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Dig in neonate

Discussion in 'Tortoise Breeding' started by Anyfoot, Sep 9, 2017.

  1. Anyfoot

    Anyfoot Well-Known Member

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    This was the last egg I have hatched 4 days ago. I left him where he hatched, the little guy just wants to dig in under the soil. Twice I thought we'd lost him. He digs down around 2" under the soil. There is moss in there and I puta lid on so it's not bright.

    My question is, do you think we are making something unnatural happen to growth when we start to feed and soak at such an early stage?

    Also this baby was 3 wks later than it's 8 siblings to hatch, is it me or does it already look like there is some growth at 4 days old. Seems to be a crevice between scutes already.
    IMG_0745.JPG IMG_0746.JPG IMG_0747.JPG IMG_0748.JPG IMG_0749.JPG IMG_0750.JPG IMG_0751.JPG IMG_0744.JPG
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  2. Anyfoot

    Anyfoot Well-Known Member

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    This is the day he hatched, looks like there is already a crevice between scutes to me. Also this is where he's lived for the first 4 days of life.
    IMG_0752.jpg

    IMG_0742.JPG
  3. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 5 Year Member Platinum Supporter

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    Tom says they eat the hatching medium (vermiculite, perlite??) and their egg shells, so it's not uncommon for them to eat right off the bat, however, in my experience, they don't eat in the incubator or for a week or so after I've set them up in a habitat.
  4. Anyfoot

    Anyfoot Well-Known Member

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    I normally incubate on vermiculite and soon as they pip I move onto moist tissue, also offering food. Mine rarely eat for 4 to 7 days though.
    I left this clutch in this flower tub within my enclosure just to try something different.
  5. theguy67

    theguy67 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    When you say "unnatural" are you referring to change in growth rate, or a change in shape (smooth vs pyramiding), or some odd behavior?

    My hatchlings have all taken part in burying themselves under the substrate. After they are fully out of the egg, I move them to a smaller tub, and soak them for a week or two. Beyond the first couple weeks, I no longer routinely soak my tortoises. I provide them with a soaking dish, and a humid hide/burrow and aim to keep humidity up.
  6. Anyfoot

    Anyfoot Well-Known Member

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    Yes, are we unintentionally doing something unnatural that effects growth even at such an early stage by not letting them dig in under moist soil.
    I usually leave mine in a brooder box for a while, I also put a bit of food in, some nibble on it and some don't.
    Because I wasn't bothered if my last 2 clutches hatched or not I decided to experiment a bit, one clutch of 8 were buried in soil, I found these on the surface with virtually all eggsack absorbed, and a clutch of 9 laid on the soil with a cover over them, soon as the first hatched 8 I put them in their enclosure, but I left this last one on the soil and it dug in, a wk later and it's only just started to move around.
    I rain on my torts twice a day, soak them daily and my humidity is at 90%. I don't think any of this compares to a tort digging in and having moist soil,moss or foliage on the carapace. The trouble is they get tame and stop digging in at a later stage. All my babies look perfect up until around 4 to 6 months(regardless of their size), then things change. No matter which way you look at it some grow differently to others regarding how smooth they look.
    Maybe feeding them and not having them dig in at the neonate stage is advancing them too fast too early and it shows later down the line.

    Ive not fed protein for 6 months with some and 3 months with others, the last 2 clutches(8 & 9) have gone straight onto my monthly diet, so they get protein ever 10 days.
    I don't have any incandescent heat source, I use heat panels to warm up the entire enclosure, the closest heat panel is around 4ft high and 5ft away to the side.
    I feed only one food type per day so they all get the fill of same diet( we could argue one gets dandelion and another gets plantain or one gets a bit of plum instead of papaya).

    I'm trying to treat them all the exact same and still there is growth difference.(smoothness) The only variables left that I can think of is digging in time and appetites, Straight out of the egg and at a later stage.
    Some lay on the moss some lay under the moss, some are greedier than others.

    I was considering a weed only diet but this is what our herbivore members do anyway. That's why I've gone for protein straight away with last 2 clutches. Do they all eat bugs and slugs as neonates for protein whilst hidden with moist foliage on their carapace.

    Well that went off track and turned into an essay. :D:D
  7. theguy67

    theguy67 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Well is seems like you've covered everything. As I was reading, I would have a question pop into my head, which was eventually answered as I continued.

    Perhaps they stop digging due to our intervention...that would have to be a sort of behavioral experiment. Deprive one group from all human contact, and see if they dig for longer periods.

    I've always heard that redfoots, in general are not burrowers. So, although hatchlings will bury themselves, we have to ask ourselves, is it normal for adults? If it is not, then when does this behavior naturally stop, and how does it relate to growth? - My guess would be that (if there is an impact on shell growth) as the animal grows larger, they become more efficient at retaining water. < Assuming this behavior naturally stops.

    Although, I will say that I have seen my adults attempt to bury themselves in loose substrate. The problem is (if they do want to bury themselves) I'm not aware if this is a normal behavior, so I have not provided substrate for the adults to EASILY dig into. I say easily as 2 of my females have successfully laid nests in the pen. The location where my adult redfoots would "bury" themselves was an area that kinda developed on its on. (If you have seen my enclosure) It was in the turn of their creek, to the right of the fountain, before I installed the burrows. It was a some-what low area with large clumps of grass and mulch (to fill in the depression). The splashing from the fountain would essentially water this spot. The top of their shells would remain exposed from the dirt, but covered by the tall grass. I thought one would be missing from the pen, until I stumbled upon this spot.

