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Turtles/Sulcata Shell Cracked and raised


My sulcata has a cracked shell and is raised up about 1/2 of an inch.  I am very upset about this.  He get dried grass to eat now, but I rescued him only about six months ago.  He is about 40 pounds and his shell has pyramiding.  So obviously the previous owner did not feed him the proper diet.
What can I do to help him????  PLEASE Let me know ASAP!!!  I am so worried about him!!

Hi Terry,

Can you post a picture of what you mean?  Is there any chance he could have injured himself in some way?  Do you have any other sulcatas?  Pyramiding or MBD can cause all kinds of shell deformities, some of them pretty bad, but I haven't seen actual cracking before.  Generally something like that is an injury--which is why I asked about other sulcatas, because an aggressive male can cause pretty bad shell injuries to other tortoises.  In the meantime, keep him as clean as possible.  I think he'll have to go to the vet, but I'd really like to see a picture so I have a better idea of what's going on.

Getting him on a diet of grasses/hay with some leafy greens is great.  Also make sure he's hydrated--he should have an area to soak in and mud wallows if possible (although for now keep him clean).


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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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