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Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 11427
Experience:  Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
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I am fokllowing your advise with my rescued tortoise with

Customer Question

I am fokllowing your advise with my rescued tortoise with regard to the rehydration and fungus treatment for the badly peeled places on the shell. It is gettting lots of fresh organic greens and tomato, it is very hungry and is passing pellets and some water. It is not far off the size of my previous tortoise but is very light when you pick it up. THE part of the shell which looks normal is very very dry and rough to touch. Should I be treating it with some moisturising oil to help it back into condition.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Reptile
Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.

Hello again,

I had answered this when you posted it as a follow-up to your original question, but it must not have come through to you. Here it is again:

It's best not to put anything on the shell for purposes of moisturizing. Even the so-called shell conditioners sold in pet stores can trap bacteria, leading to infection. It takes a long time for shell health to improve, but proper diet, lighting, and bathing will eventually lead to a healthy shell once any infection is cleared up.

Let me know if you need anything else.


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. I missed this piece of information before in your other answer. I will continue with the points you made. I believe the poor creature is in a worse state than we imagined and will take a great deal of care. I've not noticed the cutlefish being attacked yet but it is available. The bathing is not being appreciated yet but am careful that the water is not too hot or too cold and do careully pat it dry if the sun is not out to keep it warmed up. We are having some extremely cold nights with a chilling wind coming down from the mountains. I bring it in as the sun goes down and it goes into a large cardboard box where it buries itself under scrunched up clean paper until the sun comes out in the morning. Do you think I should be doing anything else.
Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.
You're welcome. This doesn't sound good at all. Because the tortoise also feels light when you pick it up, it may not be able to metabolize its food properly. I would consider a vet visit at this point. If that's not possible, perhaps you could keep it inside in the daytime until the weather stabilizes. Provide some sort of basking light that will keep the tortoise warm in the daytime. Otherwise, you are doing what you can.