Plastron

Post your pictures and any questions here of European tortoises e.g. Ibera Spur Thigh, Ibera Graeca, Marginated, Hermanns, Kleinmanni and we include the Horsfield tortoise. Also, do add pictures of Mediterranean tortoises you have seen in the wild.
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Bobbers
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Plastron

Post by Bobbers » 21 Nov 2018, 09:35

Hi I have a Horsfields about a year old . Had it 3 weeks and seems fine walks about well and eats well Its got a Zoomed powersun 100w bulb about 3 months old . i bought it as a companion when i inherited a poorly dehydrtaed and soft sheeled one from next door . Despite a £214 vets bill the first one sadly died. So 'Parsnip' remains. Now my concern when i gentlt press his plastron there is a small amount of movement towards the rear end. Only a very small movement but it does impress very slightly. Rest of the shell seems fine eyes bright and all ok. Is this normal or do i need to worry?

Bobbers
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Re: Plastron

Post by Bobbers » 21 Nov 2018, 09:58

Ive added a picture[attachment=0]plast1.jpg[/attachment][attachment=1]Iparsnipbask.jpg[/attachment][attachment=2]IMG_20181119_115944_resized_20181119_120032788 (1).jpg[/attachment]
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Nina
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Re: Plastron

Post by Nina » 21 Nov 2018, 10:25

Hi Bobbers and thanks for contacting us. It's difficult to say whether your tortoise has a shell problem, without seeing it in person, but I do understand your concern, given the bad experience you had with the other tortoise -- and I am so sorry to hear about that, as it must have been a terrible time for you.

There is sometimes a little give when you press on the plastron, especially on a very young tortoise, but it shouldn't really be soft. Does the tortoise have a regular calcium and D3 supplement sprinkled on its food, like Nutrobal? With a young tortoise I would sprinkle a little of it on wet leaves, flowers etc. every day (it sticks better to the food if it is wet). The UVB lamp you have is good, and that will enable your tortoise to utilise the calcium in its diet, but he does need to have a calcium supplement.

For peace of mind, I suppose that you could take him for a check-up, but do be sure that your vet has expertise in treating reptiles ('exotics') as many ordinary vets don't have experience with many reptiles, including tortoises (we have a list of recommended vets on our website).

While I was typing this I saw the photo you posted. He is small, and just from looking his plastron looks fine, but of course I can't tell if it is soft or not from a photo (he does look very sweet though!). Hopefully someone else will come in with some more advice.

Sorry I couldn't be more definite, but please let us know how you get on.

Nina

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Nina
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Re: Plastron

Post by Nina » 21 Nov 2018, 10:32

P.S. Sorry, have just seen the other photos too. It's a really nice looking table you've got for him, so well done!

The only thing I might change is the wood chip. Horsfields are burrowing tortoises and they like nothing better than to burrow down into a soil-based substrate. A mixture of sterilised topsoil and children's playsand is best (both can be bought at garden centres or places like B&Q), and you can mix them 50/50, or if you prefer then a slightly higher percentage of topsoil to playsand.

The bark chips aren't terrible, but they aren't great for digging into (and you want a substrate that is deep enough for him to completely bury himself if he wants to). In the wild they live on a sandy soil substrate, so this is most natural for them. There is also a slight danger that if the bark chips get wet and stay a bit wet (from a spill from a water bowl or wee) then mould spores can grow. Another danger is that if your lamp blows (which is unlikely but sometimes happens) and hot pieces of glass fall down onto the substrate then there is a fire risk.

All of these are unlikely to happen, but they do on occasion, so a topsoil/playsand substrate is best. And you just give it a light spray every day to keep it from getting dusty.

