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Pyramiding.. The answer!! I think..

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Posted by: GPZO at Sat May 26 19:42:42 2012  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by GPZO ]  
   

First let me say that I am not an expert on tortoises or their nutrition. Im just a guy who would REALLY like to see an end to pyramiding and a beginning to healthy tortoises in captivity. Please read this at your discretion.

It is my honest opinion that pyramiding is the result of one or more factors ultimately leading to kidney damage.

Tortoises have weak kidneys. This, we know.

Any excess toxins can cause kidney damage and reduced metabolic processes. Anything from toxic plants to dehydration could cause this and lead to rapid or increased cell death and resulting in an excess of keratin growth. We see this type of keratin growth in humans with anorexia. The hair falls out of their head but grows rapidly on the body. Nail growth increases as well. Due, again, to rapid cell death from a lack of nutrients. Damaged kidneys reduce an animals metabolic ability and cause nutritional deficiencies. It is widely accepted that pyramiding is caused by, none other than, nutritional deficiency, but still we see it in animals that are well fed. Clearly, it must be internal. I do not believe that ambient humidity has ANYTHING to do with it. One of the defining characteristics of a reptile is waterproof skin.

Here is a list of potential dangers to tortoise kidneys:

- Dehydration. They need to drink almost every day. Dehydration equals kidney damage. Even in humans. This is the most important factor. Many tortoise owners do not even offer water on a regular basis and wonder why their animal is deformed or unhealthy.

- Proteins. Excess proteins flood the system and act like toxins. Many native plant species have high protein. I believe that protein is the LEAST contributing factor to pyramiding but can be exasperated by dehydration.

- Toxins. Its thought that some specific plants can be toxic to tortoises, such as spinach, cabbage, rhubarb and beets. These plants contain toxins called Oxalate and Thiocyanates which could potentially damage kidneys.

- Sugars. Too much sugar can act like a toxin and overwhelm the kidneys causing damage. Sweet fruits should be highly limited. Especially in young animals.

So.. Make fresh drinking water available at ALL times. Avoid feeding excess proteins, toxic plants, and only give fruits once in a while as a treat and in small quantities.

The answer: Water. And grass. Period.

At the moment I have two neonate sulcatas on this diet. I am feeding zoomed grassland 5 days a week and allowing some dandelions, escarole, and clover.. but only on the weekends we will see how they turn out as time goes on. Although, I am guardedly optimistic. Fell free to send me a post message if you would like to discuss the topic further.

Good luck to everyone and god bless,
Jason


   

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>> Next Message:  RE: Pyramiding.. The answer!! I think.. - emysbreeder, Sun May 27 00:38:38 2012 image in post
>> Next Message:  RE: Pyramiding.. The answer!! I think.. - kingsnake100, Mon May 28 16:12:46 2012
>> Next Message:  RE: Pyramiding.. The answer!! I think.. - GPZO, Wed May 30 10:27:33 2012