Thinking out loud: Pyramiding in Hinge-backs?

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Madkins007

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1. I am posting this in Debatables so no one thinks it is care recommendations, and so I can brainstorm and discuss things with you guys.

2. I'm researching a phenomena called 'Improper Diet Cascade' in birds, but it touches on things we see in tortoises so closely it is almost spooky. The problem is that it is one of those big, multi-system issues that are hard to research even in animals with shorter generations and life-spans.

Do Hingebacks pyramid? How about Eastern Box Turtles? I am asking because I don't honestly know, and I am wondering if there is something here we can use to tune the Red-foot diet.

Hinge-backs are the nearest DNA cousin to the Red-and Yellow-foot, a much closer match than any of the other Old World Geochelone as far as I can tell.

If Hinge-backs don't pyramid, why not? Is there a lesson there, something in the cares or diet that we may have missed for Red-foots????
 

dmmj

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I have seen one pyramided box I forget the species, maybe hingebacks don't pyramid because they are not high domed? like pancakes.
 

Neal

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I'm not sure how helpful this will be but at the TTPG conference this week, Cord Offermann gave a speech about the Keeled box turtle. He showed examples of box turtles that were raised in dry conditions and compared them to adults that were raised in humid environments. While they didn't pyramid like we see in the Geochelone types, they did have some significant shell deformities. The shells of the dry box turtles were more "flared" around the edges and the tops of their shells had a collapsed look to them. I believe he stated specifically that the other care that dry turtles had received was good, the only variable was humidity. Several other speakers mentioned pyramiding and they ALL said it was related to humidity. So maybe pyramiding is how the Geochelone tortoises react to dry conditions and the other genus react in different ways.
Maybe someone could contact him and see if we could post the pictures he used here, they were really interesting.

If I were to debate something related to your original post, I would say that if you’re trying to solve the pyramiding or shell deformity puzzle, you should focus more on hydration and humidity rather than the tortoise’s diet. That of course is my opinion which is shared by several people.
 
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I could be wrong on this but there are not many adult hingebacks that were raised in captivity from hatchlings. This could be a major contributing factor to not seeing pyramided hingebacks.
 

Balboa

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I shouldn't speak for Mark, so I will try to resist the urge.

But don't worry Neal, I don't think you need to convince Mark on the value of Hydration.

I think we're looking at one of those instances when you delve into an issue so far that it comes around full-circle. Very interesting stuff.
 

Madkins007

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The more we study pyramiding, the more complicated it becomes.

Yes, humidity and hydration can produce a smooth shell, but from what Andy Highfield at the TortoiseTrust.org says, the tortoise will still have a spongy shell and the scutes of the 'over wet' tortoise are thinner and weaker.

We'll ignore the bit about the thin scutes for a moment. The bone development is the thing that bothers me. If captive tortoise shells are light and spongy, while wild shells are strong and layered, that means that pyramided or not, we are doing something wrong- probably when they are very small, and probably something in diet and/or sunlight.

I think we have good anecdotal evidence that it is not just protein or food amounts, which suggests something else. As Balboa has suggested, maybe insects. Maybe babies should not eat anything by mouth hardly for their first 6 months. Maybe Red-foots should eat more fruits more like what they get in nature.

I dunno yet, and am just discussing and gathering ideas right now.
 

Balboa

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Which reminds me....has "resistance theory" I think its called come up yet? My head's pretty foggy still this morning and I meant to bring it up at one point or another. Andy talked about the uneven pressure placed upon the bone by the pyramided scutes, which is a funny way of looking at it to me, I'm thinking more of the bone pushing on the Scute, but alright. Uneven pressures will create uneven bone densities. The bone directly under pyramids should then be porous, and solid between pyramids.
 

Kristina

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I have never seen a pyramided Hingeback, however, Hingebacks that are raised too dry show "reverse pyramiding" or permanently sunken and curled scutes.

Here are some pics from my Hingeback article where I addressed that problem - this individual actually looks a lot worse in person. I tried multiple angles but this is the best representation of the deformity that I managed to come up with.

KristinasPictures41318.jpg


KristinasPictures41316.jpg
 

Madkins007

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kyryah said:
I have never seen a pyramided Hingeback, however, Hingebacks that are raised too dry show "reverse pyramiding" or permanently sunken and curled scutes.

Here are some pics from my Hingeback article where I addressed that problem - this individual actually looks a lot worse in person. I tried multiple angles but this is the best representation of the deformity that I managed to come up with.

KristinasPictures41318.jpg


KristinasPictures41316.jpg

Thanks- of course, now I really want to know what THAT skeleton looks like under the scutes!
 

Kristina

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Ha ha, well that isn't going to happen, lol. If he passes away - I'll let you have the shell. But don't get your hopes up, he is a great eater and a LTC so I do not anticipate any issues.
 

Madkins007

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Nah- I was thinking more along the lines of an x-ray or something. I would just really love to know what the bone looks like.

How often do you see this 'cupping' (?would that the reverse of pyramiding?) in Hinge-backs? Is it more prevalent in certain species?
 

Kristina

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I have two, both LTC, that show this. The rest are fresher imports or have been raised very humid. My two oldest females have perfect, light colored shells. One of the two with the sunken scutes that I have is male and one is female.

I have seen this in Manouria, Yellowfoots, and hatchling Redfoots that are kept too dry. I am sure there are others.
 
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