Page 1 of 1

Retained scutes or permanent shell damage?

PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2019 2:20 am
by cheesyturtle
This turtle had not shed for more than 10 years (I was a child then, never knew turtles needed sun or heat) and earlier in the year she just shedded some of her really ancient scutes when I brought her out in the sun. Since then, there has not been much progress in terms of scutes shedding. The newly grown shell is pretty and healthy, but the retained scutes seemed to have fused with the new healthy scutes? There is no sign of peeling or cracking from the old scutes on top. Could it be some kind of permanent damage?




Another turtle seems to be shedding, albeit a bit slow, and he hasn't got the obvious colour difference like his pal.


They are on a Mazuri and Koi wheatgerm diet. They don't quite like the heat - only bask for 4-5 hours straight under the lamp every 2 days. Nothing more than that. So some times I have to 'manually' bask them in the sun.

Any thoughts would be welcome, thank you :D

Re: Retained scutes or permanent shell damage?

PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2019 4:28 am
by litefoot
Is this one of the same turtles that had the fungus back in December ? He did shed some but a very poor shed. Keratin layer came off "very" thin and still has pieces on his shell in his photo. Adjust his diet more and habitat. His pal yes trying to shed but still see some fungus and algae on the shell to. I would retreat both if in the same tank , it's contagious and spreads. Then clean tank well the spores are still in the tank !
Seen this happen in a few turtles at the center. Best you can do is keep using those foods but offer a "more" balanced diet with veggies too and a perfect habitat to help correct this ! Pictures are proof you still need to tweak things. This can be corrected with your help. There is documentation about wheat germ helping but it takes a year or longer in deformed shell cases to see improvement. Then more time and attention to it's habitat. Concentrate a lot on basking area with the best lighting for UVB can help like a meg ray. In the long term there are cheaper than regular bulbs. Regular UVB bulbs only produce useable ray's for a "few" months , do you have a UVB meter to check ? Most will still produce light but it's only regular light. Uvb's have a special coating on a quartz's glass and only last so long. Mega Rays are the best and last 18 months or longer. Being a "mv" type bulb it produces both UVB rays and heat so only one bulb needed for most setups. Where you would need two to three regular UVB bulb's over the same period of time. Observe what he wants to get him to bask for 10-12 hours a day! Under your setup 4-5 hr's basking is not enough. Read about basking areas , the proper heat to entice him to get under the UVB bulb needed. When I use a two bulb system I have a dimmer for the heat bulb so it can be adjusted one degree at a time until I find what works best to entice them instead of keep getting different wattage bulbs and different placement which is important for both bulbs ! Read there instructions on each box. That's why I do not recommend a double fixture for beginners , placement/ distance is different for each type bulb ! ! That is until beginners understand the difference or use a method as I do to balance both out . Under good conditions turtles will bask as much or more than swim.
Have seen some infections get into the blood stream so a vet visit for blood work may help too see if any fungus / bacteria got under the old scutes from before or an earlier date ?
Is it possible were you live to setup a safe outside habitat year round , natural sun light will help but will take a few sheds to correct. That's a few years , captive turtles don't shed every year. Note by a window will not help , UVB rays do not penetrate glass ! A must , Outside habitat's need shade areas too from the heat so he can cool down when needed !

This is someone's picture of a good shed : ... good_shed/
In healthy turtles you can almost glue the shell back together and look like a real turtle shell.

Re: Retained scutes or permanent shell damage?

PostPosted: Thu May 30, 2019 1:43 am
by cheesyturtle
Yes, they are the same turtles that had fungus back in December. They had one big shed back then, and from then on it has just been thin flakes coming off.

I have a basking lamp and a UVB lamp in separate domes. Silver sulphadizine cream has been used to control the fungal infection, but it's hard to get them 100% fungus free.

For me, it's almost impossible to get them to bask for so long, unless I put them in a dry container. From what I have observed, as soon as their shell surface temperature reaches about 40ºC/104ºF, they would go back into the water and stay there, and when I turn the basking lamp off, they would come up again. My basking platform isn't even that hot, only about 33ºC. (I measure the temperature with an infrared thermometer). They seem to prefer cooler places.

Good news is they are no longer afraid of green lettuce! They have been gobbling the leaves up! Now if they would just shed their scutes for me, lol...

Re: Retained scutes or permanent shell damage?

PostPosted: Thu May 30, 2019 8:31 am
by steve
Great to hear about the news. Getting them UVB/sunlight are probably the most important factors here. Are they getting enough calcium? Don't over use the Silver sulfadiazine as the fungus might develop resistance to it or there could be a strain that is not effected by it. Maybe if you cover the sides of the tank, they will bask longer?

Re: Retained scutes or permanent shell damage?

PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2019 1:25 pm
by cheesyturtle
How do I know if they are getting enough calcium? Their shells are hard, nails are good, eyes are good, skin is good, appetite, activity, behaviour and everything seems alright. They just don't like to bask that much that's all.

I used to supplement them with calcium powder before they got Mazuri, but now that they have Mazuri, I don't anymore because according to the Mazuri website there is no need for supplements as Mazuri is already a complete diet.

and yes I will limit the use of SSD cream. Will try the cover-the-sides-of-tank trick too, thanks for the suggestion!

Re: Retained scutes or permanent shell damage?

PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2019 3:19 pm
by litefoot
With a well balanced , mixed , varied and nutritious diet will do for most turtles. Only way to tell if one may have any deficiency is in blood work. Just like us a good balanced diet goes a very long way without supplements.

Fortunately most have a basking area too small for what a turtle wants since most use glass aquariums. An above the tank basking area could offer more or stock tanks being so much wider than standard glass tanks.

Not all turtles like the same thing. If you can watch for several hours to see how they act on the basking dock will help or use a camcorder to see. Is it say twice the size of the turtle's and has to keep shifting around to warm up even. Is it small and just sits in one spot overheating. One's that are larger offer a wide range of temps so the turtle can decide whats best for there needs at the time will get them to bask more. Also a second dock as a dry dock helps too. That’s one with no heat or UVb bulb. Sometimes a turtle just wants to dry off. Some as in my Piggley like’s to be on a small slope. So I glued some small cork on a section of his 24”x12” floating basking dock. He's 5 1/2". Took a few try's at the height but got it now. Temps range from 75* to 90* . He also has a separate dry dock and uses both all the time , he chooses what he needs and likes. Babies don’t like change at all but once they are over two years old enjoy change in the tank and basking area. Turtles that age do get bored. If your turtle's likes to climb use higher cork on basking area but still offer a flat section too. Not too flat you want the plastron to be able to dry off too ! Have some short plastic plants , put them on the edge of the dock , makes a turtle feel safe basking as in hiding. That way you don't have to cover the sides. Take note of the changes you make and watch the reactions and how they use it. We think we train turtles but they truly train us by telling us what they want by there actions. Be creative and observe goes a long way. Getting your turtle's to bask more along with your better diet will help with better sheds down the road and less fungus having a much happier and healthy friend. I offer Piggley something a little different every few month as in my photo’s , keeps his curiosity under control. But I never change what he loves. They will tell you by there actions and use it more when they like it. Think turtle helps. At one stage he liked climbing plants/tree’s so he got one for that and he used it. Older turtles are like young children , like one thing now and a few minutes later want to do something else. Tweak your basking area and watch. Any pictures of how you have it now?

Re: Retained scutes or permanent shell damage?

PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2019 3:52 am
by cheesyturtle
^Some really great tips, thank you. Having a bigger platform and separate platforms make sense. Plastic plants, what a great idea :D Sometimes I wish turtles can speak so they can tell me what they want XD