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!

Pyramiding – Solving the Mystery

Discussion in 'Advanced Tortoise Topics' started by Markw84, Feb 21, 2018.

  1. Salspi

    Salspi Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2017
    Messages:
    209
    Likes Received:
    121
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Chicago
    If they can survive on eating soil, my mind will be blown.
    Cowboy_Ken and anita keyes like this.
  2. Salspi

    Salspi Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2017
    Messages:
    209
    Likes Received:
    121
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Chicago
    I always thought that mud draws out toxins. One of the reason animals roll wounds in the mud is to stop inflammation
  3. Anyfoot

    Anyfoot Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2014
    Messages:
    6,003
    Likes Received:
    4,906
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    UK Sheffield
    i didn't mean only eat mud/dirt. I was thinking more like when they are eating weeds/grasses or bugs that dirt particles would be dragged in.
    When I pick weeds in a morning there is always tiny slugs and bugs amongst the grass and weeds. When we've had a heavy rainfall the dirt actually bounces up onto the lower parts of the foliage. It wouldn't be beyond possibility that all neonates (even herbivores) are inadvertently eating tiny bugs and dirt particles that are amongst the foliage in micro climates.

    I'm at the stage where nothing surprises me any more in the tortoise world, Nothing. :D
    Cowboy_Ken and anita keyes like this.
  4. Salspi

    Salspi Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2017
    Messages:
    209
    Likes Received:
    121
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Chicago
    I agree totally- hey an earthworm eats dirt.
  5. Anyfoot

    Anyfoot Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2014
    Messages:
    6,003
    Likes Received:
    4,906
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    UK Sheffield
    Why are some species more susceptible to pyramiding than others?
  6. ColaCarbonaria

    ColaCarbonaria Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2017
    Messages:
    142
    Likes Received:
    140
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Pensacola, Florida
    I was reading an old article on incubating RF eggs this weekend written by our own Carl May and he was talking about perlite & vermiculite and stated he witnessed hatchlings still in the egg reaching their heads down and eating the perlite and saw them pass this in some of their first BM. You can argue that perlite is white, unnatural and therefore be an attraction for a cb tortoise only, but a baby tortoise doesn’t know dirt is suppose to be brown, right? Nature not nurture. It leads me to believe they probably do ingest soil as a source of nutrients, at least in forest dwelling species especially, I would think the highly composted jungle floor would hold critical vitamins and minerals. This is why we use compost in our gardens. I know it’s only one observation but food for thought nonetheless.
    anita keyes, Salspi and Anyfoot like this.
  7. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2010
    Messages:
    41,474
    Likes Received:
    18,737
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Southern California
    All of my hatchlings do this. I incubate on vermiculite and I remove the babies from the incubator as soon as they leave the egg under their own power. This is usually a day or two from pipping. I always see a few little vermiculite flecks in their first poops.

    A few years ago I bought some sulcata hatchlings from a breeder who incubated on perlite. A third of the babies failed, another third was mediocre, and the final third was fine. Necropsy revealed the GI tract of the failed ones was lined with gray sandy sludge. They had never been on sand or anything sand like. It was broken down perlite.

    This is the reason why I tell everyone not to use perlite. I still hear breeders saying hatchlings don't eat while they have a yolk sac. I KNOW this is false. ALL of my hatchlings nibble on available food while they still have a yolk sac. I also don't understand breeders who leave the babies in the incubator for several days or a week while they are absorbing the yolk sac. Those babies are filling their GI tract with incubation media.
  8. *debora*

    *debora* Well-Known Member Today is my birthday!

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2017
    Messages:
    678
    Likes Received:
    490
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    Oh how I wish every Tortoise keeper and breeder read the stuff you guys write here on this forum. So much more knowledge and inside on proper Tortoise care!!

    Thank you...
  9. Markw84

    Markw84 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2012
    Messages:
    2,548
    Likes Received:
    3,478
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA (Central Valley)
    @Tom is certainly correct - SOOOO much we just don't know yet. But with pyramiding, perhaps this is getting us to start asking the right questions.

    With a baby hiding in leaf litter/composting vegetation, there would actually be food right there it is hiding in. And with that, very conceivably, bugs that could be providing some Vit D. But, just as one of the pictures you recently posted in your thread on white lines, all a baby has to do is stick out its head and a bit of the forelegs, to take advantage of some sunshine, and it could easily get enough D3 in a few minutes a week of this behavior. They certainly never have to "bask" as we think of it. Many of my aquatic turtles are very good at cryptic basking, where they are taking advantage of the sunlight, but still remaining quite hidden with little of them fully exposed.

    Injesting substrate with the plants they eat, is indeed a source of minerals for many herbivores. That is true whether hidden, or an adult in the open grazing. Sometimes they will purposely eat small rocks, etc. to satisfy an apparent craving or need.

