The CAUSE of Pyramiding

bouaboua

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Dec 7, 2013
Messages
11,813
Location (City and/or State)
San Jose CA
wow 3 times a week ,thats not enough in my opinion ,I couldn't do that
I agree. There is no reason not to feed them daily. In the wild they would not deliberately starve themselves.
It looks we are starving them but not really. We been practicing this feeding schedule for over an year now, they still grow, we see growth line on their plastron, they became more active, maybe they are out looking for food? And we do see the pyramiding ease off.
 

Anyfoot

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2014
Messages
6,312
Location (City and/or State)
UK Sheffield
I totally agree with this theory of how keratin grows. It's basically a ratio of humidity versus growth.

Mark I would appreciate your thoughts on protein too.
We hear often some say it's lack of humidity that causes pyramiding, there are still long time carers/breeders who still say it's diet. There is something that is sticking in my mind and won't go away, Yvonne and Tom don't understand how they grow smooth torts in Arizona (think it was Arizona anyway)where it's dry. I'm starting to think it can be both humidity/hydration and/or diet (protein intake)
Keratin is protein based. If I fed my tortoise rich foods that did not contain protein at all(yes there would be other health issues but let's forget about that for now) my tortoise would grow but not be capable of growing new keratin to fill in the newest crevices from the scute plates moving apart.
This would also give same results as dry keratin not being able to fill in the crevices.
If this theory has some merit, it means you can keep a tort as hydrated/humid as you want but with no protein it can pyramid. Don't forget there is protein in animal and foliage.
If both humidity/hydration and protein (diet) all take part in the getting a perfect wild look this would explain why when we see an adult wild caught tort in captivity the new growth is lower down, it's as though the new keratin is not as thick. I'm thinking it's because the diet has changed from when it was caught.(less protein). This could also explain why even within the same clutch we see slightly different degrees of pyramiding (from none to very very mild pyramiding). Because some hatchlings didn't get the correct ratio of protein to growth rate even though they were kept humid/hydrated.
Next clutch I get are getting fed only one type of food per day, they will get the mixed diet over a week or two. This way each tort will have its fill on exactly the same foods.
 

cdmay

Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Joined
Feb 1, 2008
Messages
1,919
Location (City and/or State)
Somewhere in Florida
The one thing that's not clicking for me is that as dptortoise says, they get thicker keratin with age, so when a tort gets fully grown it still carries on producing keratin.
If the new keratin does not start at the centre of the scute everytime what would happen when it's fully grown.
Why can't Mark's theory work with keratin starting from the centre of the keratin aswell. This is an old Brazilian I have. Not only is the carapace super thick, so is the plastron. Doesn't the plastron work on the same principle, the plastron gets hydrated internally and on the external face from walking over wet grasses etc, and it doesn't get dried out from the sun or heat source. I have some with rough plastrons too(looks like wood) have they been kept on too dry substrate I ask myself.
View attachment 180082

Anyfoot, could you post more photos of this big male in the red-foot forum?
Thanks!
 
M

Maggie Cummings

Guest
I agree. There is no reason not to feed them daily. In the wild they would not deliberately starve themselves.

They should be fed daily, wild blooms and weeds, leafs. If they were in the wild they'd eat daily. I used to have a 3-legged Gopherus agassizii, she'd catch bluebelly's off the fence and eat'em
 
N

no one

Guest
Saved this very interesting thread for a other moment. Thank you.
 

Anyfoot

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2014
Messages
6,312
Location (City and/or State)
UK Sheffield
@Markw84

Quick question.

When we see a crevice between scutes before it fills in with new keratin, what are we actually looking at in the bottom of the crevice before it fills?
 

Markw84

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 17, 2012
Messages
4,411
Location (City and/or State)
Sacramento, CA (Central Valley)
@Markw84

Quick question.

When we see a crevice between scutes before it fills in with new keratin, what are we actually looking at in the bottom of the crevice before it fills?
Craig

I assume this is a thin, beginning layer of keratin. The scute (keratin) is protecting the epithelial layer beneath and I would not believe this would be exposed as the scute is spread with the underlying bone growth. I would think the keratin would be stimulated to grow with this separation and would continually protect the epithelial layer. At first it would be quite thin and gain thickness as the new growth matures. It is while in this thin, and pliable state, I believe the opportunity for pyramiding exists here at the seams with this new growth exposed. Drying stiffens and stops normal swelling of the keratin, and maybe possibly it partially damages or alters the character of the epithelial layer. But new keratin growth is force more downward as a result.
 

Anyfoot

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2014
Messages
6,312
Location (City and/or State)
UK Sheffield
I agree Mark. We are zooming in on how the keratin actually grows now.

I was thinking of three options on how it grows.
1. Thin layer at bottom of crevice keeps growing until the crevice is flush with the carapace. (But how would it know to stop growing?)

2. Thin layer at bottom of crevice keeps expanding with moisture until flush with carapace.(But how would it know to stop expanding?)

