HELP!! IS MY TORTOISE OKAY?

Use this forum to discuss general questions about any aspects of tortoise care.
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Zbutcher
Posts: 5
Joined: 04 Sep 2021, 01:58

HELP!! IS MY TORTOISE OKAY?

Post by Zbutcher » 04 Sep 2021, 02:01

Hey everyone, I am really worried. I have a baby hermanns tortoise and it is currently house with another baby.

I notice on the one he has some flaking of a scale or skin next to his nose or something. Does anyone know what this is? Should I be worried?

Any advice is greatly appreciated
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Nina
Posts: 1577
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: HELP!! IS MY TORTOISE OKAY?

Post by Nina » 04 Sep 2021, 09:13

Hi Zbutcher and welcome to the Forum.

I can't quite see the scale you are referring to, but I am sure this is nothing to worry about. There are two possible causes of a scale or a bit of skin coming off:

1. Tortoises don't have elastic skin as humans do, so as they grow their skin gradually comes off and new skin is underneath (snakes shed their skin all in one piece, but tortoises do it in pieces). You will see this much more on the back legs as your tortoise grows, with bits of skin hanging off, but don't ever be tempted to pull it off -- just let it fall off naturally. In the head area it tends to be individual scales, and they don't come off quite as often.
2. Tortoises do occasionally have individual scales come off the head area if they have rubbed too hard against something (crawling under something low that rubs their head, etc.) It shouldn't be a problem, unless you actually see blood, and then you should cleanse it carefully. The other thing is if two tortoises get into a bit of a fight, but I think yours is probably too young for that, and injuries inflicted by another tortoise are most often on the legs.

So I wouldn't worry at all, but do keep an eye on the place where the scale/skin is missing and if it looks like it is getting infected let us know.

He does look like a very sweet tortoise! I see you've posted your question twice, so I'll post something in your other thread to let you know that I've replied to this one.

Nina

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Nina
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Re: HELP!! IS MY TORTOISE OKAY?

Post by Nina » 04 Sep 2021, 09:33

P.S to my post above, but It just occurred to me, looking again at your photo -- what are you using for a substrate in your enclosure? It looks like it might be some sort of wood chip (but it's a bit blurry, so I could be wrong), and it's possible that your tortoise has rubbed his nose against that when trying to dig in, and that has caused a scale to come off.

I might not be seeing it correctly, but if it is wood chip or something similar, then it would be better to change to a soil-based substrate (a mixture of ordinary topsoil and children's play sand (bags of which can be bought at garden centres and DIY shops), as that is not only more natura for them, but it also isn't a fire hazard like wood chips are (in case a bulb blows and hot pieces of glass fall down).

If you send us a photo of your enclosure we might be able to make some suggestions. In the meantime, here is a link to a care sheet for Hermann's in case you don't already have one (and many apologies if I interpreted the photo incorrectly!). https://www.tortoise-protection-group.o ... 014New.pdf

Nina

CritterMama
Posts: 29
Joined: 21 Mar 2021, 13:43

Re: HELP!! IS MY TORTOISE OKAY?

Post by CritterMama » 04 Sep 2021, 19:24

Zbutcher wrote:
> Hey everyone, I am really worried. I have a baby hermanns tortoise and it
> is currently house with another baby.
>
> I notice on the one he has some flaking of a scale or skin next to his nose
> or something. Does anyone know what this is? Should I be worried?
>
> Any advice is greatly appreciated

Hello Zbutcher. I also have a baby Hermann's (named Scoot - he's adorable!). Your pictures looked oddly familiar, so I sorted through the (thousand) pics I've taken of mine and isolated this one which I've zoomed in on. Not sure, but based on what Nina said, maybe it's one of these little scales on the end of his snout that has come off? Is that a face or what? 😁

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Critter Mama

One Husband, one Bearded Dragon, one Panther Chameleon, one Labrador Retriever, and now a baby Hermann's Tortoise!

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Nina
Posts: 1577
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: HELP!! IS MY TORTOISE OKAY?

Post by Nina » 04 Sep 2021, 22:42

It's an adorable face! And we have two adorable tortoises in one thread on the forum -- makes my day!

Nina

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Nina
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Re: HELP!! IS MY TORTOISE OKAY?

Post by Nina » 05 Sep 2021, 12:48

Hi again,

Someone has just suggested to me that it could possibly be a dehydration issue, as sometimes when a tortoise is dehydrated it causes skin to flake and peel soon that it ordinarily would. Very small tortoises can dehydrate quickly under lights indoors, so even though you probably have a water dish in there for him, it is a good idea to bathe him every other day (and if he is dehydrated then do it every day) in warm water that comes up to where his top shell meets his bottom shell (or his chin), in a container that he can't see out of, like an old washing up bowl.

One sign of dehydration is to check his urates (the white stuff that often comes out when he wees). If they are runny or very soft, like toothpaste, then he is reasonably well hydrated, but if they are lumpy, gritty, sandy or hard then it means that he's dehydrated so increase the baths, and also feed him his leaves, flowers, etc. wet, as that will get a bit of water into him too.

What is the temperature directly under his heat source and at the height of his shell?

