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Beginning Of Pyramiding?


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#1 animallover53

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 04:41 PM

Hi everyone. I'm a little concerned about my hatchling Hermann's, Beans. I got him in January and he seems to be doing very well except I've noticed a very, very slight amount of what I think is pyramiding. 

 

He gets fed a mix of different greens daily and is given calcium sprinkled on every meal. The temps are good and so is humidity. I think the problem is that I've been away for a little bit and my mom hasn't been giving him a bath daily. Could that have caused it? I've got him back on track now but he doesn't seem to tolerate baths as well as he used to. He used to chill for 20-30 minutes and now after 5, he's trying to get out.

 

I'll attach some pictures of Beans. Don't mind the green dot. It was put on him by the breeder to mark him as mine and I'm not sure how to get it off. Also, the pics were taken in his bath tub, which he dirtied up pretty fast :P

 

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IMG_20160515_122012_zpsf0yn2acm.jpg

 

IMG_20160515_122022_zpsduyx2obz.jpg

 



#2 pompeypoole

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 05:39 PM

How old is your hatchling and how much does it weigh? The growth lines appear to be a slightly larger than I would so on my own hatchlings. They need to be as small as posible, just like a pencil line. Though it could be the photo. Do you weigh him regularly?

#3 animallover53

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 06:01 PM

How old is your hatchling and how much does it weigh? The growth lines appear to be a slightly larger than I would so on my own hatchlings. They need to be as small as posible, just like a pencil line. Though it could be the photo. Do you weigh him regularly?

I'm not 100% sure of his/her age. I got him in January and from my understanding, he wasn't very old at all. I think I got him as soon as he was ready to leave the breeder. It's sort of a complicated situation. I got him through a fantastic reptile breeder/feeder business that two locals started up. If you're looking for a type of reptile they don't keep, they'll find one for you. So my guy came from a great Hermann's breeder on the other side of Canada but I never had any actual contact with the breeder...

 

I've never weighed him before. I never thought to. He has been growing very steadily. When I first got him, he was very small and he has grown a lot since then. I've wondered if maybe I'm feeding him too much... I usually just toss a handful of greens into his bowl and let him have at it =\ The photos were taken really close though.

 

This was him the day I got him. It probably won't help much since it was taken from further away, lol. I can grab a weight on him if that helps?

 

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#4 animallover53

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 06:01 PM

How old is your hatchling and how much does it weigh? The growth lines appear to be a slightly larger than I would so on my own hatchlings. They need to be as small as posible, just like a pencil line. Though it could be the photo. Do you weigh him regularly?

I should add... I have no idea what growth lines are.



#5 pompeypoole

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 07:23 PM

A growth line is the new shell development around each scute. It is the lighter area. Needs to be kept to a minimum. I weigh and record my hatchlings every week so that I can check on growth. You don't want them qaining too much weight too quickly. A couple of grams month at this age. Treat yourself to some digital scales. It will be worth the investment. Tortoise are programmed to eat so will eat as much as you put in front of them. Last photo looks normal.

#6 animallover53

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 12:00 AM

A growth line is the new shell development around each scute. It is the lighter area. Needs to be kept to a minimum. I weigh and record my hatchlings every week so that I can check on growth. You don't want them qaining too much weight too quickly. A couple of grams month at this age. Treat yourself to some digital scales. It will be worth the investment. Tortoise are programmed to eat so will eat as much as you put in front of them. Last photo looks normal.

How much should I be feeding him? I was told on another tortoise forum to put food down and let him eat as much as he wants.



#7 animallover53

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 04:39 AM

I found out he hatched 10/26/2015.



#8 mildredsmam

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 05:05 AM

I found out he hatched 10/26/2015.

Hi, could you weigh him/her as well as this will help. :)



#9 wizzasmum

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 07:26 AM

How much should I be feeding him? I was told on another tortoise forum to put food down and let him eat as much as he wants.


That's not good advice. In the wild he would have to walk a long way to find a tasty morsel, so using up energy and regulating his intake. Don't use food dishes, put the food where he has to look for it. Also regular weighing will be the best guide to if he is getting the correct amount. 2-3 grams a month at this age is plenty. My September babies from last year are coming up to 30 grams if that helps ;)

#10 animallover53

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 03:24 PM

Thank you, guys, for setting me straight. It seems that other forum has led me astray when it comes to feeding. I'll try spreading it out for him and see if that helps.

