Shell cutting tortoise's leg

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Shell cutting tortoise's leg

Postby Aeries » Sat Aug 08, 2015 4:04 pm

Wasn't able to find anything quite like this when I was searching through the topics.

Has anyone ever had an issue with a normally shaped tortoise shell rubbing on the tortoise's legs while they walk and causing mild irritation to bleeding? In our collection this seems to mostly occur in our adult sized red foots. It may happen about once a year, give or take. These guys are in the 4-5kg range and definitely fit in their shells fine. The tortoises have a 15ftx8ft area with a mulch soil mix, multiple hiding areas, a large basking site and varied terrain. They cohabitate without observed violence and each a diet of dark leafy greens, high protein plants, fruit and about one large rat split between the group a month.

So my questions are, has anyone else experienced this? Is there something that can be done to prevent it?

Thanks!

ImageImage
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Re: Shell cutting tortoise's leg

Postby Tortoise Trust » Sat Aug 08, 2015 6:26 pm

Yes.

Could you possibly post a photo of the affected area?
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Re: Shell cutting tortoise's leg

Postby Stuart » Sun Aug 09, 2015 1:14 pm

I had no idea that redfoots were so omnivorous...
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Re: Shell cutting tortoise's leg

Postby Aeries » Mon Aug 10, 2015 8:26 pm

Image

It's pretty amazing to watch wild red-foots scavenging carcasses. Stomach content analyses report up to 25% animal protein in the wild diet.
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Re: Shell cutting tortoise's leg

Postby Tortoise Trust » Tue Aug 11, 2015 7:30 pm

This problem is caused by lack of wear in captivity. It is related to the problems many animals with keratin claws/hoofs/beaks get in captivity where the "wear and tear" that occurs in the wild does not happen - the result is that some "shell edges" get overgrown and rather sharp. You see the problem on limbs, and on necks and sometimes the head.

The wild is a tough place and they are constantly abrading and wearing off keratin. New keratin grows to replace it.

Also, the edges of the shell (front and back) just do not wear down smooth as they would in the wild.

Solution: Tortoise 'manicure'

Sharp edges need to be abraded, gently, over time. As a temporary measure, you can fix some strong adhesive wound tape over the area causing the injuries - change regularly and keep on abrading the edge...

I have used Dremel tools for this, but do not do so unless experienced.
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Re: Shell cutting tortoise's leg

Postby Aeries » Tue Aug 11, 2015 10:04 pm

Thank you Andy! I appreciate it!
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