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Loss of pigment on beak


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#1 summerturtles

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 04:13 PM

Hello,

 

I posted for help with my new-to-me three toed box turtles a bit over a year ago.   I am happy to report that they are doing very well.  The male has popped some beautiful orange markings after spending a couple summers outside.  Last year, he began losing pigment in his beak and now it's all white.   My vet wasn't sure how to explain it but I have been able to find pictures of other three-toeds with white beaks.  Can someone explain to me why this has happened?  

 

Thanks!



#2 Millerlite

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 04:19 PM

any pictures? males will develop very bright colors on there face and neck, Even white will show up on there face. It can be just his mature colors coming in, or somthing else hard to say without seeing it.

 

Kyle



#3 summerturtles

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 04:36 PM

He is over 30 years old, so certainly is mature.   The loss of pigment is on the beak, rather than on his face.  I have  photos but have never been successful in attaching them here.  



#4 BoxTurtleLover

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 04:49 PM

He is over 30 years old, so certainly is mature.   The loss of pigment is on the beak, rather than on his face.  I have  photos but have never been successful in attaching them here.  

 

I believe you may have to have a certain number of postings to be able to upload photos for publishing on here.  Uncertain as to that.  But on the forum main page is a thread as to how to post photos in the forum.  After looking at it if you put your photos on an outside source like Photobucket or Flckr, you can put the link to those photos here in your posting.  Photos of your turtles beak would really help.  Do you know for certain the turtle is over 30 years old....unless one knows the exact day a turtle comes out of the egg, or has hatched the turtle themselves, or has had it in one's possession since a hatchling for that period of time, it's almost impossible to tell an adult box turtle's age unless they are "seniors" and starting to get smoother shells and other shell changes.



#5 summerturtles

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 04:52 PM

I know he has been in captivity for 25 years and was not a baby when he was acquired.   I don't know the original owners, so can't get anymore information than that.


OH, and his shell is very smooth.   :)    I don't have an account at any online photo sites, so will have to go investigate that.



#6 summerturtles

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 05:25 PM

Pictures:

 

SNug1.jpg snug2.jpg



#7 Millerlite

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 10:19 PM

def a old guy, is it soft or look like bone? i dont know if it can be some kind of bacteria or rot, i have a few males with white faces like that but i dont know why it would all of a sudden start showing up, or losing pigment hmm. .



#8 summerturtles

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 05:55 AM

It feels just like the beak on the female (same age).  It isn't soft, doesn't peel, etc.  Vet looked at it and when this started happening he also had a respiratory infection, so was on antibiotics for a while for all of that.   He's eating well, breathing well, active, seems happy.  He's even eating greens now! (That took over a year to accomplish).   She wondered if it might be an old-age change.  I have no idea how old they actually are;  only that nearly three decades can be accounted for so they are at LEAST that old.

 

I looked at google images and found several faces like his.  But I couldn't find any explanations. 



#9 BoxTurtleLover

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 07:48 PM

He is definately up in age and probably way older than you think.  If nothing is peeling off or soft as in a rot issue, and this turtle has been vet checked and nothing found, I don't think it is anything to be concerned about and may just be a pigment old age change.  I have had three toes for many years (I have had one female since 1982) and have never seen a pigment change like that occur.  In the turtle I have had since 1982, she is very up in age and has always had white "lips" and some white under her chin/throat area but that area has not increased in size as she aged.  If your turtle is otherwise healthy and doing well, I don't think it is a life threatening issue but if the area becomes soft, peeling starts or other issues arise in that area, have him checked again right away.  Is your vet a reptile vet?  If not, get him seen by someone with a lot of turtle experience to be on the safe side.  Regular dog and cat vets can be helpful with turtles but they don't have the experience of seeing, working with and knowing reptiles.



#10 shellgame56

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 11:08 PM

Seems to me that if he began to "color up" after receiving outside time, that might just be his natural coloration. My guy has some white markings around his jaw. BoxTurtleLover's has some white. I think it's probably just a variation that is just now coming through.



#11 karencjacome

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Posted 08 October 2013 - 07:54 AM

In Vosjoli's box turtle manual, it shows a picture of a white headed box turtle from Florida, I believe. Possibly your turtle has some of this genetic stock. In the picture, the turlte head is completely white like snow.

You might check it out online. Also, I don't know when/why the color change would occur but I don't think it's anything to worry about.

Best wishes, and thanks for sharing your pictures.

#12 summerturtles

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Posted 08 October 2013 - 04:14 PM

Thank you for all the replies.  Yes, she is listed as an herp vet and sees lots of turtles.

 

BoxTurtleLover, how old would you guess they are (there are two of them)?   And what should I expect in terms of life span?  They had been without UV light for a number of years when I got them.  Her beak is deformed (doesn't align) and they feel she may have had metabolic bone disease.  Her color hasn't changed and he has gotten much brighter and more handsome.   They both gained a little weight and have maintained consistent weights for the past year.

 

Both were treated on antibiotics when I got them and he was treated again last winter for a respiratory infection.   I am working at keeping the habitat more humid this winter and getting the UV light down closer to them.   Practice, practice....I'm still learning.

 

Thanks!



#13 BoxTurtleLover

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Posted 08 October 2013 - 05:13 PM

Thank you for all the replies.  Yes, she is listed as an herp vet and sees lots of turtles.

 

BoxTurtleLover, how old would you guess they are (there are two of them)?   And what should I expect in terms of life span?  They had been without UV light for a number of years when I got them.  Her beak is deformed (doesn't align) and they feel she may have had metabolic bone disease.  Her color hasn't changed and he has gotten much brighter and more handsome.   They both gained a little weight and have maintained consistent weights for the past year.

 

Both were treated on antibiotics when I got them and he was treated again last winter for a respiratory infection.   I am working at keeping the habitat more humid this winter and getting the UV light down closer to them.   Practice, practice....I'm still learning.

 

Thanks!

 

In response to your questions above, one can only estimate the age of a box turtle unless one hatched it out of the egg itself or knows the person who hatched it.  Otherwise, box turtles, due to genetics, environment and diet, all grow at different rates and different sizes.  An adult is impossible to age (again, as above as to hatching), and one can only guess.  Turtles way up in age almost always have very smooth shells and some older females, possibly due to years of egg laying, may have thin, baggy skin hanging out of their hind leg area.  All I can say is your turtles are definately adults and if in captivity 25 years when obtained and an adult at that time, you can safely say the turtle is any age over age 30, but due to the smoother shell, could be pushing 40 or higher.  Hard to say.

 

The lifespan of box turtles in the wild and in captivity varies with all sorts of factors also as some people have them in captivity for well over 40 years acquired as an adult.  As long as you give your turtles a proper environment and diet and good care, they should have many years left with you. 



#14 summerturtles

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Posted 08 October 2013 - 06:34 PM

Thank you.  I absolutely adore them and I am trying my best!  They are just so endearing.






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