Turtle shells grow with you


Incorrect growth not caused by keeping


In the vast majority of cases, malformations can be traced back to poor posture, especially poor nutrition, which lead to typical deformations of the shell and sometimes of the limbs - see postural malformation

Nevertheless, in rare cases there are malformations that, as I suspect, have nothing to do with gross posture errors, because they even occur sporadically in the wild. These include asymmetrical shield growth and so-called Growth inhibitions or inhibition deformities A growth inhibition is when a certain area of ​​the carapace stops growing temporarily or permanently. Instead of growing in all directions, individual shields only develop growth rings in one direction. This sometimes creates frightening-looking deformations, such as an asymmetrical appearance, rolled-up edges, openings that are too wide or too narrow in the area of ​​the thighs and tail, or a thickened belly armor. Owners of such irregularly grown animals often have to move unjustifiably by self-proclaimed experts and even veterinarians sharp criticism to put up with their turtle posture.

The special thing is that you don't look at the hatchlings at first - in contrast to shield anomalies, which are clearly visible from birth. The affected animals become increasingly deformed in the course of their lives. Of course, posture-related and non-posture-related deformations are not mutually exclusive. Both can occur in the same animal.

I am not aware of any investigations into the causes. It cannot be ruled out that environmental influences played an indirect role, namely at an early stage of the incubation or in the parent animals. Another idea is that an externally invisible disease or injury triggers the stunted growth.

The third and fourth vertebral shields are often affected, as the following images show:

Slightly asymmetrical growth of the 3rd and 4th vertebral shield in a Thb wild caught in BugariaAsymmetrical growth in a Greek tortoise Thb, German offspring * 1)



Inhibition of growth on the right side of the second to fourth vertebral shield - thus asymmetrical appearance This three-year-old terrarium-keeping has typical characteristics of feeding errors, lack of light and moisture, but it also has a growth disorder that is probably not related to the keeping. * 2)




In this 7-year-old Thb offspring, the 2nd vertebral shield has formed into a single hump. It also grows asymmetrically. Your siblings grow symmetrically and smoothly under the same rearing conditions. In contrast to its siblings, this turtle was not incubated without a substrate but buried in the ground. Did this mean that bacteria got into the egg?


The posterior carapace area of ​​this healthy Thb male shows a larger increase than the anterior part. More growth rings can be seen on the rear rib and marginal shields than in the front. * 3)


In this 8-year-old Testudo Marginata, only the front area of ​​the carapace grows. No growth rings can be seen at the back. The keeping conditions for this turtle were initially not optimal, but by no means such that they would justify this growth * 4)



Credit: * 1) Daniel, Testudoforum, * 2) Lina, Testudoforum, * 3) Mairiam, Schildkrötenforum.net, * 4) Steffi, Testudoforum