How to tell if a tortoise is calcium deficient?
Calcium deficiency and calcium supplementation are something tortoise owners have been exploring. The inappropriate amount of calcium supplementation for tortoises can easily lead to calcium deficiency or stones. So, giving tortoises calcium has always been a big deal. How to find a safe way to supplement calcium to tortoises?
How to judge calcium deficiency in tortoises?
Due to the long-term feeding of single feed and cooked food, the vitamin content in the diet is insufficient, resulting in the lack of vitamin D in the tortoise, and the inversion of calcium to phosphorus ratio or calcium deficiency can cause tortoise osteomalacia. This condition is more common in fast-growing juvenile tortoises. Calcium-deficient tortoises are more difficult to move, the limbs and joints are thicker, the carapace and plastron are soft, the scales on the surface of the dorsal shell gradually fall off, and in severe cases, the fingers and toes fall off, they are reluctant to move or even stasis, and their appetite is significantly reduced. Some convulsions, and eventually drowsiness and death.
How to supplement calcium after tortoise is deficient in calcium?
1. Calcium supplementation requires sunlight: Calcium deposition does not directly replace ingested calcium into bone cells as we imagine. It enters the blood, body fluids, nerve cells and bone cells in the form of ions.
Vitamin D3 plays a vital role in the deposition of calcium, in short, the precursor of vitamin D3 is activated by UV radiation in the liver. In turn, it directs calcium ions in the blood to be replaced by calcium in bone cells.
Therefore, vitamin D3 is indispensable, and sunlight is indispensable! Give them enough light, stimulate them to exercise more, and they will definitely make the tortoises strong and powerful!
So, as long as conditions permit, stocking for a few months is very helpful for the growth of tortoises! Note that UV lamps will never replace sunlight! Only true sunbathing can help individuals grow most effectively!
2. Pay attention to the calcium to phosphorus ratio: Tortoises have different phosphorus requirements than other organisms (mainly mammals). You can take a closer look at the calcium supplements people use, there will be obvious signs on them that say calcium:phosphorus = 1:4 to 5. This is the calcium to phosphorus ratio required by most animals.
But tortoises do not need such a high phosphorus content, they only need a calcium to phosphorus ratio of 4~7:1, and even too high a phosphorus content will hinder the formation of tortoise skeletal cells! This is why the calcium powder for reptiles on the market generally only clearly identifies the calcium content of about 97-99%, but does not clearly identify the phosphorus content.
3. Selection of calcium supplements: Calcium supplements are not recommended for human use because the ratio of calcium to phosphorus is inappropriate (unless the product clearly states that there is only calcium carbonate, no phosphorus). Eggshells are optional, but make sure the semi-permeable membrane inside has been thoroughly washed, preferably dried in the sun and ground into powder before use. The ratio of calcium carbonate in coral and shells is 95%, so as long as you have a mortar that can sufficiently grind it into a powder, it is also a good choice.
In addition, many injections that people use, such as calcium gluconate, calcium lactate and other organic calcium are also good choices, because they are metabolized in the body almost completely in the form of ionized calcium and can be taken orally unless the tortoise is terminally ill. Manual injection is recommended.
However, when choosing calcium supplements for human use, be sure to pay attention to the labeled phosphorus content, and never use calcium phosphate to supplement calcium. If you don't want to bother, then of course choose calcium powder for reptiles.
Calcium deficiency in tortoises has a significant impact on the health of tortoises. Blind calcium supplementation can cause tortoises to suffer from stones. The tortoises only raised in the rearing box, although the environment is relatively stable, the tortoises are as fragile as the flowers raised in the greenhouse, and properly basking the tortoises is the greatest help for the tortoises.