Cheers,
Nina

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lin
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Re: Plastron

Post by lin » 21 Nov 2018, 11:08

Hiya.
Adding to what Nina has said if you are refering to the plate that is just above the tail on the plastron has a bit of movement, then it is ok to have a little 'give' there, its quite normal. Providing he is eating a varied weed diet and not shop bought wet greens, running around normally, bathing added calcuim and suppliments. I can see him growing up to be a strong little one.
I also agree with Nina that he would feel and be better if the substrate was adjusted to childrens playsand (not builders or beach sand) and a steralised topsoil - he will thank you for it.
He is an adorable little one and I love the name ;)

Lin

Bobbers
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Re: Plastron

Post by Bobbers » 21 Nov 2018, 11:15

Thanks Nina and Lin

I would say the plastron does give rather than is soft so will monitor it. really our best exotic vet is at Brighton (not on your list) and its an hours drive away. I think you saying it shoul have alittle bit of give is a good decrition of the situation. He has weeds but doesnt seem to like them so much as kale and Lambs lettuce and i sprinkle on Komodo tortoise boost. He has cuttle fish but wonttouch it Yes the substrate is next on the list! Thanks for your reply much appreciated
Bob

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lin
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Re: Plastron

Post by lin » 21 Nov 2018, 11:21

Hi Bob.
He has to come away from the shop boughts. If you find a nice dandelion leaf, just one, and wet it then cut it up small and mix it with a little of what you are giving him what would have already been wet. They will stick to each other and he will get some dandelion. Keep doing this daily for a few weeks, and when he starts eating it normally then add a bit more dandelion. Where is also still plantain growing and plenty of other treats for those stubborn ones that thing shop bought is the best thing since sliced bread.
Good luck and dont be afraid to come back with more questions.

Lin

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Nina
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Re: Plastron

Post by Nina » 21 Nov 2018, 11:40

Hi Bob,

I've googled Komodo Tortoise Boost and can't find anything, so could you just check the name? It's just that I wanted to see the ingredients to see what the calcium and vitamin D3 content is, as it's really important for tortoises to have a high calcium intake to support their growing shells and bones (and when you think about it -- they are mostly shell and bone!).

And Lin is right -- food like lamb's lettuce is easy 'wet' food and although it is fine as part of a wider diet, it shouldn't form a major part. Tortoise's can be really stubborn about changes in their diet, but in case it's of any use, here's a link to our article on our website about introducing a healthier diet: https://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/tor ... _VDmeKYS9s

That is great that you have found a good exotics vet. If you feel you can recommend them, we'd be grateful if you could let us know the name of the practice so that we can add it to our list.

He really is a lovely little tortoise, and I think he is going to have a good home with you.

Nina

Bobbers
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Re: Plastron

Post by Bobbers » 21 Nov 2018, 14:17

Hi Nina

Pics of Komodo boost attached wierdly its not on ther web site! Now this is all confusing as I was merrily feeding him dandelions but then read thsea are only in moderation on the database wheras Lamps lettuse is good to go! This morning I got some bristly ox tongue there are loads of weeds along a drainage stream where i live its just finding for sure what is right amongst the conflcting info and then identifying it !![attachment=0]kom3.jpg[/attachment][attachment=1]Kom2.jpg[/attachment][attachment=2]kom1.jpg[/attachment]
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Nina
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Re: Plastron

Post by Nina » 21 Nov 2018, 15:25

Thanks for the pics! Yes, I looked at their website just now and it's not on there, so maybe they have discontinued it. It does have D3 and calcium, so probably OK for him, but I think I would definitely use it every other day, and on the alternate days use something with a higher calcium content like limestone flour (you can get it from horsefeed suppliers, or places like Countrywide, I think). It's a white powder that is just powdered limestone. Or even better yet, you can buy pure calcium carbonate (food grade) on the internet quite cheaply and it lasts a long time, and that would be good too. If you have trouble finding any of these, let me know and we'll find somewhere for you. I see they have it on the Shelled Warriors shop -- it's a kilo which will last you forever, but there is free postage. Do check and see if they sell smaller quantities though https://www.shelledwarriorsshop.co.uk/1 ... 3038-p.asp

Re the lambs lettuce and dandelion -- oh dear, our hands are up as you are right, that is very confusing! If I can try to clarify (lol, which I probably can't), the lamb's lettuce has a green traffic light because there are no harmful properties in it and so it is safe to feed as part of a wide and varied diet. Dandelions have more nourishment in them than lamb's lettuce, but they also have some oxalates so we gave them an amber-green light -- but really as far as feeding is concerned I would say they are the same and both should be fed along with as many other types of safe plants as possible, but dandelions are probably a bit better. Yes, but still confusing, I hear you say!

