A good year for Baby Burmese Stars

Markw84

Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 17, 2012
Messages
4,784
Location (City and/or State)
Sacramento, CA (Central Valley)
This is my third year getting nests and eggs from my group of Burmese Stars. I have 4 producing females ranging in age from 8 to 11 years old and in size from 3700g to 6600g. So far from my 2021 egg season, I have hatched 102 babies with one more final clutch in the incubator due to hatch next week. All 7 of those eggs are looking great at this stage so that would make 109 babies produced from 4 females. A total of 18 clutches from Dec 24, 2020 through Oct 2, 2021. One female has a very poor hatch rate, but the other 3 make up for it. Overall exactly 70% of the eggs have hatched. The last 7 are from a real good producer, so if all 7 of those hatch I will end up at 72% hatch rate for the year. Average total diapause and incubation time per clutch is 114.8 days.

When I first acquired my founders, it was generally reported that there were perhaps 200 - 300 Burmese Stars left in the wild. They were considered functionally extinct. I developed a relationship with the head of the largest Burmese Star conservation colony in Myanmar. Through conversations with her, she said although she had over 3000 tortoises in her pens, the ones they can release seem to disappear as quickly as they can try to reestablish them. The only hope is long-term educational work with the local population. Getting the school kids and locals to see the tortoises as a local treasure to be protected. Habitat loss continues to also be the biggest challenge despite the few reserves they have created.

We can see the success of captive breeding programs. Although they may go extinct in the wild, it seems certain that now they will definitely not go extinct in captivity. It is private breeders like me and those before me that I have learned from, that has ensured the survival of this species. A great example of what can be done by dedicated, private breeders. As more Burmese Stars are produced, it is my hope that dozens of dedicated tortoise lovers throughout all parts of the country will also develop viable colonies of 12 - 25 Burmese Stars. We will have dozens of viable, genetically robust assurance colonies kept by dedicated keepers using the latest husbandry techniques -- and continuing to share best practices. That is how I believe you keep a species from going extinct when in their native land, the demand for other land uses, and poor governmental control will simply not allow them to exist much longer.

If you are interested in starting your own colony of these beautiful tortoises, let me know. These are now established enough to sell and find new homes. I will also be at the Reptile Supershow in Pomona this next weekend if you want to pick out some in person! (shipping is so bad right now I will not ship for the next few weeks at least).

IMG 2524


Here's an example of how my babies grow perfectly smooth. This is one of just a few I held back from last fall's hatchlings Just over a year old and perfectly smooth. You can also see her (??) in the middle left tub. All raised in Smart Enclosures!

IMG 2525
 

turtlesteve

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Sep 23, 2012
Messages
643
Whoa, that’s amazing! Congrats on getting so many! I’m still waiting for mine to start breeding…
 

KarenSoCal

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 8, 2017
Messages
5,372
Location (City and/or State)
Low desert 50 mi SE of Palm Springs CA
Mark, what you are doing for these beautiful animals is beyond heroic. As a Burmese star keeper, I'm sure I represent all of the keepers in saying "thank you!" for your tireless efforts on behalf of not only Burmese, but all tortoises.

Your knowledge, dedication, and willingness to educate is a treasure, not only for TFO, but for tortoise conservationists everywhere.
 

Mrs.Jennifer

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 22, 2020
Messages
605
Location (City and/or State)
Norwich CT
As a keeper of one Russian tortoise in Connecticut, I’m unfortunately at my limit. I can only dream of delving into your beauties. However, is there a way to donate monetary resources to the propagation/maintenance of this gorgeous species?
 

Markw84

Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 17, 2012
Messages
4,784
Location (City and/or State)
Sacramento, CA (Central Valley)
As a keeper of one Russian tortoise in Connecticut, I’m unfortunately at my limit. I can only dream of delving into your beauties. However, is there a way to donate monetary resources to the propagation/maintenance of this gorgeous species?
Thank you for the offer. With Burmese Stars we can still sell them throughout the US and get some compensation for the costs in all the upkeep and research we are doing. However, with our Galapagos project, we are trying to do the same thing, but ESA listing and federal laws make it illegal to do that with them. We are setting up assurance colonies in 3 states now and Galapagos tortoises take quite a commitment to support! Everything is gifted - no money. We have established a 201c3 and will be starting to take memberships this week to support. Will and I are also selling GTA T shirts and travel tumblers at the show in Pomona will all proceeds going to the GTA. More in another post in the Galapagos section later.
 

