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Ever since I took care of Dumbork (which is over a year ago), I’ve been urging her to shed. Her habitat back then was super simple — no basking lights, not deep enough water, super small tank. Now that she has upgraded (basking lights, bigger tank, and ATBA), I wished for her scutes to shed, to no avail.

I have been bringing her out (or, bringing her up to the roof) every time I’m free so that she can bask under the sun. Thankfully, she began to shed small flimsy pieces.

Hopefully by the end of the year all her scutes have shed, especially the stubborn ones on the edges and on her plastron.

For those who have turtles are pets, I have to give some hard-earned advice on Basking and Shedding:

1. Do not try to lift the scute.

-Even though the scute is already lifting, do not pull, touch, or scratch the scute. There are nerve ending on the shell of the turtle and the new scute may tear away when you lift the old one. I have read that one owner forcefully lifted the scute of the turtle, and the a part of the shell came with it, baring an open wound. Sadly, the said turtle died because it was left untreated. When a turtle is shedding, her shell changes physically. Try searching for videos of a turtle scratching, dancing, itching, and you will laugh for hours. The itchiness is a sign that the scutes are starting to lift.

2. Try to put your turtle under the sun

-Nothing beats natural sunlight. It’s cheap and hassle-free and there’s no need to replace it every eight months. Just make sure that you closely supervise your turtle while basking. Put your turtle in a big container, something that she cannot climb out of, and stick her under the sun for a minimum of 30 minutes. Do not put water in the container. After the first 30 minutes, put her in another small container with water for her to drink and to prevent dehydration. My maximum so far is two hours under the sun. Prevent getting any other animals near the turtle (cats, dogs, raccoons, birds, eagles, etc.) while basking.

3.Interact with your turtle.

-I’m no expert in turtle-keeping, but I have read in forums that in order to prevent your turtle from being shy and skittish, the owner must interact closely with the turtle, and it’s best to start while small. Try handling your turtle gently from time to time, and don’t scare your turtle by suddenly appearing in its line of vision, especially while basking. In my case, I can rub Dumbork’s chin and even pat her head without her biting and nipping at me.

How are your pets? Let us know!

Shed scutes from the carapace.

Shed scutes from the carapace.