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Pyramiding – Solving the Mystery

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

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  1. Markw84

    Markw84 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    back in the mid 80's and early 90's I made friends with a guy from Africa who did import some various things. He agreed to try to get some tortoises for me. His contacts did end up getting me a few Leopards but the process took a long time. I asked him to get me any info he could about where they came from, the habitat, etc. We tried to get some sulcatas the early 90's when I first started seeing some. Because of shipping, I was wanting smaller, yet well started juveniles and wanted smooth, wild caught back then. All the sources he spoke with told him small was very hard to find. Most were larger that were pulled from burrows, and never got small ones that way. A few mentioned rarely finding yearlings and when they did, it was several at a time all in the same location, and they learned to dig around when the found one as others would be nearby. Never did get any from these sources, but did end up with a nice adult pair from Niger.

    All this was anecdotal, and not verified. Very interesting to me. But when I first read THE CRYING TORTOISE, I was struck with some of his comments about juveniles:

    From Chapter 6-1 -
    "The young tortoises benefit from the first rains, and especially from the fast growing plants on which they feed and take water in abundance. Also, the young can bury themselves more easily, thus avoiding certain predators..."

    Later in same chapter -

    "Conditions in the wild vary from year to year, and animals can suffer from unexpected droughts, serious fires, a reduced vegetal carpet, etc. A new-born tortoise weighing 50 g will reach 200 g after four months. and I kg by the end of the year. When two years old it might weigh 3 kg. and 6 kg after three years. It is at this age that the young tortoise will dig an individual burrow. thus escaping from most predators."

    From Chapter 6-4 -
    "The juveniles hide, often in small groups, under leaves or in natural hollows. They only excavate in autumn, often together, forming recesses that are enlarged holes, rather than real burrows. "

    That's a few of the quotes I could quickly find that go towards this conversation.
    Gijoux, Cowboy_Ken, Anyfoot and 3 others like this.
  2. DeanS

    DeanS SULCATA OASIS 5 Year Member

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    I think this little guy takes the cake! Somewhere between 4 and 5 inches...and eight months old!
    IMG_4326.JPG IMG_4333.JPG IMG_4353.JPG IMG_4382.JPG
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  3. Gijoux

    Gijoux Member 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    I believe "stress" is handled differently by different species as well as individuals. Stress hormones affect "Mineralocorticoid" production by the Adrenal glands, which has an overall effect on fluid retention (Kidney) and bone/keratin production since the Kidney plays a major role in Vitamin D2 to D3 conversion and ultimately bone growth. D3 is the active form used by the body. The Adrenal hormones plays a major role in Thyroid production and activation of T4 into T3, which also plays a role in Bone and Keratin production as well as growth and activity. In humans we can tell a lot about overall health, especially Adrenal/Thyroid issues, by looking at fingernail growth. I have observed horses, whose hooves (bones covered by Keratin/Lamina) are failing and falling apart (Laminitis), when given thyroid hormone, have major improvement. I believe exercise to improve blood flow/circulation is also an important feature to all aspects of health. Perhaps a species or individual that is more fearful or shy will be more likely to be affected negatively through adrenal imbalance which affects fluid and mineral content in the body.


    Deep inside a burrow will be cooler in the Summer and warmer in Winter. By not excreting fluid and waste they are keeping the moisture within their bodies.
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  4. Anyfoot

    Anyfoot Well-Known Member

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    Nice post.

    Not sure I’m understanding this last sentence correctly.
    What you are saying is an active tortoise has the adrenaline running and therefore a balance of fluid and mineral circulation with the higher blood flow. Wouldn’t a tortoise that is more fearful through anxiety of predators be showing high adrenaline too?
  5. Gijoux

    Gijoux Member 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    Absolutely! But having the ability to move around freely, finding safe cover as well as the ability to graze, would actually lower Cortisol (associated with Adrenaline). Being trapped in a small area without the ability to hide (predators or not), will cause stress and all the physiologic changes. Exercise increases blood circulation which delivers oxygen, fluids and nutrients to the organs, as well as lowering Cortisol, the "Fight or Flight" hormone.
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  6. Ketta

    Ketta Active Member

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    True! rhinos and pigs oh and buffalos take mud baths to keep their skin hydratated..
  7. Ketta

    Ketta Active Member

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    True! rhinos and pigs oh and buffalos take mud baths to keep their skin hydratated..
  8. Ketta

    Ketta Active Member

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    True! rhinos and pigs oh and buffalos take mud baths to keep their skin hydratated.. I read that hatchlings stay hidden for 2-3 weeks until their sac yolk is fully consumed.
  9. Anyfoot

    Anyfoot Well-Known Member

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    You can pretty much do what you want with a redfoot and they grow smooth for first 4 to 6 months. Then things change.
    I’ve had only 2 that it was obvious they were going to pyramid within a month or two of hatching. All others have been smooth up until around 5 months old. I’ve tried every diet and soaking method on the planet.
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  10. Ketta

    Ketta Active Member

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    Keto have 2-3 years olď! So he is a juvenile male.
  11. Anyfoot

    Anyfoot Well-Known Member

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    @Markw84

    Hi Mark. We’ve not spoke for a while. My life is demanding at the moment:rolleyes:.

    A while back we were talking about how torts can still pyramid later in life. I’m not convinced. I think there is a point where as long as the bone is strong and healthy the keratin can not dictate the bone growth direction.
    Have a look at this tort. I’ve purposely not cleaned her so you can see how dry they get. Even though I spray my tort house down with a hose pipe a few times a wk, and have a 3sqft pond that evaporates and a water fall. They drink at will. I don’t soak them anymore apart from when I wash them.
    This one is about 6yrs old now. She’s about 7” SCL. Her siblings are 10”+ now. For some reason she just didn’t grow much at all for a couple yrs. Over the last yr she seems to be growing quickly all of a sudden. Gaining approx 1”SCL in the last yr. look at her newest growth rings(last 3 rings) You can see how perfect the new growth is. It’s growing in a perfectly horizontal plane, no pyramiding wafts so ever. But yet I have 6 months olds that start to pyramid. Living in the exact same tort house but in a tortoise table, and being soaked daily and sprayed.
    Once the bone is set and strong enough something drastic has to happen to tip the bone to a different angle.

    You can see the latest white growth line. Something I didn’t see on this tort for a couple years. Don’t know why and tbh I’d accepted she has stunted growth, the extra scute made me suspicious of something abnormal too.

    So in a nutshell. She’s having a very fast growth spurt in dryish conditions but growing smooth.

    Your thoughts as usual. Or anyone’s.

    DCCB939C-6346-45D1-BF45-81496E5391D4.jpeg 4F7FEF58-A79A-42CD-B6DA-818A6859D48A.jpeg 288D537E-3777-4156-AFA6-B0ED47EE7C1D.jpeg 85FF3ACE-7A6F-4FA7-8DFB-B55F8F16FC4C.jpeg 3ED47287-40EA-4B6B-B12A-A8E04B11BB3C.jpeg 960C4440-BCD1-46E5-8CA6-5BFEF8758507.jpeg
  12. Toddrickfl1

    Toddrickfl1 Well-Known Member Tortoise Club

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    @Anyfoot I'm right at the five month mark (140g) with my hatchling and growth seems good, what you think? IMG_20190515_183116904.jpg IMG_20190515_183104289.jpg IMG_20190515_183049345.jpg
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  13. Anyfoot

    Anyfoot Well-Known Member

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  14. jsheffield

    jsheffield Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    That one looks gorgeous!

    Jamie
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