 

As for his weight, my scale shows 97g =\ Geez.

 

So, am I seeing signs of pyramiding or are his growth lines just messed up because he's growing too fast? If I cut back his food a little and make him walk around to find it, will that help set him on the right track??



#11 pompeypoole

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 06:35 PM

He is still so young, so yes a change to his feeding regime will put him back on the right track.
Are you sure your scales are accurate? I have a couple of juveniles (a few months from their 3rd birthday). That are still under 90g.
Keep a weekly record of weights and you can adjust food intake accordingly. Let's us know what you are feeding him.

#12 wizzasmum

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 07:59 PM

Yes, he's grown too fast. This is not necessarily the reason for uneven growth though, as that also depends on substrate, humidity and temps or a combination of them all. When looking at forums, have a look at who is running them. There are hundreds out there now as anyone can start an Internet group, sadly many are run by beginners or people using guess work and pet shop advice. I always suggest people use those run by long term breeders or well known long term organisations. Always think of what they have in nature, so avoid groups recommending vivariums, dried foods, unnatural substrates etc

#13 Rue

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 08:54 PM

If it helps, my 5.5 month old weighed 76 grams two weeks ago, up from 59 grams the month before.

 

Maybe Canadian tortoises are a larger version.

 

I try not to get hung up on weight if the animal looks healthy and doesn't look too thin or too fat.  A bit hard to tell with a tortoise if you haven't been around enough to get a good base line, but looking at lots of photos helps.



#14 wizzasmum

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 10:25 PM

If it helps, my 5.5 month old weighed 76 grams two weeks ago, up from 59 grams the month before.
 
Maybe Canadian tortoises are a larger version.
 
I try not to get hung up on weight if the animal looks healthy and doesn't look too thin or too fat.  A bit hard to tell with a tortoise if you haven't been around enough to get a good base line, but looking at lots of photos helps.




That is seriously huge! In the wild a 6 month old would be not a lot bigger than when it hatched. They would still be under 20 grams the following spring after hibernation. This is how the pattern is set for future good growth. Tortoises grown very fast will eventually show problems. This has been shown on autopsies of dead tortoises. Canadian tortoises are not a larger version, they are still basically hermanns tortoises, whether imported or bred in the country. They have evolved over millions of years and aren't going to change in just a few TBH. I realise you are probably trying to make the OP feel better, but it's not really a good idea to say that fast grown torts are fine unless obviously you have experienced this to adulthood.

#15 animallover53

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 10:45 PM

I'm pretty sure it's acurate? It's a digital food scale that I use to weigh my food. It's the only one I have and I can't afford to get another one right now. Hopefully it is? It weighs my food right, lol.
 
Substrate is eco-earth coconut coir but I bought some plain black soil (with no additives or anything) to mix in to make it better for digging. He loves to dig and sleeps buried. I'll have to get temps/humidity reading when I get back home.
 
I don't feed any pellets or dried food. I don't yet have any weeds or anything grown (I've tried feeding him dandelion from the untreated yard but he won't touch the stuff). I can't grow anything inside right now because I have a cat that will eat any plant in sight, no matter where I put it (and I have no rooms to close the plants in) So right now he gets a mix of greens from the grocery store because it's all I have access to. It has different types of baby lettuces, raddicchio and frisee in it.


#16 Rue

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Posted 17 May 2016 - 02:42 PM

That is seriously huge! In the wild a 6 month old would be not a lot bigger than when it hatched. They would still be under 20 grams the following spring after hibernation. This is how the pattern is set for future good growth. Tortoises grown very fast will eventually show problems. This has been shown on autopsies of dead tortoises. Canadian tortoises are not a larger version, they are still basically hermanns tortoises, whether imported or bred in the country. They have evolved over millions of years and aren't going to change in just a few TBH. I realise you are probably trying to make the OP feel better, but it's not really a good idea to say that fast grown torts are fine unless obviously you have experienced this to adulthood.

 

Don't put words in my mouth - I only said my baby is also on the bigger side.  It's quite possible that 'ours' came from a bigger line - who knows what animals were imported and what the recent breeding has been.  I seriously doubt we have a huge and varied genetic pool to draw from here.  And of course, that could be an issue, but only time will tell.

 

I am not doing anything to promote rapid growth.  I have no desire for rapid growth.  If I had my druthers, I'd rather have a smaller than a larger adult at the end of it all.

