More Russian Tortoise eggies!

biochemnerd808

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This last month has been very rewarding in the tortoise egg department. Three of my Russian tortoise females laid eggs for the first time. Mila laid one single but large egg outside. Lady laid 3 beautiful eggs outside a couple weeks later, and today my HUGE (9"SCL) female Amber laid eggs for the first time, too.


(pic above: Lady, digging a nest hole outside, and in the pic below, her 3 eggs)

Amber has been pacing and digging test nests outdoors for a few weeks, but nothing quite seemed to please her. She was covered by a male for the first time in August, so she may have not been nesting seriously yet. However, last week the weather got cold and I had to bring the tortoises inside. Within a day, Amber started digging nest holes again. The substrate in her tortoise table is generous, but not deep enough to dig a nest hole (6"+ deep), so I added 1.5 more bags of ACE topsoil to provide her with deep enough substrate (have I mentioned she is a BIG girl?!).

Well, she got really serious about digging nest holes yesterday, and again this morning, and finally this afternoon she laid 2 big, beautiful eggs. One weighs 34g, one weighs 30g (the big one came first). She was absolutely exhausted after that. After a good soak she is now dug in for the night.


(pic above: Amber digging her nest hole by the basking spot, and her eggs)

This means I currently have 6 eggs in the incubator, due to hatch ever 2 weeks starting October 15th-ish. Things will be busy in the hatchling care department this Fall!

For new keepers, I should mention that breeding Russian tortoises is more involved than just throwing together a male and a female. This was the first year I got eggs, and I believe there is a direct correlation with the following factors:
  1. The tortoises hibernated this winter
  2. The tortoises spent the Spring and Summer outside. This means they had LOTS of space to roam, good fresh and varied food, and plenty of natural sunshine.
  3. I added a second male to my 6 girls. Roz is a cutie, but he strangely is only interested in my Timmy girl. He ignores other females. The new captive-bred male Duke is a rapist is not as choosy. Clearly he has "done his job" fertilizing these eggs.
  4. The tortoises had constant access to cuttlefish bone, which they helped themselves to generously.
  5. The females (and males) are in excellent health, and at a good, healthy weight.
As mentioned in previous posts, males can be very aggressive towards females, and so care must be taken to protect the females from constant male attention. A ratio of 3 females per 1 male is recommended for the sake of the female's sanity. Even then, it may become necessary to separate the male temporarily or permanently.


(pic above: One of this Spring's hatchlings)

Stay tuned for hatch announcements, which are sure to come throughout the next weeks and months!
 

Earth Mama

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Awesome! I know you said the big female is 9" but I'm wondering how big are your other laying females? I'm considering trying to breed my male and female Russians in the spring (on a limited basis) since I only have one of each and they are housed separately). My female is 6" and I'm not sure if she is large enough to breed.

This is just a thought so I have no concrete plans to do this at this time. Thanks :)
 

Yellow Turtle01

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Congrats on so many eggs! Will they lay more? I hope everything works out for them...
So just guessing, but Duke is probably the 'main' father? ;)
 

Tom

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I missed this thread last night Katie. I'm so happy for you. Congrats and thank you for the helpful tips and info. You set a fine example! Now good luck with all the eggs.
 

biochemnerd808

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@Earth Mama - my Timmy girl is just shy of 7" and Lady is 7.5"... little Mila is just barely over 6" and laid just 1 egg (though it was large!). It probably depends on the female, as well as on the male. One of my females is 8", but she is so good at bucking the male off that I don't think she has been fertilized yet.
 

biochemnerd808

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Congrats on so many eggs! Will they lay more? I hope everything works out for them...
So just guessing, but Duke is probably the 'main' father? ;)

Except for Timmy Girl, Duke is most likely the father. Roz is a little weirdo who only is interested in Timmy. Even if I put him solo with another female, he just ignores her, for days. If I put him with the other girls, he makes a B-line for Timmy. I even got a female with similar shape and coloring, and he STILL goes for Timmy. Duke, on the other hand, can go all day... he actually spends a decent amount of time in solitary confinement because he is so amorous...
 

Jodie

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Except for Timmy Girl, Duke is most likely the father. Roz is a little weirdo who only is interested in Timmy. Even if I put him solo with another female, he just ignores her, for days. If I put him with the other girls, he makes a B-line for Timmy. I even got a female with similar shape and coloring, and he STILL goes for Timmy. Duke, on the other hand, can go all day... he actually spends a decent amount of time in solitary confinement because he is so amorous...
This guy knows what he wants. Lol a discriminating tortoise.
 

Jabuticaba

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Congrats!


May
THBs: Darwin & Merlin
Aussies: Dax, Vegas, & Cricket
IG: @AUSSOMEAUSSIES
 

biochemnerd808

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I have never conducted any breeding experimentation but have always been curious. What are the ages of your females?

I don't know their ages, as my RTs are all Craigslist tortoises. Duke is CB, he hatched Summer 2005. The others are at least 8 years old, probably older. Timmy and Amber are probably closer to 25 or 30. I go by size - the laying females are mostly 7" or larger, Mila being the exception, at just over 6" - it is developing though! Veins and a little shadow, and due to hatch in 2-3 weeks.
 

Yellow Turtle01

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Talk about a one sided relationship! :eek: Sounds like Timmy was kind 'taking advantage' of Roz... 'for the species', if you know what I mean... ;) I do hope all those gorgeous eggs have little gorgeous babies that will do just fabulous... :D
 

Magilla504

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Thanks for the info. I have always been interested in maybe breeding my Russians but wasn't sure of the age that females needed to be. Do you know the rough age they start and finish laying them? I do understand that their environment plays a huge part
Thanks!
 
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