TheLastGreen

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2021
Messages
916
Location (City and/or State)
Johannesburg
This is my third year getting nests and eggs from my group of Burmese Stars. I have 4 producing females ranging in age from 8 to 11 years old and in size from 3700g to 6600g. So far from my 2021 egg season, I have hatched 102 babies with one more final clutch in the incubator due to hatch next week. All 7 of those eggs are looking great at this stage so that would make 109 babies produced from 4 females. A total of 18 clutches from Dec 24, 2020 through Oct 2, 2021. One female has a very poor hatch rate, but the other 3 make up for it. Overall exactly 70% of the eggs have hatched. The last 7 are from a real good producer, so if all 7 of those hatch I will end up at 72% hatch rate for the year. Average total diapause and incubation time per clutch is 114.8 days.

When I first acquired my founders, it was generally reported that there were perhaps 200 - 300 Burmese Stars left in the wild. They were considered functionally extinct. I developed a relationship with the head of the largest Burmese Star conservation colony in Myanmar. Through conversations with her, she said although she had over 3000 tortoises in her pens, the ones they can release seem to disappear as quickly as they can try to reestablish them. The only hope is long-term educational work with the local population. Getting the school kids and locals to see the tortoises as a local treasure to be protected. Habitat loss continues to also be the biggest challenge despite the few reserves they have created.

We can see the success of captive breeding programs. Although they may go extinct in the wild, it seems certain that now they will definitely not go extinct in captivity. It is private breeders like me and those before me that I have learned from, that has ensured the survival of this species. A great example of what can be done by dedicated, private breeders. As more Burmese Stars are produced, it is my hope that dozens of dedicated tortoise lovers throughout all parts of the country will also develop viable colonies of 12 - 25 Burmese Stars. We will have dozens of viable, genetically robust assurance colonies kept by dedicated keepers using the latest husbandry techniques -- and continuing to share best practices. That is how I believe you keep a species from going extinct when in their native land, the demand for other land uses, and poor governmental control will simply not allow them to exist much longer.

If you are interested in starting your own colony of these beautiful tortoises, let me know. These are now established enough to sell and find new homes. I will also be at the Reptile Supershow in Pomona this next weekend if you want to pick out some in person! (shipping is so bad right now I will not ship for the next few weeks at least).

View attachment 339084


Here's an example of how my babies grow perfectly smooth. This is one of just a few I held back from last fall's hatchlings Just over a year old and perfectly smooth. You can also see her (??) in the middle left tub. All raised in Smart Enclosures!

View attachment 339085
Wow @Markw84 , that's an army of babies! How long do you soak them all? How do you keep the water warm if it is for long periods?
 

Markw84

Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 17, 2012
Messages
4,784
Location (City and/or State)
Sacramento, CA (Central Valley)
Wow @Markw84 , that's an army of babies! How long do you soak them all? How do you keep the water warm if it is for long periods?
I soak for a minimum of 30 minutes. Usually about an hour. I check temp with the heat gun and rotate into new 100° water about every 20 minutes. By then its "dirty" water and needs changing anyway. So starting at one end, when the water temp gets to about 80° I fill a new tub with fresh, 100° water and transfer the tortoises from one tub into the new tub. Then clean that tub and fill with fresh 100° water and repeat with next tub.

I like them to soak long enough to start moving about and scrambling against the sides - Tortoise treadmill! I believe that exercise is very important to their overall health and growth raised in enclosures. They tend to "bask" and lay out and relax the first 20 min or so, then the treadmill begins.

While they all soak, I prepare new food, clean food and water dishes and prepare their enclosure for the day. My tortoise chores take me about 90 min each day.
 

zovick

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2013
Messages
2,303
As a keeper of one Russian tortoise in Connecticut, I’m unfortunately at my limit. I can only dream of delving into your beauties. However, is there a way to donate monetary resources to the propagation/maintenance of this gorgeous species?
The Wildlife Conservation Society (Bronx Zoo) has been funding and backing the breeding program in Myanmar for at least 25 years now. You could donate to the WCS and specify that you wish the donation earmarked for the Myanmar Burmese Star Conservation Program.

I did that annually from 1999 to the mid-2000's. Our money goes a long way in Mynamar (or did back then).
 

OkAdiza

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2019
Messages
408
Location (City and/or State)
Virginia
@Markw84, I hope this isn’t a silly question. I think you said you have females from 4 different bloodlines. What about the males? When you allow them to mate, how do you do that in regards to the different bloodlines? Are each of the females only mating with one particular male of a certain bloodline?
 
Top