These guys need a very highly specialized diet. You can’t just cut up hot dogs and throw it in your tank, you can’t just give him bits of shrimp or bits of hamburger. Although they might eat it, that’s not what they need to be nice and healthy. What they do need is specialized pellets, specialized foods, they need a wide variety. These guys love to eat greens like fruits and vegetables. Having a healthy diet is the first step of having a nice, happy, healthy turtle and also knowing what they need— A turtle like this is going to need something around a 60- to 80-gallon aquarium all to himself. Now I’m going to begin talking to you guys a little bit about a couple common health issues that could develop with your young tortoises. So today we’re going to be looking at a sulcata tortoise. This is one of my personal animals, and when I received her as a rescue, she was suffering from several common health problems.
Raised Pyramid Growths
So as we get a nice close look at our tortoise’s shell, the first thing that you’re going to notice is these raised pyramid growths here. This is actually caused by a lack of humidity during the formative years, and can be remedied by providing them a moist hide area that they can go into in order to gain that extra humidity and they’ve actually found by providing that humidity during younger years of development and growth, you can greatly reduce the presence of these pyramids.
Metabolic Bone Disease
Now, the second medical thing we want to take a look at here is a condition known as MBD, or metabolic bone disease and that is a softening of the bones due to a lack of calcium or the inability to absorb the calcium they take in their diet. The softening of the bones can actually lead to a number of different shell deformities. You’re notice along here, the center line where the shell is actually pulled in as well as the indent here on the side of the shell. This was caused because the soft tissues actually pulled in and deformed the shell because the bones weren’t hard enough.
Now this can be solved by providing our tortoise’s access to ultraviolet light which they need to use to produce vitamin D3. That vitamin actually helps allow them to absorb calcium into their diet and calcify their bones. This can be provided by either giving them access to direct sunlight If you’re not able to do that due to your climate and you have to keep them indoors, you’ll need to provide it artificially using UV light fixtures or by giving them extra calcium powder that has vitamin D3 added to it. Now, if you do plan on getting tortoises as a pet, please make sure to do a lot of research for those species specifically, because their dietary concerns and other habitat things like temperature and the humidity can vary species to species.