saw on one of your comments you were wanting recommendations of some more fruits you can mix in, here’s some our red foot loves(also we only give banana as a treat cause it has a higher sugar content);

Remove any stones/pips&seeds from all types of fruit!

Ones we feed more regularly(but rotate cause variety is key):

Mango
Papaya
Pineapple
Raspberries
Melon
Strawberries
Watermelon(not super nutritional but a good hydration boost)
Plum
Peach
Nectarines
Cherries
Apricot
Blueberries

Ones we feel less regularly:
Appel
Banana
Blackberries
Grapes
Pear

Hope this helps give you some ideas for variety🙂 we try not to give her too much of just the one type of fruit in any given week👍🏻
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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Probably it's a genetic thing or related to bone growth pattern: in early photos we can see some very minor pyramiding and then shell (and underlying bone) starts growing in "dome shape" (more in height than in width or length). Comparing to the wild tortoises is not completely fair - they have a lot of shell "polishing" in natural landscape. And especially marginal scutes get lots of wear and tear.

List of fruit provided above is good. I would add figs, guava, prickly pear, tomatoes (sparingly) to the list. Papaya, as far as I know is a staple fruit in their natural habitat. I don't remove seeds except from cherries (easy to choke) and apples/pears (probably, toxic). Redfoots play a significant role in seeds propagation :)
 

Littleredfootbigredheart

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Probably it's a genetic thing or related to bone growth pattern: in early photos we can see some very minor pyramiding and then shell (and underlying bone) starts growing in "dome shape" (more in height than in width or length). Comparing to the wild tortoises is not completely fair - they have a lot of shell "polishing" in natural landscape. And especially marginal scutes get lots of wear and tear.

List of fruit provided above is good. I would add figs, guava, prickly pear, tomatoes (sparingly) to the list. Papaya, as far as I know is a staple fruit in their natural habitat. I don't remove seeds except from cherries (easy to choke) and apples/pears (probably, toxic). Redfoots play a significant role in seeds propagation :)
I should have been more specific, we remove the stones/seeds that are toxic or a chocking hazard.
We don’t remove the seeds from the papaya, ours get it every week, absolutely love it!
We also give ours a bit of cherry tomato now and then, we don’t remove the seeds for those either, or strawberry&raspberry seeds😊

The rest we do remove all the seeds and stones though personally. The apple and pear seeds are toxic far as I’ve read, not sure about cherry stones but they’re definitely a choking hazard and other stones like the mango are obviously too big. Hope that clears any confusion🙂
 

ryan57

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It seems to me that there should be data that shows a "normal" tolerance for "pyramiding". With my first tortoise, he grew so fast that what I witnessed was more of a "spreading" and then filling in type of growth almost where he looked like he was going to burst and then spread out a bit more then filled in.

I would propose placing a straight edge between the scutes that the animal hatched with and then measure the depression in mm or something like that. If people kept records on a site (don't know why there is no data for people to peruse here) then others would be able to refer to specific AND averages for their species, age, diet, etc. for reference.
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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It seems to me that there should be data that shows a "normal" tolerance for "pyramiding". With my first tortoise, he grew so fast that what I witnessed was more of a "spreading" and then filling in type of growth almost where he looked like he was going to burst and then spread out a bit more then filled in.

I would propose placing a straight edge between the scutes that the animal hatched with and then measure the depression in mm or something like that. If people kept records on a site (don't know why there is no data for people to peruse here) then others would be able to refer to specific AND averages for their species, age, diet, etc. for reference.
Interesting idea, yet it should be very precise measurements for smaller species. How do you suggest to do that? The best idea I have is to make clay moldings of the shell to measure later :)
 

ryan57

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Interesting idea, yet it should be very precise measurements for smaller species. How do you suggest to do that? The best idea I have is to make clay moldings of the shell to measure later :)
measure.png
Easiest thing in the world. I have done this a dozen or so times to record Stump.
Red = straight edge (I've used a pencil, marker, etc.)
Green = ruler

Let's agree that 1mm is not pyramiding so... at least two mm on the ruler to worry about anything.

Rules - maximum distance at any point in the line is the measurement, not just the center.
If there is curvature then you can record it by doing the same thing and measuring the distance to the scute that forms the endpoint of the line.
 

The_Four_Toed_Edward

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Some tortoises develop that 'skirting' some don't. It might be a geographical thing. . . that is, where the ancestors of this tortoise originated.
All and all, the geographical traits in tortoises is an interesting concept that isn't researched enough. I for my part would love to know where my tortoise is from and everything that comes with it.
 

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