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RE: Letting nature take its course....

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Posted by: tglazie at Tue Apr 15 17:56:16 2008  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by tglazie ]  
   

I've never been one to argue for natural incubation, especially if the animal is not a native of the captive climate. However, I do have a friend who has successfully done this with russian tortoises. He keeps a colony of fifteen tortoises in his backyard in Alamogordo, NM (12 females, three males), and every spring he sees hatchlings rise up from the dirt after spending the winter in their nests. I've found russian eggs average three months in the incubator, but my friend Alex says that his generally average six to seven (keeping in mind that the youngsters probably hatch, then spend several months hidden from the cold). His females generally lay in late spring, and the hatchlings usually perk up in late winter/early spring. He has even seen some break ground during mid-winter warm spells.

Despite his success, however, he has also been vexed by many failures. When he first started breeding russians ten years ago (when he only had a small colony of one male, two females), skunks and weasels generally made short work of his nests, digging them up in the middle of the night. If ever there was a heavy rain storm, flooding usually eliminated the clutch with mold/drowning. He also had problems when his females grew larger and laid multiple clutches during the increasingly warm climate; notably, they would dig into nests they had dug during the previous three months, breaking their own eggs in the process. Having experienced all of these things, Alex now places bricks around his nests following egg deposition, over which he fastens a screen. This stops the predators and forgetful females from digging up the eggs.

As for sulcata eggs, I've never heard of any success with it. But, why not try it? THere are far too many sulcatas on the market anyway, so why not experiment.

T.G.


   

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<< Previous Message:  Letting nature take its course.... - krim5, Tue Apr 15 17:41:43 2008