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Can Anyone Explain. . .

Discussion in 'Tortoise Breeding' started by Yvonne G, Jul 25, 2017.

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  1. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    . . . besides being mature enough, what makes babies hatch out of the egg? Here's why I'm asking:

    On January 31 my leopard factory manufactured 13 eggs. They cooked in the incubator for 5 and a half months before hatching in mid-July.

    let me explain my set-up. I use the Zoo Med Hovabator and three plastic shoe boxes fit nicely, taking up all the space. About 20 to 25 eggs fit in each shoe box, so I put different clutches together, clutches that were laid at different times. It just so happens all three clutches I'm talking about here were manufactured by the same factory.

    So I put 13 1/31/17 eggs in the shoebox, then on 3/11/17 I added six more and on 4/15/17 I added nine more. All 13 eggs in the first batch hatched in two days (five and a half months). Then a day later, some of the March eggs pipped (four months), and now, a couple days later, some of the April eggs are pipping (three months).

    My question is, if the eggs are ready to hatch at 3 and 4 months, then why do they wait 5 months to hatch? I'm thinking the other eggs hatching triggers them to pip, but if they weren't fully developed, they certainly wouldn't pip. And most of the five month babies had large yolk sacs. So what gives?
    shellfreak and CarolM like this.
  2. sulley13

    sulley13 Member 5 Year Member

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    This is fascinating! I would love to know the answer to this as well. Is there a possibility that they are part of the same clutch but laid in three intervals, a month apart each time? Or possibly the first clutch went through a stage of dispause and the others didn't?
  3. MichaelaW

    MichaelaW Well-Known Member

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  4. treefrog010

    treefrog010 Member 5 Year Member

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    Yvonne ,i hatched many leopard eggs in the late 90,s and the early 2000's. here are a couple of thoughts. first p. pardalis have a diapause while babcockii do not. if you had a mixed pair usually they don't diapause BUT, sometimes they did. More likely it is the other reason which is that the first eggs that pipped started the trigger and it snowballed. hence the large yolk sacs.
    I usually hatched about 300 leopards each year however, after the second year I still kept all leopard eggs in my big reliable incubator but as soon as I candled the earliest group was pipping internally I moved them to a hatching incubator so I could increase humidity to 100% for them as soon as I had about 20% with an external pip. moving the next clutch to the hatcher when I candled internal pip and so on. once I was doing it this way I had for 5 years 100% hatch rate with very few large yolks. with an average of 290 eggs in incubator but only pipping eggs(about 27 per clutch) in hatcher at any one time
    Hope this helps
    Frank.
  5. Cale

    Cale Member

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    It’s is mind boggling sometimes. I am watching a couple redfoot eggs now that look healthy but just haven’t pipped even those the others of the clutch did!
    Within a week I’ve had Hatchlings from 8/30, 9/26, 9/30. Still watching 1 egg from 8/30, and 1 from 9/26... I guess I’ll just be patient because they don’t look infertile
  6. Redfool

    Redfool Well-Known Member

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    I have a Redfoot egg pipping now that was laid on 7/30/17. That’s 180 days when they are usually around 120 days. Two more months than usual. I have never had one take this long. I have other hatchlings from that same incubator same tort laid a month later that hatched at normal time so it’s not a matter of temp or humidity 85f/90%. Can’t wait to see how this “lazy” hatchling turns out.
  7. Redfool

    Redfool Well-Known Member

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    Just checked my incubator and looks like my 6 month (normal is 4) hatchling has a large yolk sack, so still has a while to go in the egg. IMG_2222.jpg
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  8. CarolM

    CarolM Well-Known Member

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    Wow. Is that normal that they would pip with such a large yolk sac? What I mean is that I didn't know that they could pip and still have to remain in the shell for a while afterwards. How long would it take for your hatchling to absorb the yolk? Apologies on all the questions, it is just facinating to me (your story that is).
  9. CarolM

    CarolM Well-Known Member

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    This is facinating.
  10. Redfool

    Redfool Well-Known Member

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    Never had one pip with a yolk sac that big. Usually it’s smaller and white, not yellow. I would assume that a hatchling would stay in the egg underground in nature until absorbed then dig out. I don’t think they would be very mobile venturing out in nature with an exposed yolk. All the hatchlings I have had absorb their yolk sac within 2 or 3 days, this one I’m not going to touch for about a week.
  11. Redfool

    Redfool Well-Known Member

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    From what I’ve read eggs hatch when the embryo becomes oxygen stressed. The egg allows oxygen molecules to pass though micro pores. When not enough oxygen molecules pass through to sustain the embryo it’s time to get out. I’m no scientists and I’m sure there are many other combinations of reasons/theories but this one hit me as very logical. The embryo going semi dormant in the egg may explain the difference in hatch times.
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  12. ColaCarbonaria

    ColaCarbonaria Well-Known Member

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    Very much enjoying this read, very interesting. Last week Vic Morgan was telling me how frustrating the redfoot eggs are compared to the mt tortoise eggs which you can set a watch by, 64 days or something. But the redfoots are all over the map and can take much longer. I asked if it were a form of “diapause” or something of the sort and he said he hadn’t quite figured it out but the redfoots didn’t show much consistency. @Redfool is this what you were talking about when you say semi dormant?
  13. Redfool

    Redfool Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, that’s what I meant. In the middle of posting I couldn’t recall the term.
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  14. motero

    motero Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    I have noticed within a clutch fluctuation in parameters gets them going at the same time, a spike in humidity or temperature, or a drop in barametric pressure. Different age clutches hatching at the same time. I have no experience with. Interesting question.
  15. MountainFox

    MountainFox Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    @Redfool, what became of this guy?
  16. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    To get back to the original question.

    I now have a clutch of 15 leopard eggs that were laid and put into the incubator on 11/9/17. Two hatched almost three weeks ago (one had dried egg membrane over his nose and died). Then 4 days ago two more hatched, 3 days ago two hatched and yesterday one hatched. The rest of the clutch is still sitting there. . . no pipping, no activity.

    I have figured out the reason why my eggs take longer than the normal 3 months to hatch, when incubating in the winter. I have a pretty cold house, being too cheap to use up too much of my wood to make a fire in the wood stove. I thought the incubators were insulated enough and the heater in them would cycle enough to maintain interior temperature, but I guess the temperature drops when the house is real cold, causing a longer incubation time. But I'd still like to know why all the eggs don't hatch at the same time.
  17. Turtle girl 98

    Turtle girl 98 Well-Known Member

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    I am to wondering the same thing, I have two completely different species of turtle eggs in the incubator together which both have begun to pip ( I'm thinking is what is going on) at the exact same time. I thought it was a bit odd. Someone else had advised me there was a discussion on it awhile back so I sought it out to read it. I know nothing about hatching turtles but I thought it was an odd coincidence..
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