Baby Burmese Stars are hatching

Markw84

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My first clutch of the 2020 hatch season for my Burmese Stars has hatched! This never gets old. I love seeing baby tortoises hatching. Spending the last year doting over the babies from the 2019 season, it is amazing how tiny these guys are compared to 2019 hold-backs I have. The 2019 group is now 9-11 mos old and weigh 160g - 260g. The new 20g babies look so small now!

For those interested, I did this year totally change over my diapause method as a result of my experiments' last year's results, combined with the nest studies and weather data we've been following. This year I am doing the technique that overwhelming produced better results last year. The timing of the moving to the next stage is not exact as I do it as convenient close to the schedule. The schedule is: I leave the eggs at room temp in my office for a week. Temps normally go from 68° to 71° most days. I then place them in an incubator for 30 days that is on a timer to be at 78° for 10 hours an then let drop to 70° for 14 hours each day. This mimics exactly what I found 6" deep nests do in weather like Myanmar has late winter when eggs there break diapause. I then place them in another incubator set at 89° for 13 hours, then a drop 3° for 11 hours. My top shelf is about 1° higher than my lower shelves in that incubator, so I move most of the clutches to the upper shelves after 3 weeks for another 4 weeks or so.

Using this method this first clutch pipped in 76 days of being placed in the final incubator. So this clutch was a total of 40 days diapause, 76 days incubation. Much shorter incubation period and the babies are vigorous and have less yolk sac upon hatching than I often see. But that also seems attributable to the incubation medium I switched to last year. 1/2 vermiculite, 1/2 peat moss.

My second clutch has pipped overnight. So they went 76 days exactly as well to first pip. They were a total of 39 days diapause, 76 days incubation.

First clutch of 2020 hatching:

Clutch 01 of 2020 Feb 10.JPG


First baby out of egg and immediately to first bath and weigh-in:

IMG_0732.JPG

This is how this baby came out of egg with very little yolk sac:

IMG_0733.JPG

Here's the full clutch at bath yesterday:

Clutch 01 of 2020 Feb 13.jpg
 

Yvonne G

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Interesting to see how different they are from each other in looks. I'm so glad there's someone like you out there doing the experimentation so all we have to do is set 'em up and hatch 'em. Now if only there were someone studying the manouria hatching and incubation system.
 

Markw84

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Interesting to see how different they are from each other in looks. I'm so glad there's someone like you out there doing the experimentation so all we have to do is set 'em up and hatch 'em. Now if only there were someone studying the manouria hatching and incubation system.
It is interesting to see how the patterns vary. But also of note to see how the camouflage they produce is for a different type of hiding spots than for when they are older. The pattern as babies produces good camouflage while hiding in leaf litter, or weeds and ground cover plants. The adult pattern works best under bushes and tall grass clumps where the broken sunlight creates vertical streaks.

Here's a photo at bath time to day where I put the babies next to a tub of 5 of my hold-backs. What a difference! The 5 from last year hatched in March '19 so about 11 months old now. Roughly 10 times the weight in 11 months.

The dark baby @Yvonne G you see in the upper left will probably turn out more like the yearling in the middle. The two babies lower left will turn out more like the yearling on the bottom and far left of that tub.
IMG_0052.jpg

Here's the darker baby next to a "darker" yearling for comparison. The lines that form the geometric pattern generate only from the corners where 3 adjacent scutes come together. It is not as much the amount of yellow in the baby, though. It is the amount of separation that shows up in the black areas and how much yellow is there. The black baby has almost continuous black. Zoom in and compare above to the lower left babies and see how much yellow separates all their black dots?

IMG_0053(1).jpg

Some have asked what @Tom and I mean by brooder box. It is really just a container like the one I incubated the eggs in. But i place several layers of wet paper towels in the bottom and lots of various weeds and some of their egg shell for them to eat and hide in. I then simply place that back in the incubator to keep them at 100% humidity and the same incubation temperatures to allow them to transition from the egg to the world. I bathe them daily for at least 30 minutes and keep them this way for 7-10 days. By that time they are very active and have been eating normally from the first day or two. My babies do not loose weight as many people see with hatchlings their first week or two. Mine gain weight from the very beginning. I believe weight loss for a baby is because of dehydration and no available food when the yolk is absorbed. This is a very critical time for baby tortoises and when many die in the wild if they happen to hatch when conditions are not right. I believe the organs are still developing and metabolic activity is starting to more fully develop. With out this transitional period, I think it often can leads to everything from slow growth, later health / kidney issues, and even "hatchling failure".

Here's the 5 babies as I took them out of the incubator today ready for today's bath...

IMG_0050(1).jpg
 
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MichaelL

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It is interesting to see how the patterns vary. But also of note to see how the camouflage they produce is for a different type of hiding spots than for when they are older. The pattern as babies produces good camouflage while hiding in leaf litter, or weeds and ground cover plants. The adult pattern works best under bushes and tall grass clumps where the broken sunlight creates vertical streaks.

Here's a photo at bath time to day where I put the babies next to a tub of 5 of my hold-backs. What a difference! The 5 from last year hatched in March '19 so about 11 months old now. Roughly 10 times the weight in 11 months.

