soft shell

by Bobbie
(Queen Creek,Az,USA)

11 months ago we got 2 baby sulcata tortoises. Both from the same mom, born on the same day. One is twice the size of the other one. The smaller one has developed a soft shell the last few weeks. He is still eating and moving normally. Is this something to worry about? If so, is there something we can do without going to a vet? While I'm asking--what should they be eating, how much and how often? How often should they go outside? We do have a heat lamp in their enclosure that's on about 12 hours a day. I just want to make sure we are doing everything right.

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Nov 25, 2009
soft sulcata shell
by: Shelly

The soft shell is a problem. It is often a sign of Metabolic bone disease. The causes are diet, temperature, and lack of vitamin D3.


Sulcatas graze and need alfalfa hay, grass, weeds, etc.

Cuttlebone will help with calcium. You also need daily vitamins and minerals: Calcium/phosphorus two to one.


If your tortoise is not outdoors, you need a uvb light. Without that the animal cannot metabolize the calcium. I would say that's one of your major problems. Don't let his go too long without seeing a vet. If a few days doesn't make a positive change, do take the wee one to a vet to be checked.

Keep it slow and steady.

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