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Turtles/Reeves turtle restoration


I recently got two reeves turtles to add to our family, and we love them like they have always been with us. The eldest "Simon James Alexander Ragsdale the third" was a rescue (3 years before we got him) that said he is happy and healthy. My question is what can I do to help him restore his shell? While it is pitted and coarse, he eats great and is happy and playful and doesn't care, apparently. We all think his shell looks awesome, I just feel like he should be pampered for the rest of his long life to make up for the foul humans he encountered. I've been warned away from Vitashell. Thanks and happy new year!

Hi Matt,

Congratulations on your new turtles!  Shell deformities and damage are, unfortunately, permanent.  There is nothing you can do to repair or restore his shell.  Vitashell should be avoided because the shell is living tissue and using creams, oils, etc. on it will just clog it up.  If the pitting is fairlly superficial, it's possible that shedding the scutes over time will reduce the pits, but I honestly don't know if it will eliminate them entirely, and from what I've read Reeve's don't shed all that much.  If it makes you feel any better, most avid turtle and tortoise keepers have at least a few rescues, and some of them can look pretty bad indeed.  But it's character that counts, right?  Good luck and enjoy your turtles!


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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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