Shell rot in leopard tortoise.

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Reposting here to see if I can reach more people. Around New Years, I noticed a white spot on the bottom of Hoppy's shell. It started out tiny, got a bit bigger, and then no change for a long time. Just today, I was scrubbing his shell with a soft toothbrush and now the white spot has peeled away, revealing what looks like bone??? I haven't treated him for anything yet as many people have told me that shell rot in leopard tortoises is almost unheard of. His closed chamber is around 84 temp with 90-99% humidity. His substrate is topsoil that it dry to the touch, but his hide where he sleeps is constantly humid. I just want to know if this is shell rot so I can dry out his hide to prevent this from happening again. He sleeps under a pile of dead sod roots that I pushed into the corner and dug a little tunnel. But he also sleeps under his basking light on a piece of dry slate during the day time. Thanks in advance for any input. And please someone correct me if my humidity is too high. He only has this one spot, haven't seen anywhere else on his shell that looks like this.

His shell on New Year's Day
IMG 4489

A few days after
IMG 4506

His shell today after I gently scrubbed it with a soft toothbrush
IMG 4688

Hoppy's humid hide, he goes in here mostly at nighttime but I've seen him here during the day too.
IMG 4689
 

Tom

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I've never had that happen or seen it happen to anyone else.

Here are some differences in how you do it vs. how I do it that could account for the problem, or be totally unrelated to the problem. Just noting these things to help you gain some insight.

  • I don't use or recommend store bought soil. There is no way to know what composted material it is made of. Could be fallen mulberry leaves from the fall, or it could be grass trimmings recently treated with pesticide, fungicide or herbicidal weed killers. Could be azalea and oleander, or it could be harmless. No way to know. It is possible that that lesion is some sort of chemical burn.
  • I don't use humid hides like that. Sod is grown with all sorts of chemicals to make it grow faster, be weed free and bug free. Personally, I wouldn't trust that.
  • I use fine grade orchid bark for substrate for my baby leopards. It remains dry-ish on top, but damp down below. The particle size also allows for air flow vs. a tortoise laying on flat compacted soil.
  • I keep my humidity around 80%.
  • I don't live in a humid climate. It has been previously suggested that my dry climate is a factor in my success using these monsoon season techniques. I see keepers in humid climates using the techniques successfully, but I don't have personal experience raising babies in a humid climate.

Maybe there is a clue somewhere in these factors, or maybe it is something else. If this is not shell rot, I don't think any harm will come from treating it as if it is. I've never treated shell rot, so I'll leave that advice to someone with more experience in that arena.
 

Team Gomberg

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I have successfully treated a small leopard with shell rot. We (me and then his next owner) used athletes foot cream.

I've also known a lady with 6 small leopards who had shell rot on all of hers...But they died before being treated.

It's been a few years, so I don't remember the specifics, but I got my treatment directions from this site.
I'd make some of the changes Tom suggested and treat the spots, too.
 

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I've never had that happen or seen it happen to anyone else.

Here are some differences in how you do it vs. how I do it that could account for the problem, or be totally unrelated to the problem. Just noting these things to help you gain some insight.

  • I don't use or recommend store bought soil. There is no way to know what composted material it is made of. Could be fallen mulberry leaves from the fall, or it could be grass trimmings recently treated with pesticide, fungicide or herbicidal weed killers. Could be azalea and oleander, or it could be harmless. No way to know. It is possible that that lesion is some sort of chemical burn.
  • I don't use humid hides like that. Sod is grown with all sorts of chemicals to make it grow faster, be weed free and bug free. Personally, I wouldn't trust that.
  • I use fine grade orchid bark for substrate for my baby leopards. It remains dry-ish on top, but damp down below. The particle size also allows for air flow vs. a tortoise laying on flat compacted soil.
  • I keep my humidity around 80%.
  • I don't live in a humid climate. It has been previously suggested that my dry climate is a factor in my success using these monsoon season techniques. I see keepers in humid climates using the techniques successfully, but I don't have personal experience raising babies in a humid climate.

Maybe there is a clue somewhere in these factors, or maybe it is something else. If this is not shell rot, I don't think any harm will come from treating it as if it is. I've never treated shell rot, so I'll leave that advice to someone with more experience in that arena.

