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#1 'Lucky' mum

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 11:20 AM

Hello all, am signing in for the first time  :winkgrin:

 

I am currently the happy owner of 4 Hermans girls, all around 14 years old.  We received them through family late in 2012 and we also have one boy around 12 years who is staying with family (girlies needed a rest).  We now also have 1 baby 'Lucky' who will be 1 years old in September.  Lucky came along unexpectedly last year, it was 'Eclipse's' first clutch and Lucky was the only egg that survived intact.  She is doing amazingly well and is such a character.  Will figure out a way to post her piccy shortly.

 

Eclipse and Dillon have been at it again this year and she has successfully laid 6 eggs!  One is that yellowy colour and so doesn't look fertile although I have kept it in the incubator just incase.  The others all look a healthy chalky white and so I am quite hopeful.  I am concerned about one of them however, it has been named 'Torpedo' as it's shape would suggest and I have reason to believe it may be twins.  Having researched online it looks as though there is not much success with twins and some sites suggest tying off the egg sack once the torts hatch, and that is if both torts actually survive.  If one dies before they hatch it could contaminate the egg sack and so the other would draw up all the bad.  Having read this I am really nervous and would appreciate any advice you have.  I would hate to see them in trouble or not survive, even if this can be a natural process when hatching.

 

My other question relates to hibernating, I have been hibernating our tortoises in earth, in a box, in a protected shed.  This seems to work well, except one tort had a white mould growing over her nose when she came up this year.  Would I be better with an earth and sand mix at all?

 

I appreciate any help you can give me xx

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#2 mildredsmam

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 02:34 PM

Hi Lucky mum, welcome to the forum. :)

Regarding the egg, there might not be twins in there, but in case there is Sue is the best to give advice on this. :)

I wouldn't add sand to your soil mix, do you have the soil quite wet in the boxes. :)



#3 'Lucky' mum

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 03:59 PM

Hi Karen

 

Thank you for your welcome and for coming back to me. :D  I do usually put fresh compost into one big box for the torts but it could be that it gets damp, is there anything I could vary the soil with to keep it dryer, straw/hay maybe?

I'm not overly sure on the egg except to say there is room for two there and it does look as though it is whiter at each end and creamier in the middle, suggesting that the egg sack is in the middle and little shells at each end.  That is what it looks like.  Will post a picture of the shape.

 

 

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#4 Beermat89

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 04:05 PM

Hi lucky mum welcome to the fourm :)
My torts came out of hibernation last year with white residue all over them,never had this before but within a few hours of waking them up and bathing them it went!i can only guess the humidity was very high but didnt do them any harm!never use compost as of the fertilizers,use good old soul from the garden or normal topsoil.
Regards matt

#5 'Lucky' mum

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 05:15 PM

Hi Matt, thank you for your welcome and thanks for the advice.  I always thought I was giving them something fresher and cleaner with compost straight out of a bag, but topsoil from a bag would be ok?  Not enough garden soil to go around otherwise  :) Yes I also wiped the white stuff clear and she seemed ok afterwards but it had got up her nose and she was snuffling to try and get rid of it for a day or two.  Was a bit worried that it might have suffocated her somehow, torts must still breathe in hibernation?  None of the other torts had it though.



#6 Freddy

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 06:48 PM

Hi lucky mum and welcome to the forum, :)

It is possible that the organic compost you used was wet and reacted to the humid conditions of your shed causing it to form into white mould or mildew. I have also had this happen using topsoil from my garden. Moreover, compost  is not a very safe substrate to use for tortoises because of its chemical content. Sterilised topsoil is the safest and best substrate to use.  Hope this helps.

Take care.

Freddy



#7 Guest_SueBoyle (was wizzasmum)_*

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 08:10 PM

Hi there and welcome

Well done with the baby and the eggs. Torpedo shaped eggs are common in young females and with elderly first time layers and not in my experience a sign of twins. Twins are usually placed plastron to plastron in the egg and so form the round shape of the eggs.  Torpedo shaped eggs are rarely fertile, but always worth having a go. So long as you are prepared for twins, they are relatively easy to work with. I have had them where one baby did not develop fully, so the other one was tied off and developed normally, but my friend has had a few instances of twins and all survived and went on to be perfectly normal tortoises. How old are the eggs now? Have you candled them at all?  



#8 'Lucky' mum

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 08:19 PM

Hi Freddy, thank you yes that does help.  It seems with torts there is so much that we can assume will be ok and not fully realise any side effects.  I have done so much research into torts since being given them to be re-housed but there is still so much more that I learn each day.  It will put my mind at rest to know that I am giving them the right environment over winter.  Can you buy the topsoil sterilised, is this a standard that you can buy from a garden centre?

 

Many thanks

 

Sue, Lucky's Mum



#9 Freddy

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 08:30 PM

Hi Freddy, thank you yes that does help.  It seems with torts there is so much that we can assume will be ok and not fully realise any side effects.  I have done so much research into torts since being given them to be re-housed but there is still so much more that I learn each day.  It will put my mind at rest to know that I am giving them the right environment over winter.  Can you buy the topsoil sterilised, is this a standard that you can buy from a garden centre?

 

Many thanks

 

Sue, Lucky's Mum

Hi Sue,

As far as I am aware 'sterilised topsoil' is available. A number of people here on the forum have purchased it. Try 'Wickes', 'B&Q', or other garden centres or simply 'google'. Best of luck.

