EGG INCUBATION TEMPERATURE

Carol S

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What is the lowest temperature Russian tortoise eggs need to hatch?

The reason I ask is because today Chloe decided to lay her eggs in the big cave that she has in the enclosure. The cave is made out of cement blocks with giant pavers on top with dirt and rocks on top of the pavers. I managed to get the eggs out and they are going in the incubator tomorrow when the incubator has stabilized its temperature.

I knew she had been looking for the perfect nesting spot for the last couple of days because she was digging test nests. I was off from work today and was keeping an eye on her and another tortoise who was acting like she wanted to lay eggs. I found Chloe in the cave, all the way in the back corner, laying her eggs. I am wondering if the cave would be warm enough for eggs to hatch should she decide to lay more eggs there in the future.

I still cannot believe I got the eggs out without breaking them, however, my arm and back feel like they are broken. LOL.
 

tglazie

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Very interesting question. I don't have an answer, unfortunately, but I would like to know. My big marginated Lady Gino emerged from brumation a few weeks back, and today I just introduced her to Little Gino, who successfully managed to mate with her within twenty minutes. It was rather amusing how quickly it ended, given that once he was done, he was done. I mean, he dismounted, looked around, obviously exhausted, and acted like she wasn't even there. I mean, he walked back to his night house and went to sleep. Not to say that I blame him, though several stereotypes of human male post copulatory behavior were going through my mind, but given that the courtship leading up to the mating was so fierce, Little Gino's actions made a lot of sense. Lady Gino didn't want to deal with him in the slightest, but he was biting at her face, her legs. At one point, she turned around and charged him, getting underneath him and nearly sending him onto his back. I mean, it was knock down and drag out. But once he managed to get into position and complete the act, he was totally wiped out.

Apologies for explaining that so graphically. Quite the aside. Anyway, I've been curious about minimum temps as well, given that Lady Gino usually lays in April or early May, when the temps here are still rather variable. I mean, last year, we had a freeze in late April, in South Texas of all places. But yeah, can the eggs sustain that sort of shock and still remain viable? I don't know. But I would love to find out.

T.G.
 

Tom

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Bump.

I wanna know too.

Carol, I'll bet the ground in that shelter never gets above the 70s even in the heat of summer. I don't know if russian eggs will develop in temps that cool or not.
 

HLogic

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Initially low temperatures should not be an issue. The eggs would not have had time (from your description) to have done any development between laying and being put in the incubator 2 - 3 days days later. I have torts that regularly lay eggs when the temp is 50 °F and the nests are not always found immediately. It does not seem to change the incubation period or hatch rate even though they have been at sub-70 ° temps for a few days.
 

Tom

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Initially low temperatures should not be an issue. The eggs would not have had time (from your description) to have done any development between laying and being put in the incubator 2 - 3 days days later. I have torts that regularly lay eggs when the temp is 50 °F and the nests are not always found immediately. It does not seem to change the incubation period or hatch rate even though they have been at sub-70 ° temps for a few days.

I leave my sulcata eggs in the ground until June. They start laying in Dec or Jan. Overnight lows are typically in the 30's and sometimes below freezing. Day time highs vary between 55 and 85 typically. Ground temps are right around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. When I used to dig them up immediately and put them in the incubator my hatch rates were averaging around 80%. After leaving them in the ground with the cold temps for several months my hatch rates jumped to 100%. I hatched 210 out of 212 including a dozen cracked or broken eggs. The two that did not hatch were broken ones.

Having said all of that, I think Carol's question is not whether those low temps will harm the eggs, but whether they will eventually develop and hatch if left in the ground in the covered shelter? What is the lowest temperature that Russian eggs will develop and hatch at?
 

HLogic

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They may eventually hatch at the lower temp in the hide but I suspect the incubation time would be significantly longer.
 

Markw84

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Interesting question. My bet is a certain number of hours at least near the low 80's is necessary to develop. Since chelonians need to bask to themoregulate and get their body temps up in the 80s to metabolize food - It would seem a similar threshold would be necessary for development.
 

Markw84

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I leave my sulcata eggs in the ground until June. They start laying in Dec or Jan. Overnight lows are typically in the 30's and sometimes below freezing. Day time highs vary between 55 and 85 typically. Ground temps are right around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. When I used to dig them up immediately and put them in the incubator my hatch rates were averaging around 80%. After leaving them in the ground with the cold temps for several months my hatch rates jumped to 100%. I hatched 210 out of 212 including a dozen cracked or broken eggs. The two that did not hatch were broken ones.

Having said all of that, I think Carol's question is not whether those low temps will harm the eggs, but whether they will eventually develop and hatch if left in the ground in the covered shelter? What is the lowest temperature that Russian eggs will develop and hatch at?
Tom. I know this is an older post I was looking through but you mention success with cracked eggs. Do you use the liquid bandaid with paper approach? What do you do to seal them? I've had no luck so far and my female seems to crack and dent in a few every time she lays - from dropping on each other
 

Tom

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Tom. I know this is an older post I was looking through but you mention success with cracked eggs. Do you use the liquid bandaid with paper approach? What do you do to seal them? I've had no luck so far and my female seems to crack and dent in a few every time she lays - from dropping on each other

I use nothing. I just put them in the incubator cracked side up.

I had bouts of cracked eggs sometimes too and then other clutches from the same female would have no broken ones. I started bumping up the calcium supplementation for the girls from November to June. Seemed to improve, if not solve the problem.
 
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