Angulata hatchlings

shellfreak

Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Joined
Jun 13, 2010
Messages
648
Does anyone know who is breeding bowsprits on a regular basis? If you are, please PM me. I have some questions.
 

KevinGG

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2013
Messages
1,121
Location (City and/or State)
Santa Cruz, CA
Nobody is frequently breeding them. I've found one person who might* be at startortoises.net. But they rarely respond to email. Chris Leone hatched one. TFO member, Kingsley, just hatched one and has threads on its progress. And the Behler Chelonian Center has had success.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Tom

Sterant

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Mar 6, 2016
Messages
678
Location (City and/or State)
Albany, NY
I have been considering a bowsprit project, and in preparation for that have been talking to a number of people/institutions who have or used to have bowsprits. From what I have learned, there are a few people / institutions that have produced hatchlings, but nobody I spoke with is doing so regularly, with one potential exception. Most have stopped working with the species all-together. PM me and I will tell you what I know.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,102
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
I have been considering a bowsprit project, and in preparation for that have been talking to a number of people/institutions who have or used to have bowsprits. From what I have learned, there are a few people / institutions that have produced hatchlings, but nobody I spoke with is doing so regularly, with one potential exception. Most have stopped working with the species all-together. PM me and I will tell you what I know.

Good lord man! SHare the info publicly. We all want to learn more.

I know of one guy down toward San Diego here in Southern CA who has had some success and produced a few hatchlings over the years. He gave a presentation on them a few years back at the TTPG conference. His "secret" to success? He pulled up a map that showed all the "Mediterranean" climate regions around the world, and said move to one of these areas, set them up outside and leave them alone.

This species is easily found in large numbers all over South Africa, and they do not appear to be "fragile" in their home country. I saw hundreds of them over there. My climate is similar to many areas of South Africa, so I'm guessing they will thrive here. I'm hoping to find out one day…

I don't know why so many people have had trouble getting them to thrive and survive. I'd love to hear any insight.
 

Sterant

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Mar 6, 2016
Messages
678
Location (City and/or State)
Albany, NY
Good lord man! Share the info publicly. We all want to learn more.


Everyone I spoke with said these common things:

1) They are a "Difficult" species. By difficult, they seem to mean hard to keep alive, hard to keep healthy, hard to breed and aggressive towards each other and occasionally humans.
2) The stress of wild harvest, shipping and introduction to a new climate seems to be too much for 40 to 60% of them, meaning the initial loss is normally high.
3) Finding long term captives or young CB animals (very few CB) is the way to go.(as you would expect).
4) They are very fast moving tortoises, and males can be fatally aggressive towards both other males and females - watch them like a hawk if you have adults in together. Juveniles don't seem to display the aggressive behavior until they mature.
5) Seemingly healthy animals can all of the sudden draw back, stop eating and be dead within 2 weeks.
6) Those that have egg-laying females note that fertility is an issue.

That's about it for the consistent comments.

Here are some of the contradicting things I heard. I have no experience with this species and certainly have no opinions of my own at this point.

- Some very experienced people say they need very hot and dry during the day, cold and dry at night. I have heard 2 or 3 reports of them developing incurable skin lesions - which they attribute to keeping them in humid/wet conditions - ultimately leading to death. These people tend to be indoor keepers.

- Other's (also very experienced keepers) say that not only can they handle humidity, but they do better in humid/wet conditions. These people tend to be outdoor keepers for at least 5 months of the year and have long-term captive animals (or at least that's what they have left).

- Some insist they must be kept indoors and are afraid to keep them outside - They feel the outdoors are too cool or too humid (or some other thing).

- Others feel that keeping them outdoors is necessary and that they can absolutely handle very cold and wet situations as well as very hot and dry conditions - noting that South Africa has seasons that are very cold and wet, and seasons that are very hot and dry. One of the sources for this comment lives in Bulgaria and keeps them outdoors during the summer months.

- Some state that a natural diet high in succulents / cactus and natural graze is key - some don't and feed Mazuri.

A few facts:

Oklahoma City Zoo has a breeding group and has had some success over the years. Dwight Lawson is behind that program. One observation of note from Dwight is that he had significant fertility issues for years. He then switched to a diet heavy in succulents, cactus, and squash, pumpkin, etc.. and fertility notably increased. He admits it might be coincidence, but he has stuck with that diet and has reasonable success now.

@kingsley (posts on this forum) was a contributor to much of the information above and has produced 1 hatchling which is alive and doing well.

Another member , who has outlined this in prior posts here and on Facebook - produces many eggs, but has hatched one, which died soon after. He has also had a few that make it into the late stages of development and die in the shell.