 

If health issues show up down the road due to a genetic size anomaly - then that's out of my control.  I don't want to feel guilty for providing improper care if there was no improper care.

 

Another thing it could be is environment.  Most of us have forced air heating - and the climate in much of the country is drier than in England or central Europe and I assume the Mediterranean coast as well, although I haven't had the opportunity to check that out for myself.   It seems counter-intuitive to me, but perhaps that somehow contributes to larger babies. 

 

And really, what are we supposed to do at this point?  Provide sub-optimal care to try to stunt growth?  I'm not doing that to what looks like a healthy animal.



#17 mildredsmam

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Posted 17 May 2016 - 03:04 PM

 

I'm pretty sure it's acurate? It's a digital food scale that I use to weigh my food. It's the only one I have and I can't afford to get another one right now. Hopefully it is? It weighs my food right, lol.
 
Substrate is eco-earth coconut coir but I bought some plain black soil (with no additives or anything) to mix in to make it better for digging. He loves to dig and sleeps buried. I'll have to get temps/humidity reading when I get back home.
 
I don't feed any pellets or dried food. I don't yet have any weeds or anything grown (I've tried feeding him dandelion from the untreated yard but he won't touch the stuff). I can't grow anything inside right now because I have a cat that will eat any plant in sight, no matter where I put it (and I have no rooms to close the plants in) So right now he gets a mix of greens from the grocery store because it's all I have access to. It has different types of baby lettuces, raddicchio and frisee in it.

 

If your scales are right then as said he/she has grown too fast, but you can always slow down the growth from now which he/she will benefit from, I weigh my hatchlings on a regular basis and keep a record so you can monitor it a bit better, you could always start that from today :)  is there places you can pick weeds from, I go out on a morning and pick different weeds for mine, if there is just keep offering them daily and nothing else he/she will soon eat them, let us know how you get on. :)



#18 mildredsmam

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Posted 17 May 2016 - 03:06 PM

Also do you water your substrate. :)



#19 wizzasmum

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Posted 17 May 2016 - 07:05 PM

Don't put words in my mouth - I only said my baby is also on the bigger side.  It's quite possible that 'ours' came from a bigger line - who knows what animals were imported and what the recent breeding has been.  I seriously doubt we have a huge and varied genetic pool to draw from here.  And of course, that could be an issue, but only time will tell.
 
I am not doing anything to promote rapid growth.  I have no desire for rapid growth.  If I had my druthers, I'd rather have a smaller than a larger adult at the end of it all.
 
If health issues show up down the road due to a genetic size anomaly - then that's out of my control.  I don't want to feel guilty for providing improper care if there was no improper care.
 
Another thing it could be is environment.  Most of us have forced air heating - and the climate in much of the country is drier than in England or central Europe and I assume the Mediterranean coast as well, although I haven't had the opportunity to check that out for myself.   It seems counter-intuitive to me, but perhaps that somehow contributes to larger babies. 
 
And really, what are we supposed to do at this point?  Provide sub-optimal care to try to stunt growth?  I'm not doing that to what looks like a healthy animal.


I think you misunderstood ;) you won't have a bigger tortoise at the end of it, because it's grown fast, just one that might have more problems if that makes sense. It's a bit like other animals that have grown too fast when young, they don't make giants, but they do have bone and other developmental problems sadly. It's really not out of your control, as the tortoise will only eat what you offer it, so if you feed it less it will grow more naturally, but still to the same size. Feeding less is not suboptimal care, it's being realistic and treating a tortoise like the animal it evolved to be, rather than a mammal or small human. Tortoises cover large distances in nature to get a tiny morsel of food sometimes, this is not a hardship to them, they evolved over millions of years to live this way and are rarely ill. Most vets will tell you that those kept indoors and fed too much and too frequently are the ones they see most frequently. I have a fair few tortoises but rarely see the vet with them. We can't improve on nature ;) Ground level in the Med is very humid overnight. Some of us have studied them in the wild and experienced this for ourselves. When it was my turn to collect food for the hatchlings at a sanctuary in Antalya, my hands were soaked from gathering plants early in the morning. This is the area that babies were found in. Humidity was 100% I'd recommend a very good book, called Hermanns Tortoises by Holger Vetter. It's available on Amazon and well worth a read, by someone such as yourself, who is obviously thinking about the bigger picture.




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