Odd beheavior - laying eggs?

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phiraphon

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Bruin, my female Sulcata started her odd behavier in the last couple days. Two days ago she dug a big hole right in the middle of the yard. She dug holes here and there in the past but always something right next to the wall. THis time is right in the middle of the yard. Then this morning, while it is cold (50F+)and damp here in So.Cal. she was already out pacing back and forth back between the new hole and different locations in the yard. She usually never came out of their house if it is this cold, and not this early. Now she just stay on top of the new hole.
Is this can be egg laying beheavior? Sorry, I adopted them not too long ago and if it is, this will be my first experience with egg laying.
1. Do they usually lay during cold and damp days like right now?
2. Do they have breeding season. If they are, when?
3. If she lays, I defenitely have to incubate them because they are raoming free in my back yard and I have 3 dogs that might eat those eggs. How do you clean those eggs before put in incubator? What temperature I should keep them at. I have everything ready, just want to make sure I will do the right thing.
Thank you so much for all help...
Peter, Bruin (female) & Mikey (Male) :)
 

Tom

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Sorry, I missed your thread a few days ago.

Yes, it sounds like typical female behavior just before laying.
1. and 2.Yes, usually torts that live outside in SoCal lay around this time. Mine lay at the end of Jan. usually. This is so that the babies hatch out at the beginning of spring, when the weather is warmer and the grazing is good.
3. You don't need to clean the eggs. Just carefully remove them from the nest hole and don't rotate them at all. I bury mine about 3/4 deep in damp vermiculite. Incubate them at 85-86 for mostly males or 88-89 for mostly females. They hatch in 3-4 months.

Once your babies hatch, keep them in a plastic shoe box with damp paper towels and the lid on, in a warm area, or in the incubator, while they absorb their yolk sack. Then move them to an enclosure with a damp substrate, humid hide box and shallow water bowl. Do not keep them on dry rabbit pellets like most breeders do.
 

phiraphon

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Tom said:
Sorry, I missed your thread a few days ago.

Yes, it sounds like typical female behavior just before laying.
1. and 2.Yes, usually torts that live outside in SoCal lay around this time. Mine lay at the end of Jan. usually. This is so that the babies hatch out at the beginning of spring, when the weather is warmer and the grazing is good.
3. You don't need to clean the eggs. Just carefully remove them from the nest hole and don't rotate them at all. I bury mine about 3/4 deep in damp vermiculite. Incubate them at 85-86 for mostly males or 88-89 for mostly females. They hatch in 3-4 months.

Once your babies hatch, keep them in a plastic shoe box with damp paper towels and the lid on, in a warm area, or in the incubator, while they absorb their yolk sack. Then move them to an enclosure with a damp substrate, humid hide box and shallow water bowl. Do not keep them on dry rabbit pellets like most breeders do.

Thanks Tom.
Yeap, she laid 16 eggs yesterday!! I am thrilled. The moment that I saw her dropped the first egg was unforgettable. This is the first time that I ever observed the whole egg laying thing. It was beautiful.
I did exactly what you recommended with the eggs. I have one question on humidity. How damp of vermiculite it should be? If I spray water on top of the eggs and vermiculite every morning, would that be enough?

Thank you so much Tom for your help.
Peter T.
 

Jacqui

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Congrats! Isn't it just totally fascinating to watch them deposit their eggs? Of course, I find just about everything about them fascinating. :rolleyes::D
 

Tom

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Isn't that just the best? 16 for her first clutch? That's fantastic. You must take great care of them.

I pre-wet my vermiculite to a ratio of 1:1 by WEIGHT. That's 1 gram of water for every one gram of vermiculite. I maintain it by feel for the duration of the incubation. I usually don't have to add very much water very often. Just really makes sure things aren't too dry when they are about due to hatch. And I wouldn't spray water directly on the eggs. Just drip it around them periodically if needed. In a covered incubator, you shouldn't need to do this very often.

Which type of incubator are you using? I've got three of them going right now and I really am not finding much difference or preference. I've got a Little Giant, Hovabator, and the new Zoo-Med one. They all work and they all hold a steady temp.

I can't wait to see pics of the babies!

Oh yeah, sometimes, but not always, the first clutch or two will have lower fertility. Just be prepared for that. And don't stop incubating until all the eggs have either rotted or blown up, even if its 6 months from now. Sometimes strange things happen.

...and just for easy reference, here's what I like to do with hatchlings:
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/Thread-How-To-Raise-Sulcata-Hatchlings-and-Babies#axzz1FOi4eLC4
 

phiraphon

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Hi Tom and everyone,
I am using Avitec incubator. It's look like a water cooler one. I actually got it for my baby birds.
Oops, I have been spraying directly since yesterday, oh well hope they are okay. I caught her when she just about to get done with laying so I didn't weight vermiculite/water ratio. I just spray the water until vermiculite got really damp before started put those egss down, so that another oops.
At what day that I can start candle those eggs, Tom?
Thanks again,
 

Tom

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I'm terrible at candling. I can never see anything until just before they hatch when the egg just looks solid and full. They say by 10 days you can see signs. Then more and more after that.

I'd start a new thread asking those with lots of breeding experience to give you some candling tips.
 
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