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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all RFUK peeps,

I have had my med spur-thighed tort for over 4 years now, CK (Cara Kent). Being a testudo graeca I’m not sure whether she is a T.G.graeca or a T.G.Ibera, anyway.
A few years ago I bought a booklet about tortoise maintenance and husbandry and followed it carefully wanting only the best for her, though a few months ago I started to notice a slight raise on the last centre scute on her back and a dip between that scute and the one in front.
It was obvious I was using out dated material and fearing MBD/pyramiding I went on a crazy internet information marathon and shopping spree buying the highest UV light (12%) and materials for a new run/table. After just over 8 hours of manual labour and nothing but a 10” hand saw I made this table terrarium:





It has a thermometer in the basking area (50w exo-terra IR) using Tortoise Life Sand/Soil Mix Substrate, a small division then carpet/cloth underlying a hemp bedding for ease of cleaning. The UV fluorescent bulb has a temporary tinfoil reflector which I hope will keep rays within the table and on ck. There is a Rena insulated heat wire at the ‘quiet’ end of the table underneath the cloth and light hemp bedding, where soon I will be adding a wall to the cover to give her added privacy should she want to retreat away, over night etc... I also have a hydrometer that I’m moving around the place to check humidity levels. (30-50% is ok??) The feeding – water area is without carpet, bedding or soil, just wood with a mirror for amusement! As for feeding, I was a little stupid feeding general greens, some Romaine lettuce, occasional cucumber, mongetout beans and sugar snap pea pods. Apparently these high in protein beans are not good and could be the cause for the bumps on the back of the shell, protein being the growth accelerator for keratin. Well some new resources from Austria say humidity is the factor for a steady growth shell so I’m not sure what to believe.

Anyway.......sorry to drag on here! She is now on a strict diet, with all the commonly recommended stuff like dandelion, hawks beard, chicory, sowthistle and any other weeds I can find and cuttlefish. She’s been on Calcium/mineral supplement-vionate for 2 years and over the summer she is often out in the garden all day –Dandelions fenced off!--
Basically I’m just checking that I’m doing things correctly so I can give her the best chance of a healthy good life. After noticing the bump I’ve taken her to the vet and he has identified it as MBD and we are working on the diet mostly to fix things. I’m also concerned if the bump will go over time or will it be permanent? The shell definitely could be taller/more domed like and I’m hoping the new diet will fix this.

Sorry for the ½ essay you have just had to read through, I really appreciate anyone’s comments on this and I would like to apologise to her and anyone else annoyed by my mistake on not seeing this earlier, It saddens me to think how easily this maybe could have been avoided. But I’m only trying to make this better, hopefully posting this on the forum will get good advice and support and I thank you in advance.
Many thanks
Luke
 

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Hi Luke
I would say you need to put the heat lamp where the uvb is and change it to a clear lamp rather than red, to mimic the sun.
I would go for nutrobal for a growing tortoise rather than vionate and give it daily, especailly as she has MBD. The tube will need to be changed every 6 months regardless of the fact it is still giving light out as the uvb will no longer be able to pass through the glass. I would also suggest you paint the enclosure with some waterproof yacht varnish as you will need to water the substrate so she can dig down properly. Dry dusty substrate is not a lot of use to her. I would say your humidity is too low because of this. Outdoors natural humidity will be double this, even in summer.
Hopefully she will start to recover soon. Put her outdoors in summer for even more uvb exposure.
Good luck
 

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Definately change the IR bulb for a sunlight bulb and use Nutrabol.

Sarah x
 

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Well done for changing things around...Sue's advice is excellent.

I have 3 males who have similiar shell deformities.....they are in the region of 10 yrs now...and new growth is excellent since I got them...1 had his first hibernation last year and the other 2 have just gone down for this winter....last years came out of hibernation...a new man.


Stan

Laurel

Stan and Laurel


Albert

Albert


They are also much balcker...than tortos who have lived outside...al were in vivs...

Albert is lightening up a bit now.

Can anyone explain why...sorry for little hijack.....is your blacker too...?
 

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I'd read that colouration in Testudo graeca is temperature dependent - hotter temperatures, paler shells. But that may not apply to all subspecies.
 

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The actual living area is great..all it needs is a bit of refinement and youre sorted!!! .I think its commendable youve asked for help ,sign of a great tort keeper !!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Dam, I just rote a massive reply to you all and my browser crashed, typical!
Ok well thank you so much for the quick replies. I've taken your advice and ordered a sunlamp and nutrobal with many seeds for the winter feeding, from our favourite shelled warriors ebay site! Typically shelledwarriors.com released their on-line store on their own website today, with obviously cheaper prices - but that's just my luck!

I have been bathing/washing CK's shell today and realised that all that actually needs to be done is raise the middle of the shell and deepen the plastron that would make all the scutes fit neatly as they are. So I'm aiming for little protein and high calcium content weeds/plants so the bone and shell can thicken up hight wise with little or no forward/length growth. Anyone know if that process will work so simply? will the shell restore over time or is it permanent, ekk!?
Question for helen2: Was your tort a 'new man' in physical or character terms?
I do believe she was lighter, certainly was last summer when she was out for a good while! The new UV/IR lamp will help I hope, cant wait for the summer and the oppertunity to pimp out a new enclosure in the garden!
So should I be aiming for 50-60% humidity? I do spray the sand daily and hay to encourage a mild microclimate, is that goooood?
Its so exciting learning all this on the road to recovery. I wish I had found this place earlier.....
Cheers all
 
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