3. Thin layer at bottom of crevice kept moist as bone grows to correct thickness it pushes supple thin layer that was at bottom of crevice level to carapace and hardens off.(this is the only method of the 3 that crevice width and depth would not affect carapace smoothness)
 

x-tank

Member
Joined
Sep 10, 2018
Messages
27
Location (City and/or State)
Palos Verdes Peninsula,California 90274
I thought these pictures might be beneficial to the thread. First the non-pyramided carapace:

xray-smooth.jpg


Then the carapace with pyramids:

xray-pyramided.jpg


You can see that the underlying bone does indeed grow upwards, however, not nearly as bad as the keratin.

http://startortoises.net/pyramiding.html


Pyramiding x-ray looked almost like human with Rickets vit-D deficiency. see attachment. The bone density is so low on x-ray its showing spongy air spaces. The bone layer appeared shorten and bowing compared to normal shell layer. The abnormal spongy thicken bone structure is actually due to bone remodeling responding to low calcium vita-D deficiency condition. Maybe because this angulation, the keratin layer on top appeared to get pushed upward. Once the curvature is formed, it just gets worse. See each scute like an old lady with scoliosis.
Also my thought about overgrowth. The scenario I could think of it's like a fat kid with weak bone lol. Fast growing animal need more calcium in their diet proportionally. For example if someone feed their animal 3 times a week and add calcium twice a week as per recommendation. If another personal decides to feed their animal every day, then calcium should be double to 4 times a week instead of 2 times a week.
Last just my opinion, there are so many theories out there what caused pyramiding. Probably everyone is right in some percentage just more or less. The thing is if one pays attention on their tortoise, care for them, that same person most likely will do their homework, feed them right diet, make sure their animal get proper sun light, exercise, hydration, soaking, misting, no junk food etc. Many pyramiding tortoise come from neglect. Anyway, my 2 cents.

xray-smooth.jpg

xray-pyramided.jpg

1.jpg
2.jpg
3.jpg
 
Last edited:

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,442
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Pyramiding x-ray looked almost like human with Rickets vit-D deficiency. see attachment. The bone density is so low on x-ray its showing spongy air spaces. The bone layer appeared shorten and bowing compared to normal shell layer. The abnormal spongy thicken bone structure is actually due to bone remodeling responding to low calcium vita-D deficiency condition. Maybe because this angulation, the keratin layer on top appeared to get pushed upward. Once the curvature is formed, it just gets worse. See each scute like an old lady with scoliosis.
Also my thought about overgrowth. The scenario I could think of it's like a fat kid with weak bone lol. Fast growing animal need more calcium in their diet proportionally. For example if someone feed their animal 3 times a week and add calcium twice a week as per recommendation. If another personal decides to feed their animal every day, then calcium should be double to 4 times a week instead of 2 times a week.
Last just my opinion, there are so many theories out there what caused pyramiding. Probably everyone is right in some percentage just more or less. The thing is if one pays attention on their tortoise, care for them, that same person most likely will do their homework, feed them right diet, make sure their animal get proper sun light, exercise, hydration, soaking, misting, no junk food etc. Many pyramiding tortoise come from neglect. Anyway, my 2 cents.

Pyramiding is caused by growth in conditions that are too dry. Its that simple. Nothing to do with speed of growth or calcium intake. Nothing to do with sunshine or vitamin D3. Nothing to do with exercise or junk food. It is not a result of neglect.

Yes there have been a lot of theories proposed over several decades about the causes of pyramiding and how to prevent it. Almost all of it was wrong, and that's why almost all of it didn't work. Once we corrected the dryness problem, the pyramiding stopped, regardless of all the other factors you mentioned.
 

x-tank

Member
Joined
Sep 10, 2018
Messages
27
Location (City and/or State)
Palos Verdes Peninsula,California 90274
Pyramiding is caused by growth in conditions that are too dry. Its that simple. Nothing to do with speed of growth or calcium intake. Nothing to do with sunshine or vitamin D3. Nothing to do with exercise or junk food. It is not a result of neglect.

Yes there have been a lot of theories proposed over several decades about the causes of pyramiding and how to prevent it. Almost all of it was wrong, and that's why almost all of it didn't work. Once we corrected the dryness problem, the pyramiding stopped, regardless of all the other factors you mentioned.

I see, interesting. Then it's not related to MBD? these are two separate issue?

I am thinking once my small tortoise get bigger, I will get a larger indoor enclosure and get a nice misting system. I have seen owner raised baby tortoises in misting system and the shell are so unbelievably nice and smooth. It's definitely something I want in very near future. Right now I do sporadically spray water on my tortoise shell and enclosure and that on average probably 8-10 times a day. Is that ok?
 
Last edited:

Markw84

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 17, 2012
Messages
4,411
Location (City and/or State)
Sacramento, CA (Central Valley)
I see, interesting. Then it's not related to MBD? these are two separate issue?

