Tuesday, February 19, 2013

New Greek Foster Tortoise, Shelton!

Today I picked up a new foster tortoise: a handsome slate-grey male Greek tortoise. His old owner named him Shelton, so we will stick with this name. Just look at his bright eyes!

Meet Shelton, the male Greek tortoise
(we will trim his beak in a  few days)
Shelton will live with us for the next few months to get some one-on-one TLC, hopefully gaining some weight, and then will move in with some other tortoises at International Reptile Rescue in the Summer. A sweet woman relinquished him to IRR after purchasing him from a garage sale last year. In my mind, this was such a kind thing of her to do for this critter - she even paid to have a vet check him out, and for medication to treat him for worms and pneumonia.

Shelton posing for the camera
Overall, Shelton looks pretty good. His eyes are bright and his nares (nostrils) are dry. He is exactly 6 inches (15.25cm) long, and weighs 638g - this calculates to a Jackson ratio of 0.18, which is a little on the light side, but within normal range. For a tortoise that has battled intestinal worms and pneumonia in the last year, it is actually really good.

Top view of his shell - hoping to figure out his exact species
Shelton's carapace (top shell) has seen some wear and tear, and shows some pyramiding and asymmetrical growth, as well as several scutes peeling up, but the recent growth since he was bought at the garage sale looks good. There is no fungal damage or shell rot, which is encouraging. Look how dark the new growth is!

Shelton's plastron
Shelton's plastron (the bottom of his shell) is in great shape - especially considering that he was most likely wild-caught. For now I set up his enclosure with newspaper, just so I can keep an eye on his fecal matter for a few days. Once I have determined whether he is healthy in this regard, I will switch to a more suitable substrate, either coconut coir, or organic soil.

Shelton right after a good warm soak
The most important next step will be to get Shelton to eat more. I switched out his basking light for a larger one, so his basking spot will be warmer - 95-100 degrees in the hot spot right under the bulb. These higher temps should help him digest his food more easily, which in turn will encourage him to eat more.

I look forward to updating you on his progress!

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