Help, George's shell is broken - Paw Talk - Pet Forums
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-21-2005, 01:20 PM Thread Starter
 
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Help, George's shell is broken

My 1 year old box turtle lost a little piece of his shell yesterday. I was holding him, and stroking his shell. The edge of it just chipped off like a fingernail. He hasn't had any problems like this before. I think it's probably due to him missing something in his diet, but I'm not sure what. I give him a fairly varied diet: bananas, turkey baby food, commercial turtle food, crushed egg shells, cooked carrots, peas and once in a while a little piece of lettuce. What else should I give him, or what should I not be giving him. I do not give him iceberg lettuce, by the way, but romaine or red leaf.
Here's a pic I just took of it.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-21-2005, 01:35 PM Thread Starter
 
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Oops

Okay, well I can't get the attachment to be the right size, so I can't post the picture. But any help or advice would be wonderful. THanks.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-21-2005, 02:43 PM
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It's hard to tell just from the description what is exactly going on with George's shell, but if you think it's diet related, I can give you a couple of suggestions. I don't know your turtle husbandry at all, so these are just some basics.

I have tortoises, (Leopard and Sulcata) so their diet is a good bit different from a Box. There are, however some things in common that you should be aware of. In all reptiles, Calcium is very important. It has alot to do with the fact that they need Vitamin D3 in order to metabolise it. And in order to manufacture Vitamin D3, they need to be exposed to powerful UV (ie, the sun). Glass absorbs UV to some degree, so through windows or through aquarium glass decreases the amount usable to them. Commercial reptile bulbs are so some help, but studies have shown that they are of limited benefit. The ones we use in the zoo are so close to sunlight that they come with warnings to limit human exposure (just like the sun!).

You can give your fella a couple things to help.
1) You can give him more direct sunlight, of course, don't let him get overheated. A couple of hours/week would be a help.

2) You can supplement his diet with Vitamin D3. this is available in many reptile vitamins. Dust his food in it once a week or so and that will help alot.

3) You might cut back on his fruit a bit. Most fruits are low in calcium and some (like bananas) are high in phosphorus. His overall Calcium to Phosphorus ratio should stay in the 1:1 or 2:1 area. When I treat my guys like that, I chop up some organic dandelion greens and mix them up with the banana. They are high in calcium so it evens it out.

Lots of resources on the net, or I (or I'm sure others here) can answer more specific questions you have.

Cheers



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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-21-2005, 04:19 PM
 
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ok, is his shell hard or soft? if it is soft, it would be probably lack of calcium, i don not know what would be wrong if it is still hard. neway, i suggest bringing him to a vet, that knows turtles!
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-21-2005, 05:02 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for your help. He is a hard shell. He seems pretty content other than that. I haven't been giving him as many eggshells, so I will probably pick up a cuttlebone and put that in his cage. I will also work on not giving him as much fruit. Any websites that you can think of for resources would be great.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-22-2005, 08:20 AM
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The is Melissa Kaplan's site:
http://www.anapsid.org/mainchelonians.html

She is well known on the internet for good info.

Hope this helps...



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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-23-2005, 12:32 AM
 
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www.boxturtlesite.org and www.aboxturtle.com are both useful. Also, try Yahoo Groups. Groups are invaluable when you are a reptile owner.

With any pet, but especially with reptiles, it is important to get your information from as many sources as possible. Every "expert" is bound to have a different way of doing things and the only way for you to decide what is best for George is to become as informed on his care as possible. Believe me, it makes it a lot easier!

It sounds like you are doing an above average job already. Mygala has offered some great advice as well.

Box turtles are really not that easy to take care of. I'm not sure exactly what species you have but I do know that most North American varieties appreciate a high amount of humidity. Insufficient amounts of humidity can cause a variety of metabolic problems and it can also affect shell quality.

Like has been said before, dietary issues are another chief cause of shell problems as well as insufficient UVB.

When you say a piece chipped off though, unless it has exposed any flesh underneath I wouldn't be too worried. Turtles often suffer from shell accidents and are surprisingly adept at overcoming them. Just make sure you keep the area clean and be careful with George in the future since he seems to be rather fragile.

A photo would do very well to help understand exactly what happened to George. You should be able to rescale the photo in any editing software on your computer -- you should have something. Microsoft Photo Editor comes with XP if you have that. Open the picture in the default editor and under "image" usually there is a command called "resize." Resize the picture until it can be viewed at 100% in your browser without having to scroll and this should be sufficient. Choose the "save as" command to save it without having to change your original.

If you are still worried about George or if the shell damage appears worse than I assumed then you should take him to a vet with experience with reptiles.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-23-2005, 10:21 AM Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for all your help. Okay, I finally got a picture to work. It's a little blurry, sorry. His shell doesn't seem to have exposed any flesh underneath. He is a Western Box, by the way. I will check out the websites you listed and also look for some yahoo groups. THanks again for all your help. George says thanks too Hee Hee
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-23-2005, 11:05 AM
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That doesn't look to worrisome to me. It appears to be a raised area on the edge there so it could have been exposed to physical damage. Without doing more damage I would examine the area around the chip to make sure the surrounding shell is not loose. If it is, I'd use a little adhesive to keep it from getting looser. I would think Super Glue (or some other cyanoacrylate glue) would work okay for a small spot like that. Our vet has used epoxies for major shell damage on rehab turtles brought in.

It sounds like elfomatic has more experience than me with boxes, so I would defer to him(her?) on the general condition of the shell. But it doesn't look like there is evidence of Metabolic Bone Disease. That's a very good thing. Not much there to reference size either, but from the picture, it looks good sized for a 1yr old box. A good idea when taking pictures like that for the internet is to put a penny or nickel next to the animal to help reference size.

Sounds like you have everything under control. Thats great!

Regards.



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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-25-2005, 08:29 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks

Thanks for all your info. I will try taking another picture of him with a nickel next to him. I'm still new to this whole forum thing, so all the advice is very helpful.
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box turtle, dandelion greens, metabolic bone disease


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