--------------------

So, all in all, there isn't anything that I would consider hard and fast husbandry guidelines for this species, which is why I am interested in working with them. I would like to help answer some of these questions. If we can get a solid CB generation, then much of the sensitivity might go away.

I am considering initiating a project in conjunction with the Zoo I work with. If anyone has any other information they can share, I would love to hear from you.

Dan
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,102
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Thanks for the info Dan.

I'm in a perfect situation for this species. My climate is very similar to theirs. I've had good results with another notable South African species. I have large outdoor enclosure space with plenty of room for expansion. I have over a dozen succulent species to offer, many of them native to Africa, plus all sorts of other "natural" foods available year round with seasonal variety, like grape and mulberry leaves in spring summer and fall, and lots of mallow, sow thistle, mustard, and wild grasses in winter.

I'm told that commercial importation is difficult, but that an individual can bring back up to six of them for "personal" use, per trip to SA. I'm also told that there are rescues there that are overflowing with them and they'd love to "adopt" them out to interested parties. I know people over there and I know people that know lots of people over there. I keep waiting to get another job over there...
 

HermanniChris

Well-Known Member
TFO Sponsor
10 Year Member!
Joined
Sep 7, 2007
Messages
2,130
Dan and I spoke about this species not too long ago and I believe he is referring to me in some of what he's written here. Dan, you're always welcome to use my name if you'd like.

Outdoors certainly isn't the key to successful keeping of C. angulata. I keep mine strictly indoors in our tortoise building and everything from feeding to behavior and reproduction is spot on. They are in the utmost health. They lay eggs frequently too. The issue I have is during incubation. I hatched one which died shortly after and several others made it to varying stages of development before perishing within the egg. I may now have a handle on this and it may be because of humidity issues inside the container. I am getting eggs once again now (my females lay from September to April) and will continue to try new things as I have tried many methods of incubation.

I house every single Mediterranean species bred here outdoors with the exception of our T. kleinmanni and T. g. nabeulensis groups. I don't doubt that they'd do well here on the southern NJ coastal pinelands but I'm nervous to try it. This is also why don't house C. angulata outdoors. Perhaps down the line they'll all be moved out but it's simply a case of "Don't fix it if it ain't broken". These do so incredibly well indoors so I am in no rush to change it.

Friends from the Turtle Conservancy visited us this past weekend and we went over some humidity issues and maybe I'll hatch a few successfully this winter. Time will tell.
 

Markw84

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 17, 2012
Messages
4,337
Location (City and/or State)
Sacramento, CA (Central Valley)
Dan and I spoke about this species not too long ago and I believe he is referring to me in some of what he's written here. Dan, you're always welcome to use my name if you'd like.

Outdoors certainly isn't the key to successful keeping of C. angulata. I keep mine strictly indoors in our tortoise building and everything from feeding to behavior and reproduction is spot on. They are in the utmost health. They lay eggs frequently too. The issue I have is during incubation. I hatched one which died shortly after and several others made it to varying stages of development before perishing within the egg. I may now have a handle on this and it may be because of humidity issues inside the container. I am getting eggs once again now (my females lay from September to April) and will continue to try new things as I have tried many methods of incubation.

I house every single Mediterranean species bred here outdoors with the exception of our T. kleinmanni and T. g. nabeulensis groups. I don't doubt that they'd do well here on the southern NJ coastal pinelands but I'm nervous to try it. This is also why don't house C. angulata outdoors. Perhaps down the line they'll all be moved out but it's simply a case of "Don't fix it if it ain't broken". These do so incredibly well indoors so I am in no rush to change it.

Friends from the Turtle Conservancy visited us this past weekend and we went over some humidity issues and maybe I'll hatch a few successfully this winter. Time will tell.
Do you mind sharing if the humidity issue was too wet or dry? Need to be dry initially? Does this species benefit from a diapause?
 

HermanniChris

Well-Known Member
TFO Sponsor
10 Year Member!
Joined
Sep 7, 2007
Messages
2,130
Sorry for not clarifying. They're been too humid. I've attempted at between 70 and 85% humidity on dry vermiculite/sand/perlite/dirt you name it. Apparently they should be much, much lower with humidity. This is at least what I'm told from the TC and others. Diapause did not work either. It seems the humidity in the beginning is ok because the eggs begin the develop beautifully. Then, somewhere toward the end, shy of 90 days, they perish.
 

Sterant

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Mar 6, 2016
Messages
678
Location (City and/or State)
Albany, NY
Thanks Chris. Yes some of the information I gathered was from you. I like checking with people before using names and I didn’t have time to reach out to you. Thanks for the additional info. My work on this project is progressing nicely and hope to have something to announce shortly.
 

kingsley

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2012
Messages
186
Location (City and/or State)
Arizona
I think Southern California coastal weather would be spot on for this species. Arizona summer eventually kills them , and I have now started to house them indoors. The hatchling will be an year old on the 18th of October, and I will post some pics soon.
 

