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A mystery (PP?) clutch?!

diamondbp

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Back on July 24th I found a mystery clutch that was laid on a date that didn’t fit with the expected clutch scheduled of my proven females. I inspected every proven female that morning and I didn’t see any convincing evidence that any of them had what I call “mud butt” which is what you usually find on a female who just laid.

My male South African (Fonzie) breeds with all of my females (babcocki and pardalis) so he is definitely the sire.

At the time I thought it was “possible” that my 4yr old 15” PP female may have laid her very first clutch but I didn’t put much thought into it since I didn’t see any signs of distress that one might expect from a first year female.

To make a long story short a few weeks ago that mystery clutch began to hatch out. I was STRUCK with how pure pp the first baby looked and it got my wheels turning. Well now that 5 of the 7 good eggs (9 total) and all 5 have a very pure PP appearance I’m still hesitant to say that they might just in fact be pure pp babies. One main reason is because the eggs did not experience a cooling period that most say is necessary for South African eggs.

Anyways here are some photos to help flesh out the story and to gather some opinions from the TFO experts.

First is a few group shots of the five “mystery” babies that have hatched out so far. Two eggs remain and I’ll definitely be scratching my head if all 7 hatch out with such a pure South African appearance. I will be keeping y’all updated

Here we go

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Tom

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Those look like SA babies to me. Is it possible that this clutch was laid and missed last year? The guy I get mine from says his take 12-18 months to hatch when left in the ground, so these very well could have been from some time last year, and you only recently found the nest.
 

wellington

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No expert here, but they do look PP. from what I seem to find a lot and I think say a lot, they always keep ya guessing and on your toes. I think they pulled one over on you this time.
 

diamondbp

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Here is my female PP shown next to my largest (mixed pp/Pb) female. So she is definitely large enough to have laid eggs being around 15”.

And also the red circled photos are her as a hatchling . The blue circled baby is my male (Fonzie) as a baby. Her shape was a bit different than his as a hatching .

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diamondbp

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Here is a group shot of all my current younger babies. Most display an obvious mixed look but the circled ones are 3 of the mystery babies. I do get a pure looking baby on occasion from my other females but the percentage of purer looking babies within a clutch is maybe 20% whereas the mystery clutch is 100% so far (with two eggs pending)

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diamondbp

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Now some detailed photos of each baby.

Here is the first mystery baby to hatch

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diamondbp

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Those look like SA babies to me. Is it possible that this clutch was laid and missed last year? The guy I get mine from says his take 12-18 months to hatch when left in the ground, so these very well could have been from some time last year, and you only recently found the nest.
I thought about that but here in south Louisiana the water table gets so high so often that Tortoise eggs would never survive full term incubation in the ground. It’s just not possible.

Plus it was quite noticeable that it was a recent lay. The eggs weren’t chalked yet and the nest site was what caught my eye.

Two of my main hesitations are the lack of a diapause and that she hasn’t laid any subsequent nest (that I know of). But I’ve seen first time layers with my Sulcatas only lay 1-2 clutches their first laying season before so I thought if it was her she might simply be done already for the year.

I wonder if anyone has hatched out PP without a diapause?? A friend of mine said a conservation facility stopped giving their Burmese star eggs a diapause and they are yielding very similar hatch rates. Perhaps this is also “possible” for South African Leopards?
 

diamondbp

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No expert here, but they do look PP. from what I seem to find a lot and I think say a lot, they always keep ya guessing and on your toes. I think they pulled one over on you this time.
I’m leaning that way as well but I’ve decided to keep these babies for at least a year to see if they grow out more similar to what PP babies do or if they end up exhibiting characteristics that would suggest being mixed pp/Pb.

Here is an example of a known mixed baby that I’m raising up that early on exhibited a strong pp appearance but now has a noticeably different appearance from what you would expect from a true pp. IMG_5810.jpgIMG_5811.jpgIMG_5814.jpgIMG_5813.jpgIMG_5815.jpg

This is her as a hatchling below with other known mixed babies from the only other possible “mother candidate” (Annie). So if the mystery babies grow out with a similar pattern and shape to Annie’s offspring then that may sway my verdict on them since her mixed offspring are quite distinguishable.


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Markw84

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I thought about that but here in south Louisiana the water table gets so high so often that Tortoise eggs would never survive full term incubation in the ground. It’s just not possible.

Plus it was quite noticeable that it was a recent lay. The eggs weren’t chalked yet and the nest site was what caught my eye.

Two of my main hesitations are the lack of a diapause and that she hasn’t laid any subsequent nest (that I know of). But I’ve seen first time layers with my Sulcatas only lay 1-2 clutches their first laying season before so I thought if it was her she might simply be done already for the year.

I wonder if anyone has hatched out PP without a diapause?? A friend of mine said a conservation facility stopped giving their Burmese star eggs a diapause and they are yielding very similar hatch rates. Perhaps this is also “possible” for South African Leopards?
I've been reading everything I can find the past two years, on research about diapause. In some instances, it has been found/theorized that the temperature of the female in the weeks prior to laying can set the need for a diapause or not. Was your female on the cooler side the weeks before the probably laying?
 

diamondbp

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I've been reading everything I can find the past two years, on research about diapause. In some instances, it has been found/theorized that the temperature of the female in the weeks prior to laying can set the need for a diapause or not. Was your female on the cooler side the weeks before the probably laying?
It’s south Louisiana so unless she held the eggs in her throughout the winter time they would have never experienced very cool temps. Plus they have a large heated house that she retreats to every night so they stay relatively warm even during winter nights.

It really is a mind boggling mystery. Like @wellington said , they keep you on your toes
 

diamondbp

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The two youngest are strikingly pure South African looking

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