Could I get orchid bark from Home Depot? I always worried about chemicals on those. I wouldn't mind switching substrates if maybe that's what caused this. Also willing to throw out the stuff he's been sleeping in...it's been growing a lot of those annoying substrate flies, I'll just switch to a plastic tub instead.
 

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I've also been airing out and wiping down any condensation that builds up in the tub...iono why my humidity is so high, I never spray the substrate down and only spray his humid spot occasionally...but now that I think about it, why would he even need a humid hide if the whole enclosure is at 90%?? Ahh, thanks for pointing some stuff out. Looks like someone's getting his house renovated!
 

Tom

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I use humid hides in all of my humid enclosures.

The HD near me doesn't carry orchid bark. I have to go to a nursery to find it in bulk. OSH sells it in 1.0 cubic foot bags and that stuff is clean.
 

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Ah so I finally got some orchid bark today (miracle grow kind, Florida doesn't carry the EB Stone brand) and noticed pieces of it already had a blue mold growing on it! Now I remember why I never liked it in the past. I used it once for my crested gecko (reptibark) and that grew mold too! Has anyone ever had issues with this? I just pulled out all the topsoil from Hoppy's enclosure. Considering dumping it back in, unless someone has a remedy to the mold on orchid bark/reptibark
 

Jay Bagley

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Ah so I finally got some orchid bark today (miracle grow kind, Florida doesn't carry the EB Stone brand) and noticed pieces of it already had a blue mold growing on it! Now I remember why I never liked it in the past. I used it once for my crested gecko (reptibark) and that grew mold too! Has anyone ever had issues with this? I just pulled out all the topsoil from Hoppy's enclosure. Considering dumping it back in, unless someone has a remedy to the mold on orchid bark/reptibark
I have been using the repta bark for a couple months now and haven't had any problems with mold. The only mold related issue that I did have with it was by my own doing. Some wet Mazuri had settled at the bottom and molded, but not the substrate.
 

Tom

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Ah so I finally got some orchid bark today (miracle grow kind, Florida doesn't carry the EB Stone brand) and noticed pieces of it already had a blue mold growing on it! Now I remember why I never liked it in the past. I used it once for my crested gecko (reptibark) and that grew mold too! Has anyone ever had issues with this? I just pulled out all the topsoil from Hoppy's enclosure. Considering dumping it back in, unless someone has a remedy to the mold on orchid bark/reptibark
Orchid bark doesn't mold or mildew, or grow fungus. That is one reason why it works so well.

Read the ingredients on the package. What else is in it besides fir bark?
 

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Orchid bark doesn't mold or mildew, or grow fungus. That is one reason why it works so well.

Read the ingredients on the package. What else is in it besides fir bark?

The bag of orchid bark just says western for bark, I'm just gonna return it, it wasn't even fine grade...can't find any fine grade unless it was made for reptiles. So I just got ZooMed reptibark instead and apparently price matching petsmart to their online prices gets me the stuff for the same price as the Home Depot ones. I read that for bark isn't supposed to mold either...that the only way it does is if it's contaminated and something else on its surface is molding. Gonna give reptibark a try and just be super diligent about spot cleaning around his food dish.
 

Tom

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The bag of orchid bark just says western for bark, I'm just gonna return it, it wasn't even fine grade...can't find any fine grade unless it was made for reptiles. So I just got ZooMed reptibark instead and apparently price matching petsmart to their online prices gets me the stuff for the same price as the Home Depot ones. I read that for bark isn't supposed to mold either...that the only way it does is if it's contaminated and something else on its surface is molding. Gonna give reptibark a try and just be super diligent about spot cleaning around his food dish.
I'll be curious to see if you note a difference in the two. The pet store stuff is expensive, but its is also pretty clean.
 

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I'll be curious to see if you note a difference in the two. The pet store stuff is expensive, but its is also pretty clean.
Yeah that's why I ended up just getting it so I didn't have to worry about mold. I just looked at my receipt and by price matching it ended up being cheaper by $2!!! In case anyone else wants cheap reptibark. A lot of stuff petsmart and petco sells is way cheaper online...some stuff was even cheaper than supplies at expos!!
 
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