    Another reason young tortoises may stop burying is they just have simply gotten to big for their provided substrate depth. Some keepers only have a couple inches of mulch, or a soil mixture, in the enclosure. When the animal grows, and continues to dig, they hit a hard bottom and eventually learn that is the deepest they can go. You say your's "look perfect up until around 4 to 6 months". How deep is/was their substrate? Is this when you noticed they stopped digging? I have a few that are approaching 2 years old, and they still bury themselves. I have since moved them into a larger enclosure, with a deeper substrate.

    I think you are right to find it a bit odd that you may be getting some traces of pyramiding with such wet conditions (rain twice a day, frequent soaks, super high humidity). BUT, the way I have always viewed burying and burrowing is this - Soaking lasts roughly 15 minutes (or however long), and then you stick them back in their enclosure (with the predetermined parameters). IF there is something not available, or off, soaking may not remedy this. Compare a 15 min soak to several hours surrounded by moist substrate. I know my little ones can spend over 12 hours buried at night, and they always come out with darkened shells, like someone dabbed them with a damp paper towel. I remember when my sulcata dug his own burrow, how he would always come out looking shinier. Both of these instances, the animals sought out a micro-climate that obviously was wet, and both spent many hours per day there. Perhaps our tropical species require more time to re-hydrate their shells at this stage? I'm also assuming shell hydration may be independent to body hydration - if that makes sense.
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  8. Anyfoot

    Anyfoot Well-Known Member

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    My substrate is about 8" deep and I have moss piled up in areas on top of that under miniature palms. Some dig in and some don't. Most all are that dull Matt color that suggests they are moist enough on the carapace.
    Think I need to re-think on ways for them to sleep whilst under a moist canopy or better substrate to dig into. My 3 yr olds that grew smooth had moist coir for substrate, the good thing about that is it never gets too compact for them to dig into.
    What I'm using now is a mix of coir and soil.

    Can I see some photos of your 2yr olds please.
  9. Gillian Moore

    Gillian Moore Well-Known Member

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    Oh he's adorable. GOD bless.
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  10. theguy67

    theguy67 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    I'll have to take pics when I have time. Don't have any close ups to share at the moment.

    How significant is the abnormal growth? Any minor "pyramiding" may be difficult to see once they are adults.
  11. Anyfoot

    Anyfoot Well-Known Member

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    This is the same tort at 4 months and 12 months.
    My original thought was maybe from out of the egg in the wild they should be dug in under some sort of moist foliage, then as they mature and harden off they become more active and out in the open more. Maybe this is at 1 yr old or 2 or 3 (who knows). Because my captive babies become fearless they stop digging in and just sit on or just in the moss. They have plenty of option to dig right in if they want too.
    This tort had no animal protein for first 6 months. I'm now wondering if protein is excelling the growth beyond bone development.
    Then again I may just be seeing bone thickening and this tort may grow on smooth.
    That's another reason I introduced protein at 3 and at zero months to see if they become ugly looking like this one before the 4 to 6 month period that all my babies seem to look smooth at.
    Anyway here you go.
    IMG_0775.JPG IMG_0777.jpg
  12. theguy67

    theguy67 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Here's a pic I found in my album.
    ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1505481291.762425.jpg

    This one was taken last summer at about 2.5 years. The top of the shell may have a very minor difference but over all it's not bumpy like your bottom pic. All of my hatchlings are growing the same.
  13. Anyfoot

    Anyfoot Well-Known Member

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    Looks nice
    At any point during growing can you remember if you thought it was starting to get bumpy but later developed to be smooth.
  14. theguy67

    theguy67 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Interesting ideas. Have you tried having spacious hides filled with moss? All of my tortoises will use a hide, if provided. This would not only contain the moisture in that part of the enclosure, but also sorta force them to be contained as well. Similar to if they were buried.
  15. Anyfoot

    Anyfoot Well-Known Member

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    I'll get some photos of them sleeping in a moment.
    The 3 I raised that are now coming up to 3 1/2 yrs old and grew very smooth had log hides with moss in, what I used to do was spray the top of the log until the crevices in the log held water, over time this would soak through the log hide and keep their carapaces moist. I fed those 3 torts anything and everything at some point or another. So my mind keeps switching back and forth on the diet thing. Looking at my three 3 1/2yr olds diet doesn't play a part regarding a smooth carapace. Of course health is diet related.
  16. theguy67

    theguy67 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    At about 1 year I thought I saw pyramiding. If it was, its minor, so its harder to tell as they grow. This could have been a break in routine, resulting in dryer areas in the enclosure. Adults and juveniles, as you have stated, can handle more dryness than babies, so they are more sensitive to minute changes.

    Also, I think I remember Tom talking about baby sulcatas may hide in the brush in the wild (a wet microclimate). Assuming both tortoises follow similar survival strategies, it would make sense to see redfoots do something similar.

    I'll try to reply some more later. Off to take an ecology exam.
  17. Anyfoot

    Anyfoot Well-Known Member

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    These are the up to 3" size torts. I have an endless supply of free moss :D
    IMG_0719.JPG IMG_0720.JPG IMG_0721.JPG IMG_0763.JPG IMG_0765.JPG

    Attached Files:

  18. Anyfoot

    Anyfoot Well-Known Member

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    Theses are some of the 1yr olds. I made a mistake and let these have sunlight through into the enclosure. They bask if I let them. Maybe that caused an unintentional drying process. I've since blocked off the window.
    IMG_0739.JPG
  19. Anyfoot

    Anyfoot Well-Known Member

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    Some more 1 yr olds that had access to the basking window light. The 2nd photo is actually around 16 months now(I think. I need to look at my records). He was raised in a vivarium for first 5 months or so.
    IMG_0733.JPG IMG_0735.JPG IMG_0736.JPG
  20. Anyfoot

    Anyfoot Well-Known Member

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    This one is nearly 5 months old and was fed protein from 3 months old.
    IMG_0737.JPG
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Tortoise Breeding Big egg big neonate Feb 21, 2014

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