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   Tortoise Handbook   

  The common problems are:
   1) Grows too fast due to over feed
   2) Lack of room and sunlight due to indoor living environment
   3) Pyramiding due to lack of calcium and too much protein

  Rocky suffered pyramiding when he was living indoor.    We moved to a rooftop apartment in June 2000.
  My tortoises grow healthy in a better environment.
  The pyramiding problem is improving and the color of the carapace changes lighter as well


Carapace :
The lack of calcium from the shell results in conical shell scutes, AKA pyramiding.  
Greater reductions in calcium will cause a soft shell and will kill a tortoise.


Skin :
The skin is thick and well blended into the shell.
Be careful of any cut or infections on the skin.


Nose :
The most common symptom of coolness is runny or bubbly nose.   Try to keep the tortoise in a warm home and clean-up the nose with dry towel.   If the respiratory problem goes worse, must visit a veterinarian.

Rocky has clean, dry noses.   His eyes are big and round.


Eye :
Runny eyes, dry eyes, eyes chesses and eyes can't open are common symptom on eye problems.   Clean the eyes with vitamin A & D oil capsule.   If the temperature is too hot, tortoise cries to keep the eyes wet.


Mouth :
A over-bit mouth should be ground with a fine grindstone.   Don't feed with small and soft food.   Tortoise needs to bite the food to prevent the jaw grows too fast.


Food :
Soaked dry grasses, weeds, carrots and mustard greens are main food for tortoise.
Sprinkling the food with crashed egg shells as calcium supplement once a week.



   How to tell the gender ?


Geochelone Sulcata
is a  giant African
Spur-thigh tortoise
has a flat carapace.
The shape of the
shell is rectangular.
It is hard to tell the
sex before 3 years old.


Male :
Males have a
slightly concave
plastron, elongated
slightly larger
gular scutes
(the front part of
the plastron).
Mature males gular
scutes could be
strongly, widely
recurved and
flared at the
periphery to lift
the rear of the
females carapace
when mating.  
Visually, the
carapaces of the
males tend to
become more
elongate with
growth while those
of the females
become more rotund.
Males have slightly
|longer thinker tails
and the body size is generally larger.
Female :
Female have a
shorter gular
scutes at the
front carapace.
The tails are also
shorter compared
with the males

        * The first two photos are originated from www.chelonia.org  

Rocky always eat back his feces and this habit keeps me busy on cleaning his territory.
One day, he passed out his penis when he discharged.
I was shocked and confirmed he is a BOY !

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