I am thinking once my small tortoise get bigger, I will get a larger indoor enclosure and get a nice misting system. I have seen owner raised baby tortoises in misting system and the shell are so unbelievably nice and smooth. It's definitely something I want in very near future. Right now I do sporadically spray water on my tortoise shell and enclosure and that on average probably 8-10 times a day. Is that ok?
Read this for a more detailed and further explanation... https://www.tortoiseforum.org/posts/1580413

I believe that providing plant hides that a tortoise can push under with shell contact in a very humid enclosure is the best situation. For many reasons. The feeling of security. Protection from IR. High humidity means a dew point extremely close to current temp. So any area of just slightly cooler temps will create dew and the tortoise pushing under a plant will remain much more hydrated on the carapace. Even when moving from under the plant- where it is slightly cooler - to venture out to feed, moisture will start to develop on the carapace as it will be at the dew point when moved to just a higher temperature.
 

Anyfoot

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2014
Messages
6,312
Location (City and/or State)
UK Sheffield
I see, interesting. Then it's not related to MBD? these are two separate issue?

I am thinking once my small tortoise get bigger, I will get a larger indoor enclosure and get a nice misting system. I have seen owner raised baby tortoises in misting system and the shell are so unbelievably nice and smooth. It's definitely something I want in very near future. Right now I do sporadically spray water on my tortoise shell and enclosure and that on average probably 8-10 times a day. Is that ok?
You can feed a perfect diet that covers all nutritional needs and still get a pyramided tortoise if grown dry.
You can raise a tortoise in super wet conditions but feed a poor diet(lettuce only for example) and end up with a bumpy tortoise due to MBD.
MBD and pyramiding are 2 separate issues.
 

TammyJ

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2016
Messages
3,111
Location (City and/or State)
Jamaica
You can feed a perfect diet that covers all nutritional needs and still get a pyramided tortoise if grown dry.
You can raise a tortoise in super wet conditions but feed a poor diet(lettuce only for example) and end up with a bumpy tortoise due to MBD.
MBD and pyramiding are 2 separate issues.
OK. If MBD ("bumpy tortoise") and Pyramiding are two separate issues, how do you tell if it's one or the other?
Just want to learn here. I have two Redfoots, almost three years old, and one has a really smooth shell while the other's shell is showing definite signs of pyramiding, despite the fact that they live and grow in the exact same conditions of temperature and humidity. So is there no other factor apart from growth in dry conditions that might contribute to pyramiding (their diet is also the same, and it's a good, recommended diet of all the right stuff for Redfoots)?
 

xphare

Active Member
Joined
Sep 26, 2018
Messages
106
Location (City and/or State)
Denver
OK. If MBD ("bumpy tortoise") and Pyramiding are two separate issues, how do you tell if it's one or the other?
Just want to learn here. I have two Redfoots, almost three years old, and one has a really smooth shell while the other's shell is showing definite signs of pyramiding, despite the fact that they live and grow in the exact same conditions of temperature and humidity. So is there no other factor apart from growth in dry conditions that might contribute to pyramiding (their diet is also the same, and it's a good, recommended diet of all the right stuff for Redfoots)?

Did you get them at the same time as hatchlings? sorry if you already explained this.
 

Markw84

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 17, 2012
Messages
4,411
Location (City and/or State)
Sacramento, CA (Central Valley)
OK. If MBD ("bumpy tortoise") and Pyramiding are two separate issues, how do you tell if it's one or the other?
Just want to learn here. I have two Redfoots, almost three years old, and one has a really smooth shell while the other's shell is showing definite signs of pyramiding, despite the fact that they live and grow in the exact same conditions of temperature and humidity. So is there no other factor apart from growth in dry conditions that might contribute to pyramiding (their diet is also the same, and it's a good, recommended diet of all the right stuff for Redfoots)?
The "classic" look of MBD is a depressed area in the rear portion of the carapace - about the 3rd-4th vertebral. The muscles and ligaments that attach from the leg and hip girdle create enough pressure that this are will become the 1st to sink in a bit. IF more pronounced, the whole shell becomes more flattened looking. You also see the growth at the bottom of the costals start dramatically outpacing any growth between the vertebrals. The whole top part of the carapace will have a pinched in look with proportionately smaller scutes on the top parts.
 

Anyfoot

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2014
Messages
6,312
Location (City and/or State)
UK Sheffield
1&2 are photos of a pyramided tortoise.

Photos 3&4 are a tortoise with MBD.

@Markw84 can tell us in more detail.

1&2

1465B302-0145-4719-9A63-13CF22999D21.jpeg
81C09CC8-AF93-4C3C-8B8A-143D94673EA7.jpeg

3&4

D7E52015-A772-4CAD-9B79-23B82301A199.jpeg
52F48D46-152D-492E-B991-54DE16205E2F.jpeg
 
TortoiseSupply.com

New Posts

Top