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Body size development of captive and free-ranging Leopard tortoises (Geochelone pardalis)


Ritz, J; Hammer, C; Clauss, Marcus (2010). Body size development of captive and free-ranging Leopard tortoises (Geochelone pardalis). Zoo Biology, 29:517-525.

Abstract

The growth and weight development of Leopard tortoise hatchings (Geochelone pardalis) kept at the Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation (AWWP), Qatar, was observed for more than four years, and compared to data in literature for freeranging animals on body weight or carapace measurements. The results document a distinctively faster growth in the captive animals. Indications for the same phenomenon in other tortoise species (Galapagos giant tortoises, G. nigra; Spurthighed tortoises, Testudo graeca; Desert tortoises, Gopherus agassizi) were found in the literature. The cause of the high growth rate most likely is the constant provision with highly digestible food of low fiber content. Increased growth rates are suspected to have negative consequences such as obesity, high mortality, gastrointestinal illnesses, renal diseases, ‘‘pyramiding,’’ fibrous osteodystrophy or metabolic bone disease. The apparently widespread occurrence of high growth rates in intensively managed tortoises underlines how easily ectothermic animals can be oversupplemented with nutrients.

Abstract

The growth and weight development of Leopard tortoise hatchings (Geochelone pardalis) kept at the Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation (AWWP), Qatar, was observed for more than four years, and compared to data in literature for freeranging animals on body weight or carapace measurements. The results document a distinctively faster growth in the captive animals. Indications for the same phenomenon in other tortoise species (Galapagos giant tortoises, G. nigra; Spurthighed tortoises, Testudo graeca; Desert tortoises, Gopherus agassizi) were found in the literature. The cause of the high growth rate most likely is the constant provision with highly digestible food of low fiber content. Increased growth rates are suspected to have negative consequences such as obesity, high mortality, gastrointestinal illnesses, renal diseases, ‘‘pyramiding,’’ fibrous osteodystrophy or metabolic bone disease. The apparently widespread occurrence of high growth rates in intensively managed tortoises underlines how easily ectothermic animals can be oversupplemented with nutrients.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinary Clinic > Department of Small Animals
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
630 Agriculture
Language:English
Date:2010
Deposited On:01 Oct 2010 14:29
Last Modified:08 Sep 2016 07:54
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:0733-3188
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/zoo.20273

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