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Egg laying active pair no eggs

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#1 Guest_Biogenesis_*

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Posted 15 August 2005 - 02:21 AM

I recently had two spur thigh tortoises T.graeca which we allowed to couple for breeding purposes.
They were very active to say the least and as we have a large garden where the female can avoid the males continual advances we allowed them to stay together.

Both tortoises are spur thighed but very differently marked, the male having a darker colouration. He is also slightly larger which I know is unusual for most tortoise species.

1/despite their continual efforts we have seen no eggs.
Could it be that they are a differing sub-species of T.graeca and incompatible?

2/Also I have read recently that the female can retain Eggs, what kind of surface would she require to lay them??
we have loose soil in the garden but she has never bothered with it.

3/The final variable is age, we picked the female up as an unwanted pet over 20 years ago and have no idea how old she is.
Is there a tortoise menopause that could be preventing here from laying eggs?

4/ does anyone have a rough idea of how much an X-ray would cost to find these this out???

Any information would be greatly appreciated

#2 Guest_arnhib_*

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Posted 15 August 2005 - 05:30 PM

Hello Gwalch
So many questions.
1/ I am assuming they are adult tortoises of more than 10/15 years of age. So long as the male is not inflicting any seriuos wounds to the female and her shell is not being damaged then that's OK
The conditions need to be right fo a tortoise to lay her eggs, if you continually get warm weather, such as in the south east of England then you are probably ok, but if you are more northen, I.E. above the Watford gap and I think you are.
You need to provide a nest for her, about a 2' circle and about 1' deep.
I have John Innes number 3 in mine

A greenhouse with electric in, suspend a pig lamp with a 250 watt WHITE infra red bulb (WHITE) about 18" to 2' above some soft moist warm soil, keep it moist at all times but not wet like mud, she must be able to dig in it but not have mud sticking to her feet

2/ Yes a female can retain eggs for upto 3 years, in the wild she may not see another tortoise in that time, so nature has provided her with a full proof system.
In captivity there is no garuantee that the next years eggs will be fertile, but she can still lay the next year.
Even when she has been with a male there is still no garuantee they will be fertile.

3/ I would imagine a tortoise could lay till she's about 60/70 I'm not sure on that one, but they live longer than Humans so the menopause, if they have one, would come much later. :-)

4/ An x-ray depends on the vet, best to phone and ask, but no more than 40 I would think
Hope this helps
My turn for a question
How are you going to incubate the eggs if you get some?

#3 Guest_Biogenesis_*

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Posted 17 August 2005 - 08:06 AM

The male is quite calm in his seduction techniques (well for a tortoise anyway) and he very rarely bites her, also the female generally submits quite soon to his advances so has never been damaged through their courtship. As I said she also has plenty of room to leg it if she has a headache :D .

As for the eggs we have purchased an incubator/plant propagator, but to be honest I'm not really sure how we will use it or if it is suitable.
I have been reading that the correct humidity is important as well as temperature and have signed up to a course recommended by the tortoise trust to try and get more information on this.
Just in case we are blessed with eggs.

In the 20 years we have had her she has never laid eggs though, if they can only be retained for 3 years she may well be to old to produce them. Presuming a female tortoise will lay infertile eggs even without the presence of a male ?

I live in the south of Wales near Cardiff so we are about on par with the Watford gap.
It is alot more humid here though but still warm in the summer.

Thanks for you help

#4 Guest_arnhib_*

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Posted 17 August 2005 - 09:11 PM

Go to
Some good tips about incubation ideas

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