Day 56 Update Hatching a Tortoise Without the Eggshell: WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT

Arizona Sulcata

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On day 52 the yolk broke down as it did in my first attempt but the vein structure was still in tact and the tortoise was still alive so although concerned, I still had hope. Day 55 I noticed no movement from the tortoise which was very odd considering it was always following me with its eyes and head and would be kicking its legs. I gave it a day and on Day 56 confirmed it had passed. Here are some pictures that some may find disturbing so if you are easily offended or get grossed out then by all means don't click. These pictures are for educational purposes to see how much it had progressed in such a short time from Day 50 to Day 56. As of Day 55 (when I'm assuming it stopped progressing) it had a skeletal structure, shell, all four legs and even tiny paws, a tail, and to my surprise even it's egg-tooth!

I have a new plan which I have high hopes for which I will try next laying season. I will also have a camera setup so we can all see each days progression and will put together a time lapse of all 90 days (assuming it gets that far but I'm optimistic!). I am so very curious to see what happens from Day 60-90. Until next time... I'm very sad for this little guy/gal but I learned a lot and look forward to try #3. Thanks for the support everyone!
 

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orv

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On day 52 the yolk broke down as it did in my first attempt but the vein structure was still in tact and the tortoise was still alive so although concerned, I still had hope. Day 55 I noticed no movement from the tortoise which was very odd considering it was always following me with its eyes and head and would be kicking its legs. I gave it a day and on Day 56 confirmed it had passed. Here are some pictures that some may find disturbing so if you are easily offended or get grossed out then by all means don't click. These pictures are for educational purposes to see how much it had progressed in such a short time from Day 50 to Day 56. As of Day 55 (when I'm assuming it stopped progressing) it had a skeletal structure, shell, all four legs and even tiny paws, a tail, and to my surprise even it's egg-tooth!

I have a new plan which I have high hopes for which I will try next laying season. I will also have a camera setup so we can all see each days progression and will put together a time lapse of all 90 days (assuming it gets that far but I'm optimistic!). I am so very curious to see what happens from Day 60-90. Until next time... I'm very sad for this little guy/gal but I learned a lot and look forward to try #3. Thanks for the support everyone!
The beauty of life! Thank you for your effort.
 

wellington

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Awww, so sad he didn't make it. Sure gave it a good try. Hopefully next time. The camera will be a great addition.
 

Tom

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What do you think went wrong, and what are you doing different next time?

Judging by how thin and brittle the egg shell gets by the end of incubation, might the lack of available calcium, due to the shell not being there, be a factor here?
 

Markw84

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My thoughts follow @Tom 's in that there is necessary minerals in the eggshell that are needed once the embryo gets to the stage where bone structure starts to grow. Up until the point your embryo is, most all skeletal structure is still mainly cartilage type structure and then the mineralization of the bones begin and calcium demand goes up significantly. Later demands may also effect your efforts as gas exchange seems to be required at later stages. My thoughts are that will chicken eggs (where this has been done before) the yolk can probably carry enough calcium and minerals to satify early bone development. And indeed the structure of the eggshell itself needs to be kept stronger as the mother continually turns the egg up until hatching. A tortoise would have a much greater calcium/mineral need for developement and the structural strength of the eggshell is not of great importance - so the eggshell itself become a good deal of that source.

Your embryo also seems to be behind developmentally for day 56 in some areas. With a "normal" incubation of 86-90 days, day 56 would be expected to be at stage 21 of chelonian development. Carapace scutes would already be visible and the pigmentation in the carapace would have started. In your embryo we can only see the beginnings of the skeletal components still at this age. This perhaps points to a lack of some vital minerals.

I love your experiment here, and followed it with great interest. I cannot figure out how this can be done because of the issues mentioned above, but love to see any insights you uncover with continued efforts.
 
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What do you think went wrong, and what are you doing different next time?

Judging by how thin and brittle the egg shell gets by the end of incubation, might the lack of available calcium, due to the shell not being there, be a factor here?
Bump, would there be anyway to add calcium to the developing embryo without the shell? How is it absorbed by the embryo when the hatch date is approaching?
When people have successfully done this, was it with sulcata eggs?
So many questions and so intriguing, keep it up.
 

sahturtle

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that no shell should see more days if there change or no change then well it is done .
 

Arizona Sulcata

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What do you think went wrong, and what are you doing different next time?

Judging by how thin and brittle the egg shell gets by the end of incubation, might the lack of available calcium, due to the shell not being there, be a factor here?
I think that with it growing so rapidly in a 4-5 day span I don't think the plastic wrap offered enough structure to support the yolk. It expanded past the little nook it had been in and that caused the vein structure to collapse. I am going with something more rigid in the future, probably something I design myself and then putting plastic wrap over that.

I totally get the calcium concerns but it has been done with a turtle before and nothing was added and that's what I was going off of. I suppose next try I can crush up some of the shell and add it to the cup.

Keep in mind this was sort of a last second attempt to save some eggs that otherwise had no chance. It wasn't planned or thought out and I just went off of what I had seen done previously. Next laying season will be much more planned out with different methods tested.
 

CarolM

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On day 52 the yolk broke down as it did in my first attempt but the vein structure was still in tact and the tortoise was still alive so although concerned, I still had hope. Day 55 I noticed no movement from the tortoise which was very odd considering it was always following me with its eyes and head and would be kicking its legs. I gave it a day and on Day 56 confirmed it had passed. Here are some pictures that some may find disturbing so if you are easily offended or get grossed out then by all means don't click. These pictures are for educational purposes to see how much it had progressed in such a short time from Day 50 to Day 56. As of Day 55 (when I'm assuming it stopped progressing) it had a skeletal structure, shell, all four legs and even tiny paws, a tail, and to my surprise even it's egg-tooth!

I have a new plan which I have high hopes for which I will try next laying season. I will also have a camera setup so we can all see each days progression and will put together a time lapse of all 90 days (assuming it gets that far but I'm optimistic!). I am so very curious to see what happens from Day 60-90. Until next time... I'm very sad for this little guy/gal but I learned a lot and look forward to try #3. Thanks for the support everyone!
Oh that is so sad. I am sorry it didn't work all the way to the end this time. But I am so very glad that you shared it with us and will definitly be following your progress next time around.
 

daniellenc

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Man I was so hoping it made it but definitely interesting and worth another try! With success eventually cracked eggs wouldn’t be such a big deal so fingers crossed for next year!
 

Tom

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I think that with it growing so rapidly in a 4-5 day span I don't think the plastic wrap offered enough structure to support the yolk. It expanded past the little nook it had been in and that caused the vein structure to collapse. I am going with something more rigid in the future, probably something I design myself and then putting plastic wrap over that.

I totally get the calcium concerns but it has been done with a turtle before and nothing was added and that's what I was going off of. I suppose next try I can crush up some of the shell and add it to the cup.

Keep in mind this was sort of a last second attempt to save some eggs that otherwise had no chance. It wasn't planned or thought out and I just went off of what I had seen done previously. Next laying season will be much more planned out with different methods tested.
Fascinating stuff. I look forward to seeing what we can learn.
 

Av8ersperk

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Everything necessary to grow an embryo is inside an egg. What’s the difference between a live bearer or egg born embryo? The shell vs the umbilical cord. Otherwise everything is the same & all needed is the gas / oxygen exchange. The umbilical cord does this through the placenta. The egg does this through the porous calcium egg shell. Any suggestions how this may be replicated?
 
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