Woodchips - BEWARE

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eisbrecher
Posts: 12
Joined: 27 May 2017, 10:24

Woodchips - BEWARE

Post by eisbrecher » 28 Apr 2018, 19:45

Just passing on information from the vet about wood-chips for tortoises

Torkoal (my horsefield tortoise) has had issues with his front feet
Normally a horsefield tortoises foot (in the wild) plunges nail first into the sand, however wood-chips cannot replicate this due to their size, instead creating a hard mat-like surface to walk on. They end up walking on their nail-tips, which over time bends the foot back.

On the diagram, this leads to the nails/claw to bend back in the direction of Arrow A.

The vet says this is a common thing in smaller tortoises and is caused by them walking on hard surfaces (she was a reptile specialist)

This causes disfigurement of the foot, which would cause pain during it being bent back by the weight of the tortoise on their nail-tips.
The area marked B on the diagram is now an area of bare skin without scales, as the area got stretched due to the foot being bent back (also led to some scales on the opposite side being compressed off

I hope this makes sense, I couldnt word it very well, but I imagine it would be like walking on your tip toes all day every day, eventually you would get some kind of problems due to all your weight on such a small surface area.

I told my mum off (his previous owner) for using wood-chips, now he has playsand/topsoil 50/50 mix
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lin
Posts: 336
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:27

Re: Woodchips - BEWARE

Post by lin » 01 May 2018, 21:12

Hiya, thanks for contacting us with this sad news about your lovely looking tortoises bad experience with the woodchip subatrate. We have always known that sand/soil mix is the best there is but really do feel for tour tortoises sore feet. Your description is spot on and explained perfectly for me to realise how painful it would be.

Thank you so much for sending this in as although not nice for you and your tortoise it will be a huge warning for others, and once read it might go a long way to giving people the choice to make things better for their tortoises.

I must say poor mum :lol: , but well done you for for taking over and hilighting his needs.
Thanks again.

Lin

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