Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Jan 23, 2008
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
I thought I'd put up a pictorial on how I prepare my eggs for incubation. This is not the only way to do it, it's just the way I do it. I've been fairly successful hatching leopard eggs using this method.

First - mama tortoise:

Eggs a.jpg

Last night as I was making my evening rounds and making sure everyone was put away, I saw this tortoise in nest-digging mode. I marked the spot on the fence beside her so I could find it exactly in the morning. This a.m. she was all finished, the nest covered and she was resting next to the area. I set her in the sun, as she was pretty cold. You can still see the remnants of mud on the edge of her shell above the back legs. They pee an awful lot into the digging area in order to be able to dig a nice hole, and make the dirt moist for the eggs.

This a.m. when I dug up the eggs, the soil was actually pretty warm to the touch down in the cavity.

The eggs:
eggs b.jpg

I don't wash them off, but rather I just lightly scrub the dirt off with a dry paper towel. I don't know if it holds true for tortoise eggs, but when I was raising ducks and chickens, I learned that the mucous deposited during the egg laying process by the mother is actually a protective coating and shouldn't be washed off.

eggs c.jpg

I get my supplies - a plastic shoe box, some vermiculite and some sphagnum moss.

eggs d.jpg

I nestle the eggs down into the moist vermiculite:
eggs f.jpg

I like to have the eggs touching each other. That way they communicate when they're hatching. Because I have so many eggs in incubators, I write the date I started the incubation process on one of the eggs. I also have an EXCEL spreadsheet where I keep the record of all the eggs in the incubators, when they hatch, how many in the clutch hatch, etc.

Then I soak the moss so it absorbs water:
eggs e.jpg

I take a handful of the wet moss and wring it all out so it's just barely damp, and I lightly cover the eggs with the moss:
eggs h.jpg

And I place them into an incubator with a container of water to keep up the humidity:
eggs i.jpg

Now we just wait. It is my experience that some hatch in three months, some take longer. Some hatch one at a time, some hatch all at the same time. It's a crap shoot.