One interesting fact is that in the wild, most species of tortoise are said to consume over 200 different species of plant in any one season. Of course we can't replicate this in captivity, but we can do our best to ensure that they get as wide a variety of plants as possible, and that no one or two plants form the majority of their diet. Sometimes we have a plant listed as a 'don't feed' or 'feed sparingly', and people say that in the wild tortoises are known to eat that plant. But that plant in the wild will form a small percentage of the total plant intake of a tortoise, whereas in captivity with a total of fewer plants fed then that plant will form a higher percentage of the diet, and that is why we usually err on the side of caution in our recommendations, as we don't know how much of a plant anyone is feeding to their tortoise.

Sorry to have gone on at such length (you've probably nodded off twice by the time you reached this sentence)!

Nina

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Nina
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Re: Plastron

Post by Nina » 21 Nov 2018, 16:05

Oh dear -- sorry, but I only looked at the nutrients in my last post (calcium, Vit D3, etc.).

I've just looked at the list of ingredients, and it's not great. Cereals aren't good because they tend to be too high in starch, vegetables (unspecified which veg, so don't know if they are good ones or not), fruit (shouldn't be fed to a species like Horsfields), and sugars which definitely shouldn't be fed. I'm sure the fruit and sugars are in small quantities, so no great harm done, but the reason we don't feed fruit to Horsfields is that like the other Mediterranean species their digestive systems don't cope well with the natural sugars in fruit and it can affect their gut flora. Also, the protein content at 12% isn't terrible, but it isn't wonderful either (tortoises should have a low protein/high fibre diet. So all in all I don't think you will do him great harm by giving him a little of this every now and then, but I would definitely get another supplement, like Nutrobal, for the future.

Nina

Bobbers
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Re: Plastron

Post by Bobbers » 21 Nov 2018, 22:45

Many thanks for the detailed replies ! Will get the supplement you suggest . Sand and soil purchased and being dried overnight ! Update tomorrow . Thanks again

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Nina
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Re: Plastron

Post by Nina » 21 Nov 2018, 22:55

That's great Bob! The fact that you are so willing to make changes indicates to me that you have your tortoise's best interests at heart, and that you're going to be a great tortoise keeper. Do keep us updated, and I'd love to see a photo of your set-up with the new substrate and hear how he likes it (fingers crossed that it's a hit with him!).

Nina

Bobbers
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Re: Plastron

Post by Bobbers » 22 Nov 2018, 09:58

ok soil and sand in ...hes not happy keeps going back to bark in the den! Nettles and Bristly ox tongue on todays menu![attachment=0]IMG_20181122_092052_resized_20181122_092620324.jpg[/attachment][attachment=1]IMG_20181122_092047_resized_20181122_092619448.jpg[/attachment]
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Nina
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Re: Plastron

Post by Nina » 22 Nov 2018, 11:21

Aww, bless -- and he looks so sweet in his bath. It might take him a bit of time to get used to the sand/soil, but believe me he will like it eventualy and it is much closer to what he would have in the wild, and what he would dig in. Young tortoises, and all tortoises at this time of year do sleep a lot -- so keep the lighting as bright as possible (to mimic a bright summer's day), and that should help. And please let us know if he does take to the sand/soil mixture (it certainly looks nice!

Nina

Bobbers
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Re: Plastron

Post by Bobbers » 25 Nov 2018, 14:10

Now the soil has warmed up hes exploring as normal. starngely he hasnt dug at all in the soil but did in the bark!

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Nina
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Re: Plastron

Post by Nina » 25 Nov 2018, 14:36

Whew, glad that he's exploring again! Don't worry -- he will dig. Tortoises are wary of changes, but he will get used to it and I'm sure will dig in -- probably in his sleeping area, but maybe elsewhere too. Are you happy with the new substrate? I think it is much easier for spot cleaning than bark, which is nice for the keeper.

Nina

Bobbers wrote:
> Now the soil has warmed up hes exploring as normal. starngely he hasnt dug
> at all in the soil but did in the bark!

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