The dark baby @Yvonne G you see in the upper left will probably turn out more like the yearling in the middle. The two babies lower left will turn out more like the yearling on the bottom and far left of that tub.
View attachment 286240

Here's the darker baby next to a "darker" yearling for comparison. The lines that form the geometric pattern generate only from the corners where 3 adjacent scutes come together. It is not as much the amount of yellow in the baby, though. It is the amount of separation that shows up in the black areas and how much yellow is there. The black baby has almost continuous black. Zoom in and compare above to the lower left babies and see how much yellow separates all their black dots?

View attachment 286241

Some have asked what @Tom and I mean by brooder box. It is really just a container like the one I incubated the eggs in. But i place several layers of wet paper towels in the bottom and lots of various weeds and some of their egg shell for them to eat and hide in. I then simply place that back in the incubator to keep them at 100% humidity and the same incubation temperatures to allow them to transition from the egg to the world. I bathe them daily for at least 30 minutes and keep them this way for 7-10 days. By that time they are very active and have been eating normally from the first day or two. My babies do not loose weight as many people see with hatchlings their first week or two. Mine gain weight from the very beginning. I believe weight loss for a baby is because of dehydration and no available food when the yolk is absorbed. This is a very critical time for baby tortoises and when many die in the wild if they happen to hatch when conditions are not right. I believe the organs are still developing and metabolic activity is starting to more fully develop. With out this transitional period, I think it often can leads to everything from slow growth, later health / kidney issues, and even "hatchling failure".

Here's the 5 babies as I took them out of the incubator today ready for today's bath...

View attachment 286242
@Markw84 I have that same weed that is the long leaf above the bottom left tortoise. I have been trying to identify it for so long! Do you know the name???
 

Markw84

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@Markw84 I have that same weed that is the long leaf above the bottom left tortoise. I have been trying to identify it for so long! Do you know the name???
that's the "true" dandelion. The name dandelion actually means "lion's tooth". The edges of the leaves look like lion's teeth.
 

Warren

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that's the "true" dandelion. The name dandelion actually means "lion's tooth". The edges of the leaves look like lion's teeth.
The long leafed plant , I believe to be Chicory
( Italian Dandelion ). I have purchased this at the food store ( Whole Foods ), they sell it as Dandelion in a bunch Green and red, I purchased some chicory seeds to plant this spring.The seed store said the Italian Dandelion produce blue flowers, news to me.
 

Markw84

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Mark do you use the vermiculite /Pete Moss mix with sulcatas as well? Or is this species specific
Aaron, I am using it will all my species now. I'm experimenting with the theory that the peat will add organic matter and acidity which helps greatly with the chelation of shell calcium (available calcium for embryo) and also has a much better water potential than straight vermiculite - which would help with water availability as well. Been doing this a few years now and really like the results.
 

Gijoux

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It is interesting to see how the patterns vary. But also of note to see how the camouflage they produce is for a different type of hiding spots than for when they are older. The pattern as babies produces good camouflage while hiding in leaf litter, or weeds and ground cover plants. The adult pattern works best under bushes and tall grass clumps where the broken sunlight creates vertical streaks.

Here's a photo at bath time to day where I put the babies next to a tub of 5 of my hold-backs. What a difference! The 5 from last year hatched in March '19 so about 11 months old now. Roughly 10 times the weight in 11 months.

The dark baby @Yvonne G you see in the upper left will probably turn out more like the yearling in the middle. The two babies lower left will turn out more like the yearling on the bottom and far left of that tub.
View attachment 286240

Here's the darker baby next to a "darker" yearling for comparison. The lines that form the geometric pattern generate only from the corners where 3 adjacent scutes come together. It is not as much the amount of yellow in the baby, though. It is the amount of separation that shows up in the black areas and how much yellow is there. The black baby has almost continuous black. Zoom in and compare above to the lower left babies and see how much yellow separates all their black dots?

View attachment 286241

Some have asked what @Tom and I mean by brooder box. It is really just a container like the one I incubated the eggs in. But i place several layers of wet paper towels in the bottom and lots of various weeds and some of their egg shell for them to eat and hide in. I then simply place that back in the incubator to keep them at 100% humidity and the same incubation temperatures to allow them to transition from the egg to the world. I bathe them daily for at least 30 minutes and keep them this way for 7-10 days. By that time they are very active and have been eating normally from the first day or two. My babies do not loose weight as many people see with hatchlings their first week or two. Mine gain weight from the very beginning. I believe weight loss for a baby is because of dehydration and no available food when the yolk is absorbed. This is a very critical time for baby tortoises and when many die in the wild if they happen to hatch when conditions are not right. I believe the organs are still developing and metabolic activity is starting to more fully develop. With out this transitional period, I think it often can leads to everything from slow growth, later health / kidney issues, and even "hatchling failure".

Here's the 5 babies as I took them out of the incubator today ready for today's bath...

View attachment 286242
Oh I just love seeing this Mark. They are beautiful. Congratulations on another great clutch of babies.
 

Moozillion

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YOWZA!!!!
What incredibly gorgeous animals!!!!:<3:
Burmese stars are one of my DREAM tortoises!!! They are beyond beautiful.
 
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