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Turtles/sulcata tortise


We have recused a 6-10 year old sulcata (female), found near Dragoon, Az.  We were picked because we have a 26 year old male sulcata.  When we saw her, her back legs just drug behind her, her shell was a little pointed.  we gave her calcium with her hay and lettuce, access to water and now her back legs are starting to work, a little shakey but better.  but now we notice a small split between he portions of her shell.  at first we thought it was shedding of her shell, but it has started to ooze and smelling bad. both turtles have a separate, enclosed habitat with a pig blanket heater on the side for the female.  the termestat is set to 60 degrees inside. the female has a bermuda grass enclosure that measures 12X18 feet. a 2 inch soaking pond is also there.  it measure 3x4 feet. we hope you can help.  i hope it is not shell rot.


Hi Fino,

It's likely to be shell rot, but could also possibly be due to an old, unhealed injury.  I would take her to a good herp vet for diagnosis and treatment, since the oozing and odor indicate a deeper infection and with no health history it's best not to take chances.  It does sound like she is healthier than when you got her, which is a good thing.  Her legs should continue to improve with exercise and time outdoors.  Thank you for doing a good deed and taking care of her!  


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Questions regarding husbandry of Russian tortoises and other Mediterranean species, sulcata, and redfoot tortoises; general tortoise and turtle care; box turtle care. If I can't answer a specific question, I can provide sources for further research. Disclaimer: My advice is not a substitute for vet care. If I think your tortoise/turtle has a specific medical condition or injury that warrants a vet visit, I'll tell you so, and if possible I'll help you locate a vet. It is neither legal nor ethical for me to provide veterinary advice.


I have kept and bred Russian tortoises for over ten years and have other Mediterranean species plus redfoots and box turtles. I've worked with other tortoise and turtle species while doing volunteer rescue work; mostly sulcata but some leopards, California desert tortoises, yellowfoots, all box turtle species, red-eared sliders, etc. I don't personally keep aquatic species, but have access to a wealth of information and research to help you with any questions you might have.

My knowledge is based on hands-on experience keeping, breeding, and working with tortoises and turtles.

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