    In the line of why some (more minor) pyramiding occurs even with humidity, I think another question, though, is whether the substrate, and the material in which they bury, possibly effecting keratin growth as well. The chemistry of the material in contact. In captivity are we exposing the shell to chlorine, or fluoride, or water too soft, without enough free calcium ions, or too acidic??? Is the moss used in some humid hides too acidic? or is the leaf litter used too alkaline? Humidity/hydration of the keratin is most important, but it is certainly reasonable to think that perhaps the chemistry of the environment also can have a more subtle effect on keratin growth as well. I'm certainly seeing more and more evidence that is coming into play in embryonic development of scutes and developing split scutes!!
  10. ColaCarbonaria

    ColaCarbonaria Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2017
    Messages:
    142
    Likes Received:
    140
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Pensacola, Florida
    Just reread and May does recommend vermiculite over perlite in article. Should have stated that to begin with.
  11. Rob99

    Rob99 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2018
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    San Diego
    I am just a beginner but I love reading stuff like this. I love all the insight that that the article gives and the comments are so good thank you all for what you do on behalf of all or at least my tortoises appreciate it.
  12. kellygirl64

    kellygirl64 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2015
    Messages:
    127
    Likes Received:
    268
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Upstate NY @ 90 miles left of NYC
    I found your article to be very informative and understandable. Thanks so much for sharing it !! The tort on the scale is absolutely beautiful.
    Cowboy_Ken and anita keyes like this.
  13. TammyJ

    TammyJ Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2016
    Messages:
    1,435
    Likes Received:
    869
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Jamaica
    Living in the tropics, and having all kinds of natural grasses and weeds in my yard, I improve the humidity in both the outdoor and the indoor enclosures by (outdoor) placing a "mat" of damp leaves and weeds over the mesh wire top to cover the enclosure about 5/6ths, and (indoor) I provide a large bunch of green weeds and leaves which they invariably burrow into to sleep for the night, and the enclosure being almost completely covered anyway, it remains very humid overnight too.
  14. Anyfoot

    Anyfoot Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2014
    Messages:
    6,003
    Likes Received:
    4,906
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    UK Sheffield
    Could some species have thinner keratin than others. So for example a Russian may have thinner keratin than a star tortoise. If the keratin is thinner then there would be less expansion of new keratin required to be level to old keratin and maybe less downwards pressure on bone.
    Cowboy_Ken and ColaCarbonaria like this.
  15. BevSmith

    BevSmith Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2017
    Messages:
    144
    Likes Received:
    208
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Fantastic. Was just reading about pyramiding and discussing among friends. I was nearly convinced that it was due to genetics.

    This is so cool.
    anita keyes likes this.
  16. wellington

    wellington Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2011
    Messages:
    35,144
    Likes Received:
    11,326
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois, USA
    Just wanted to add. I got some leaf litter and put it in the hatchlings enclosure. After their soak, I put them back in their now leafy enclosure and within seconds, they were all gone. Buried under the leaves. Couldn't see not one of them. I had sprayed the leaves heavy with warm water and will several times thru the day. Now this is an enclosure with already high swampy humidity but leopards still pyramiding. Hoping them living within the wet leaves, helping to keep the top shell damp/wet, will help stop pyramiding and the leaves giving more cover from the hot lights.
  17. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2010
    Messages:
    41,474
    Likes Received:
    18,737
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Southern California
    What type of leaves did you use.

    My concern with this technique is that they will eat the leaves. No problem if mulberry leaves are used, but some leaves are toxic.
    BevSmith and Cowboy_Ken like this.
  18. wellington

    wellington Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2011
    Messages:
    35,144
    Likes Received:
    11,326
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois, USA
    No, not toxic. They are dried left over leaves of the neighbors magnolia tree. I feed them in the summer when they blow into my yard. Already spoke to neighbors about the use of pesticides etc, they are free of that. they fall right along the fence/bush line so they don't really get raked up. The last couple days were warm and sunny, so they dried up and were easy to get. I should add the adults don't like them when dry. They are quite tuff. Not sure the babies would either. They did still come out to the food tile to eat.
  19. Anyfoot

    Anyfoot Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2014
    Messages:
    6,003
    Likes Received:
    4,906
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    UK Sheffield
    I now use dried leaves as part of my bedding too, one thing I've noticed is that some types of leaves mould. For example bayleaves mould very easy in damp conditions, so I no longer use bayleaves. Point is keep an eye on any leaf types for mould growth. Over time we will know what not to use.
    TammyJ likes this.
  20. Cowboy_Ken

    Cowboy_Ken Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2011
    Messages:
    16,796
    Likes Received:
    11,749
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Suburban-life in Salem, Oregon
    In a fun twist to all of this, 3-4(?) years ago Tom and I were speecking about incubation substrate. I was “Old school” knowing I needed to use perlite and he was going on and on about them eating it. Ultimately I changed my ways and instead went with damp paper towels. Again, Tom warned me to watch to ensure it wasn’t getting eaten. Again, as if looking over my shoulder, Tom was correct in that call, I was watching my hatchlings going at those wet paper towels with gusto!
    The problem is you’ve still got to provide hydration for your youngin’s without giving them the opportunity to “play” in water or eat the medium. What I’ve found works great for me, (and yes, I stole the idea here) is I place an aquarium air-pump outsider the herbavator. To this I add an air stone submerged in a heavy bottomed coffee mug. I have the air pump hooked up to my humidifier so they both come on at the same time. This works so well I set my current leo hatchling up with the same setup for her indoor enclosure.
    I regularly feed weed and grass clumps, dirt and all, with all the creepy-crawlers in them. I’ve never seen one eaten, but then I don’t watch for that either. Typically, I place these clumps under the PowerSun figuring maybe I’d get a longer life from them. Now, I may start spreading them out more to provide a larger selection of hides than the one currently always used. I’ll let y’all know.
Similar Threads: Pyramiding Solving
Forum Title Date
Advanced Tortoise Topics Is he pyramiding? Feb 3, 2018
Advanced Tortoise Topics Does diet contribute to pyramiding. Apr 6, 2017
Advanced Tortoise Topics The CAUSE of Pyramiding Jul 6, 2016
Advanced Tortoise Topics Pyramiding is due to excess Heat, not lack of Humidity? Mar 9, 2016
Advanced Tortoise Topics Pyramiding in star tortoises, effects of humidity & lighting Aug 25, 2015

Share This Page