Kind Regards

Freddy



#10 'Lucky' mum

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 08:32 PM

Hi Sue, wow thank you for your post.  I haven't candled them no, I didn't get on very well the first time round so just thought it best to leave them alone and wait.  First baby, Lucky,  came out around 8-9 weeks, exactly the time I had read was average.  These eggs would be due around second week in September (or as they decide is good enough for them  ;) ) The torpedo egg does look chalky white same as the others.  I am not too worried if they are twins or not, was just worried about the tying off bit if necessary and wanted to be prepared just in case.  I am very glad to hear that you know people who have had success, looking them up online the success rate didn't look too good.  I only found one instance where someones russian torts had survived.  Our baby last year was quite the surprise, it was only that I noticed the female behaving strangely and wondered what was wrong.  I then discovered she displayed exactly as described on the sites as the gravid female.  Panic set in then, wondering what to do and what was needed.  She had 3 eggs, stepped in one and one got a dint in the end against a stone.  Lucky was the only whole egg left and we were very lucky when she hatched.  It is very exciting and I can't believe there are so many whole eggs this time around. Is my Eclipse considered an elderly tortoise then at 14?  I had heard that it depended on size rather than age.

 

Thank you all so much for your help xx



#11 'Lucky' mum

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 08:33 PM

Thanks Freddy, we have B&Q so I am sure I will find some.  :)



#12 'Lucky' mum

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 08:39 PM

HI again Sue, sorry I think I misread your message when asking about age, you had said young or elderly.  Just also wanted to ask, would I still need to tie the egg sack off if both torts are alive and healthy or just leave them as they are?



#13 Guest_SueBoyle (was wizzasmum)_*

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 08:46 PM

I don't candle my eggs either, preferring to let them be as it will make no difference to them hatching or not. Most of my babies come out at around 56 days, but it depends on the temps. I use 32 to hopefully get more females. If ever you do have twins, you have to have sterilised thread ready. I used dental floss which I put in the microwave first. You tie twice, close to each baby and then cut between the ties, away from the babies. If there is a yolk sac then make sure this between the ties. Dab each belly button with a dab of videne and put onto damp cotton wool back in the incubator until everything has healed. Trim off the remains of any thread before it gets pulled into the plastron split. Once all is clean, they can come out and be put with other hatchlings ;) No Eclipse is very young for egg laying, so this is probably the reason for the torpedo egg. She is possibly not fully developed yet. I have one, Old Tilly who is over 100 and still produces eggs each year, but she has laid torpedo ones initially.



#14 Guest_SueBoyle (was wizzasmum)_*

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 08:47 PM

No, you can't leave them as they are as they are joined with a chord ;) I doubt very much they will be twins ;)



#15 'Lucky' mum

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 09:00 PM

Ohmygosh this is the reason I came to your lovely forum.  That sounds like complicated stuff to a newby like myself and makes me nervous.  I was with you up to the microwaved dental floss.  So I would tie one piece at each end, close to the torts and this would be fairly tight?  I am surprised that they would not take in the egg sack, not even one of them?  Also would they not try to wander off the cotton wool ball in the incubator, am just remembering Lucky was off once she had cracked the egg and got her feet out  :) I too have the temp at 31-32 as hope for girls.

 

When my torts were passed to me I was originally given only two girls and the one boy.  Eclipse being the bigger tort of the two was obviously the first to lay, this being her second year I got a little worried as she seemed very slow and wheezy.  It did seem to be a tough time for her (can understand this after all the eggs.  She laid the 5 and then a week later I found another lying in her water bowl.  As it was chalky white it has gone in the incubator, now making 6)  She does seem much happier and more herself again now so is this just common practice, I was worried about the pregnancies effect on her?



#16 'Lucky' mum

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 09:04 PM

Wow Old Tilly sounds wonderful, lovely to hear torts reaching 100  :wub:



#17 Guest_SueBoyle (was wizzasmum)_*

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 09:31 PM

If twins were in an egg, the scratching of each one against the other can cause them to hatch lightly early so the yolk might be present, but generally all yolk should be absorbed before hatching. Torts hatching with a yolk attached are generally artificially incubated, so it means it's not gone 100% to plan. You don't just sit them on cotton wool, it has to be in a cup or bowl that they can't climb out of and not a ball, but a pad. The dampness keeps humidity up and assists closing of the plastron slit.

6 eggs is perfectly normal for a hermanni, I've had one lay 12 and this year had a clutch of 8. Does your tortoise have a deep nesting site, just wondering as you mentioned one in the water. Usually if they are not buried they are not fertile.

I really wouldn't worry about twins, I've never seen them come from a misshaped egg yet ;)



#18 'Lucky' mum

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Posted 20 August 2014 - 08:11 AM

Thank you so much Sue, it is good information to have so I can be prepared in any instance whilst torts are laying eggs.  Yes Eclipse did dig her nest and laid the first 5 eggs, but I just found the other in the dish a week later.  It may have been Miracle's instead as she did lay 1 infertile egg last year and left above ground, and did show signs of pregnancy earlier but I do feel as though it was another of Eclipses.  Again it does look white and chalky, it was a hot day and I don't think it had been there very long so it is in the incubator just in case.  I am happy with whatever we get and realise they may not all hatch but want to give them all the best chance.






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