Star breeding questions and observations


New Member
Sep 14, 2018
Location (City and/or State)
Sri Lanka
Hi guys,

Having had my male star for a good 20+ years I was thinking of getting some tortoise offspring for my offspring so he too will have a lifetime pet, or 2. But being in Sri Lanka due to their threatened state I don’t wish to pick up any stars from the wild. It’s also illegal sell them in shops here. So the only choice is to breed them. So I got a female on loan. She’s a captive bred around 4 years and exactly 5 pounds. I’ve placed her in my backyard which is about 1000 sqft with lots of natural plants and grass and weeds and she’s eating there’s no tomorrow.

Whenever the males with her he’s chasing her constantly only backing down to sleep.

My issues and observations are as follows,

1. To seperate or not to seperate? I’ve been reading a lot of conflicting theories on the forum. Some say keep them for sometime and they’ll get along fine, while most say keeping them together is trouble. I kept them together at first but the female kept escaping the enclosure so I keep them together every other day for about 12 hours. Do they need to stay together all the time to accept each other?

2. Most of the time the male sniffs out the female and chases her but no mating happens. He can stay at it for hours. Interestingly I’ve observed the male sometimes coming around to the front of the female when she stops where they stare at each other for a few minutes almost as if their discussing their terms (no head bobbing like in other species) after which the male returns to the back of the female and mounts her.

3. More mating happens after some aggression (in star terms). Sometimes the female gets cornered in a narrow end of the yard and she pushes the male to get out. The male also pushes her back and one usually gets pushed over the other. After this the male chases the female to the other end of the yard and they mate several times in a short time span.

4. I’ve used the word mounting instead mating because I don’t see any penetration happening. Everytime I’ve watched them closely the males tail is wagging slowly while he’s on top of the female as if it’s searching for the females cloaca. His phallus is also never visible during this act but he grunts and retracts into the shell as if he’s mating. I normally check the female for any signs of entry and it was only today that I saw some wetness around her cloaca.

5. There’s a small wet spot on the ground (abound 2 inches long and 1/2” wide) where the males tail was after mounting. Sometimes he discharges a cloudy liquid that looks like sperm when he’s chasing or circling the female. Sometimes it’s a lot of urates.

6. The male also has no experience as he came to us at a young age and was flashing a year or so later. So he’s never been with a female. Also his organ protrudes out only about an inch when he flashes during baths. Is something wrong with him? Also he used to have nice spurs on his tail. Now they are worn to his skin.

7. The female has worn scutes at the back indicating that she’s seen some action previously. After all she came from 5 male + 2 female group which is crazy. Is this having an effect on her? No clue how the other female is surviving with the 5 males now that this ones with me. I can always swap the two females if necessary. The other female is wild caught specimen with a traumatic past. She was captured for meat and beaten with a club. Her carapace is slightly caved in from the beating. Fortunately for her the guy who tried to butcher her couldn’t open her up and therefore was offered to my aunt. Now she pees everytime someone so much tries to pick her up probably due to a tortoise form of PTSD. She’s 30+ and still lays from what I gather.

8. Most of the natural conditions are met except for rains. We are going through a dry spell in Sri Lanka. Oh wait! It just started raining. What a coincidence.

9. The male doesn’t care about food at all when he’s with the female. Not even when I offer his favorite okra. The female is happy to eat it off my hand even when she’s being chased. She eats more in the presence of the male probably due to competition, even while mating takes place

10. At first they were sleeping next to each other. Now the male goes to bed as soon as it gets dark and female sleeps elsewhere. So I don’t believe there’s bullying per se.

11. Getting additional tortoises to create competition is not an option. So I need to make it work with just two.

12. Do Not apply coconut oil on a breeding female. Her she’ll will be too slippery for the female to mount.

So is this normal? What changes should I make? Thanks in advance.