Nina

Zbutcher
Posts: 5
Joined: 04 Sep 2021, 01:58

Re: HELP!! IS MY TORTOISE OKAY?

Post by Zbutcher » 05 Sep 2021, 15:04

Nina wrote:
> Hi Zbutcher and welcome to the Forum.
>
> I can't quite see the scale you are referring to, but I am sure this is
> nothing to worry about. There are two possible causes of a scale or a bit
> of skin coming off:
>
> 1. Tortoises don't have elastic skin as humans do, so as they grow their
> skin gradually comes off and new skin is underneath (snakes shed their skin
> all in one piece, but tortoises do it in pieces). You will see this much
> more on the back legs as your tortoise grows, with bits of skin hanging
> off, but don't ever be tempted to pull it off -- just let it fall off
> naturally. In the head area it tends to be individual scales, and they
> don't come off quite as often.
> 2. Tortoises do occasionally have individual scales come off the head area
> if they have rubbed too hard against something (crawling under something
> low that rubs their head, etc.) It shouldn't be a problem, unless you
> actually see blood, and then you should cleanse it carefully. The other
> thing is if two tortoises get into a bit of a fight, but I think yours is
> probably too young for that, and injuries inflicted by another tortoise are
> most often on the legs.
>
> So I wouldn't worry at all, but do keep an eye on the place where the
> scale/skin is missing and if it looks like it is getting infected let us
> know.
>
> He does look like a very sweet tortoise! I see you've posted your question
> twice, so I'll post something in your other thread to let you know that
> I've replied to this one.
>
> Nina

Hey Nina thanks for the PM.

I was wondering why I wasn't getting notified.

Okay sounds good I won't worry. I really hope it comes off and it's just a normal thing!

Zbutcher
Posts: 5
Joined: 04 Sep 2021, 01:58

Re: HELP!! IS MY TORTOISE OKAY?

Post by Zbutcher » 05 Sep 2021, 15:06

Nina wrote:
> P.S to my post above, but It just occurred to me, looking again at your
> photo -- what are you using for a substrate in your enclosure? It looks
> like it might be some sort of wood chip (but it's a bit blurry, so I could
> be wrong), and it's possible that your tortoise has rubbed his nose against
> that when trying to dig in, and that has caused a scale to come off.
>
> I might not be seeing it correctly, but if it is wood chip or something
> similar, then it would be better to change to a soil-based substrate (a
> mixture of ordinary topsoil and children's play sand (bags of which can be
> bought at garden centres and DIY shops), as that is not only more natura
> for them, but it also isn't a fire hazard like wood chips are (in case a
> bulb blows and hot pieces of glass fall down).
>
> If you send us a photo of your enclosure we might be able to make some
> suggestions. In the meantime, here is a link to a care sheet for Hermann's
> in case you don't already have one (and many apologies if I interpreted the
> photo incorrectly!).
> https://www.tortoise-protection-group.o ... 014New.pdf
>
> Nina


Hey Nina you are spot on!

Wow really?! That's disappointing the pet store told me the forest floor was the best stuff for him. So I should get some sand and soil mixture?

Zbutcher
Posts: 5
Joined: 04 Sep 2021, 01:58

Re: HELP!! IS MY TORTOISE OKAY?

Post by Zbutcher » 05 Sep 2021, 15:08

CritterMama wrote:
> Zbutcher wrote:
> > Hey everyone, I am really worried. I have a baby hermanns tortoise and it
> > is currently house with another baby.
> >
> > I notice on the one he has some flaking of a scale or skin next to his nose
> > or something. Does anyone know what this is? Should I be worried?
> >
> > Any advice is greatly appreciated
>
> Hello Zbutcher. I also have a baby Hermann's (named Scoot - he's adorable!). Your
> pictures looked oddly familiar, so I sorted through the (thousand) pics I've taken of
> mine and isolated this one which I've zoomed in on. Not sure, but based on what Nina
> said, maybe it's one of these little scales on the end of his snout that has come
> off? Is that a face or what? 😁
>
> DSCN3401 - cropped.JPG


Hey there,

Yeah it is definitely one of those scales around that area! What does it mean if it is?

User avatar
Nina
Posts: 1577
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: HELP!! IS MY TORTOISE OKAY?

Post by Nina » 05 Sep 2021, 15:26

Hi, and glad you've seen the responses.

Regarding the substrate. Ahh, I thought it was just wood chips. Forest Floor won't be terrible, and you could use the bag up, but try and mix it with some topsoil and sand to give a more natural substrate for him. If you buy a bag of ordinary screened topsoil and a bag of children's play sand (don't use builder's sand) and mix them either 50/50 or with a higher percentage of soil (like 60/40 or 70/30) that will be much more natural for him. And then you spray it lightly every couple of days to keep it from getting dusty.

Did you see my post wondering whether he might be dehydrated, and explaining how to tell if he is dehydrated? Have a look at that one above and see what you think.

Also, was the link to the care sheet any use to you?

If you want to send us a photo of his enclosure (is he in a tortoise table or a vivarium?), we can have a look and just check that the pet shop didn't give you any other bad advice.

Nina

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