Sterant

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Mar 6, 2016
Messages
678
Location (City and/or State)
Albany, NY
Hey Kingsley - what was the scenario/outcome with any eggs laid after the October 2016 hatchling?
 

tglazie

Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Joined
Jul 21, 2010
Messages
631
Location (City and/or State)
San Antonio, TX
I've always wanted to keep this species, but my home and indoor quarters are quite small compared to the land I have outside my house. I've always liked keeping adult tortoises outdoors as much of the time as is feasible and hatchlings part time depending upon species, and as I live in South Texas with wildly fluctuating temps and often oppressive humidity, outdoor keeping of angulata would probably be out of the question. Despite this, I've always felt that if there was a species for which I'd make an exception to my outdoor keeping rule, it would be these guys. I also think it's interesting that all the old books, whether they were the TFH books by John Coborn or the various Tortoise Trust books by Highfield, described them as hardy and easily managed in captivity. Funny how completely off the mark so many of the old books were.

T.G.
 

Sterant

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Mar 6, 2016
Messages
678
Location (City and/or State)
Albany, NY
Funny how completely off the mark so many of the old books were.

T.G.
I'm not so sure they were totally off the mark. Though some do comment about their difficulty in captivity today, those that live in mediterranean climates will tell you they are hearty and a pleasure to keep. It would be interesting to look back and see if the authors you reference were keeping the tortoises themselves or writing about other keepers - and either way, where were the tortoises being kept. Back in the 90's, Andy and the Tortoise Trust were in the UK, but he often worked in Spain....now the TT is in Spain.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,102
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
I've always wanted to keep this species, but my home and indoor quarters are quite small compared to the land I have outside my house. I've always liked keeping adult tortoises outdoors as much of the time as is feasible and hatchlings part time depending upon species, and as I live in South Texas with wildly fluctuating temps and often oppressive humidity, outdoor keeping of angulata would probably be out of the question. Despite this, I've always felt that if there was a species for which I'd make an exception to my outdoor keeping rule, it would be these guys. I also think it's interesting that all the old books, whether they were the TFH books by John Coborn or the various Tortoise Trust books by Highfield, described them as hardy and easily managed in captivity. Funny how completely off the mark so many of the old books were.

T.G.
I can tell you from first hand experience that the temps in the RSA where these come from fluctuate wildly and there were many days with oppressive humidity too. If marginata do well there, then I think these will do well there too, assuming they are carrying some disease or a heavy parasite load from the wild.

I wouldn't rule this species out. You are one of the first people I thought of when I considered who I'd like to give hatchlings to, if and when that time ever comes.
 

tglazie

Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Joined
Jul 21, 2010
Messages
631
Location (City and/or State)
San Antonio, TX
Fascinating. Yes, I had considered this possibility, given that Misty Corton did extensive work with this species and wrote about it in her little book on South African tortoises, and I suspected that Highfield's writing was based on her experience. If it did well outdoors here, that would be fantastic. Marginated tortoises certainly do exceedingly well out here, better than many other Testudo, in my experience. I had four hatchlings emerge from the ground just the other week from a clutch I had missed in Lady Gino's enclosure. It's funny that since I put up a camera on her laying area, I've never missed a clutch. But this one, she actually laid it up in a weedy patch on some relatively shallow, somewhat rocky soil that is just out of view of the camera. That girl must've been at it for hours.

Apologies, I'm veering off topic. I'd definitely be interested in that proposition, Tom. I've always been hesitant to keep this species, but before last year, I was hesitant to get into rads, and now I have nine of them. At the same time, I wanted to do this right, plan out every contingency.

T.G.
 

Attachments

  • 20170824_161850.jpg
    20170824_161850.jpg
    1.3 MB · Views: 22

Kapidolo Farms

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Nov 7, 2012
Messages
5,083
Location (City and/or State)
South of Southern California, but not Mexico
I know sorting through sci lit can be a challenge and it might be easier to just do what others do. However that methodology has lead to iceburg lettuce fed rabbit pellet substrate sulcatas, Yeah?

https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0,5&q=MD+Hofmeyr+chersina&oq=MD+Hofmeyr+chersina

Angulates have a huge range with highly variable annual cycles of water and temp. They would seem to not re-establish well, but once established are pretty durable. There are reports in the lit of them getting out and about so early in the morning that frost is on their shell, hardly wall flower tortoises. I got to see several in RSA, and they are very common where they occur, insect like proportions. Even found a nest.

I hope to see you all be successful with them in captivity.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Tom
TortoiseSupply.com

New Posts

Top