Russian tortoise baby hatched early with huge egg sac - ok now.

biochemnerd808

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Ok, today I want to share with you the somewhat scary beginning of our Russian tortoise Hatchling#3. I wanted to wait to be sure there was a happy ending. Rest assured, all is well now! (I posted this on my blog too, so please excuse if you see this twice).


Baby#3, healthy and chipper now

First, I want to thank Melissa (@kanalomele), who helped me and advised and encouraged me... at 10pm! She deserves a huge hug.

I wanted to share this, first because I think it's just amazing how nature is set up, and second, because I am amazed at how robust these wee babies actually are, given the proper care.

First, here is a picture of a normal hatchling's cute fat little belly a few hours after hatching. It is normal for baby tortoises to hatch with a small yolk sac still hanging out of their belly button. This then absorbs within a few days, and baby can go its merry way.

A normal hatchling's fat little belly. This is Baby#2.
Well, when I saw Baby#3 was pipping, I moved the egg to the container in the incubator with a moist paper towel. I did this because I was going to be busy, and didn't want baby to hatch onto the incubation substrate and possibly ingest some or get some stuck on its belly. In retrospect, I am so glad I did this!
I checked on it sequentially, and saw first a little head and leg... and then I checked back in a few hours later, and saw baby RT#3 out of the egg, but with a big orange thing under its belly. Yikes!

I carefully took the baby out to investigate, and oh dear, it looked terrible! The yolk sac was huge, and there was some kind of pink thing on the end of it!

I contacted Melissa (who knows a lot more about tortoises and breeding than I do), and she assured me that this happens, and that it will probably absorb, with proper care. Baby should have probably stayed in the egg for a few more days, but might have kicked a hole in the egg while turning, which resulted in a premature hatch.
To take the pressure off the yolk sac, I made a little donut pillow out of a moist paper towel, and put baby on it, with the yolk sac in the middle. This way the baby's body weight wouldn't be squishing the sac. The moisture protected the membranes.

I then covered baby with a second moist paper towel, since babies like to feel covered. I closed the incubator, said a silent prayer, and went to bed. I knew the best thing for baby was to be left alone now.

The next morning I shone a light into the incubator, but didn't open it. Baby was still on its donut pillow, but it moved a leg and opened its eyes when I shone the light in. It was alive!

Towards late afternoon, I checked again, and baby had moved off of its little donut. I decided now was a good time to check on baby - and was amazed to see that most of the yolk sac really had absorbed.

I soaked baby in some warm water, and placed it back in the incubator in the container with moist towels. She was chipper, and walked around, even climbed up and over her little donut, which she no longer needed.

Over the following days I continued to just leave her alone, except to soak her for 20mins each day. The yolk sac continued to absorb. The following pic is about 36 hours after hatching.

Here is Baby#3, when I was confident she would be OK!

Now the yolk sac is fully absorbed, and the little umbilical wound is almost completely closed. The little pink 'tag' has gone inside now, too. She is going to be just fine.

Also, interesting fact: She flipped herself back onto her belly all by herself right after I took this picture.
Welcome to the world, little RT Baby#3!


...watch out, she'll charm the socks off of you!

Ps: I refer to this baby as 'she' and 'her' based on the fact that the incubation temperatures were high. Tortoises can be temperature sexed, with higher temperatures resulting in females, lower temperatures resulting in males. There is no guarantee, but it is VERY LIKELY that this is a female.
 

Flipper

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OMG! That was an amazing learning experience :)

And those pics were fabulous! :<3:

I never realized they had belly buttons :D

Thanks :tort:
 

kanalomele

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I just wanted to stop back in here and thank @biochemnerd808 for tagging me. It is easy to go unappreciated in a forum like this where so many knowledgeable people are giving advice and offering guideance on these issues. I appreciate the acknowledgement and especially so when the results are just so outstanding as a healthy hatchling! May this little one have a long and healthy life! I am humbled to have been a small part of that.
 

Carol S

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Thanks for sharing. The information and pictures were great. Now if this happens to one of my hatchlings I will know what to do
 

BlakeATX

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Austin Texas
This recently happened to one of my hatchlings and I was so happy to find this post so I knew what to do! Thanks!!
 

TaylorTortoise

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Joined
Mar 24, 2020
Messages
807
Location (City and/or State)
Abington
Ok, today I want to share with you the somewhat scary beginning of our Russian tortoise Hatchling#3. I wanted to wait to be sure there was a happy ending. Rest assured, all is well now! (I posted this on my blog too, so please excuse if you see this twice).


Baby#3, healthy and chipper now

First, I want to thank Melissa (@kanalomele), who helped me and advised and encouraged me... at 10pm! She deserves a huge hug.

I wanted to share this, first because I think it's just amazing how nature is set up, and second, because I am amazed at how robust these wee babies actually are, given the proper care.

First, here is a picture of a normal hatchling's cute fat little belly a few hours after hatching. It is normal for baby tortoises to hatch with a small yolk sac still hanging out of their belly button. This then absorbs within a few days, and baby can go its merry way.

A normal hatchling's fat little belly. This is Baby#2.
Well, when I saw Baby#3 was pipping, I moved the egg to the container in the incubator with a moist paper towel. I did this because I was going to be busy, and didn't want baby to hatch onto the incubation substrate and possibly ingest some or get some stuck on its belly. In retrospect, I am so glad I did this!
I checked on it sequentially, and saw first a little head and leg... and then I checked back in a few hours later, and saw baby RT#3 out of the egg, but with a big orange thing under its belly. Yikes!

I carefully took the baby out to investigate, and oh dear, it looked terrible! The yolk sac was huge, and there was some kind of pink thing on the end of it!

I contacted Melissa (who knows a lot more about tortoises and breeding than I do), and she assured me that this happens, and that it will probably absorb, with proper care. Baby should have probably stayed in the egg for a few more days, but might have kicked a hole in the egg while turning, which resulted in a premature hatch.
To take the pressure off the yolk sac, I made a little donut pillow out of a moist paper towel, and put baby on it, with the yolk sac in the middle. This way the baby's body weight wouldn't be squishing the sac. The moisture protected the membranes.

I then covered baby with a second moist paper towel, since babies like to feel covered. I closed the incubator, said a silent prayer, and went to bed. I knew the best thing for baby was to be left alone now.

The next morning I shone a light into the incubator, but didn't open it. Baby was still on its donut pillow, but it moved a leg and opened its eyes when I shone the light in. It was alive!

Towards late afternoon, I checked again, and baby had moved off of its little donut. I decided now was a good time to check on baby - and was amazed to see that most of the yolk sac really had absorbed.

I soaked baby in some warm water, and placed it back in the incubator in the container with moist towels. She was chipper, and walked around, even climbed up and over her little donut, which she no longer needed.

Over the following days I continued to just leave her alone, except to soak her for 20mins each day. The yolk sac continued to absorb. The following pic is about 36 hours after hatching.

Here is Baby#3, when I was confident she would be OK!

Now the yolk sac is fully absorbed, and the little umbilical wound is almost completely closed. The little pink 'tag' has gone inside now, too. She is going to be just fine.

Also, interesting fact: She flipped herself back onto her belly all by herself right after I took this picture.
Welcome to the world, little RT Baby#3!


...watch out, she'll charm the socks off of you!

Ps: I refer to this baby as 'she' and 'her' based on the fact that the incubation temperatures were high. Tortoises can be temperature sexed, with higher temperatures resulting in females, lower temperatures resulting in males. There is no guarantee, but it is VERY LIKELY that this is a female.
Higher temps results in female tortoises? So if you want male sex, do you have to use lower temps?
 
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