Care of newly hatched torts


5 Year Member
Mar 24, 2013
Location (City and/or State)
Lancashire, UK
I have hingeback (kinixys nogueyi) eggs currently at 116 days incubation and due to start hatching within the next month. I have only ever had adult tortoises, so i dont know how to care for babies, let alone newly hatched ones! I'd like to be prepared, so i was wondering if anyone can help me out.

I have a vivarium that im going to house them in initially as i happen to have it empty. I have a mercury vapour bulb and a uvb tube + heat bulb - which is best? Can i use a ceramic bulb (on a thermostat) to keep the temperatures right in my cold house, or will it be too intense heat wise? I can get one of the 'moonlight' bulbs if need be.

Care wise, how do i look after newly hatched torts? Do i bathe/feed them more often than adults? Do i need to do anything while they're hatching like move them to their own tub or spray them with water?

Is there anything i've missed that's different for babies compared to adults Thank you for any help, i just don't wanna get this wrong :)

This is mam and dad

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Jan 23, 2008
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
I've never raised hingeback babies, but I would imagine it is like raising box turtle babies, and I've raised lots of them.

I keep them in a heavily planted vivarium (a large plastic bin), with a 100 watt incandescent bulb for day and a black light for night. I have them on potting soil, with the plants planted directly into the soil. There is a large, shallow waterer, a tile for feeding and a couple different hiding places. I keep the potting soil fairly moist at all times. I never let the viv get cooler than about 75F degrees.


The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Jan 9, 2010
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
I have no Hingeback experience, but I have hatched out a few other species. Here are some general tips:

1. When the first egg starts to pip, add some water to the media and spray a little water on the side and top of the egg container, but don't spray the eggs themselves. The added moisture simulates a rain and helps them get out of their sticky gooey shells.
2. Some will make it out of their shells within a few hours of the initial pip, others might take days. DON'T help them. Make sure its wet enough and leave them be.
3. As soon as they are out of their shells, I like to put them in a "brooder box". If left in the incubator for a week while they absorb the remainder of their yolk sac, some tortoises will eat the incubation media. I have seen this cause impaction and kill them months down the road. I use plastic shoe boxes or spring mix tubs. I line the bottom with paper towels or white dish towels, and I spray it to keep it damp. I also put their rinsed egg shells and some greens in the box since many of them will want to nibble even when they still have a yolk sac and I don't want them nibbling the paper towels. Every day I soak the babies and change out their paper towels and greens while they soak.
4. Once the yolks sacs are absorbed, put them into a small warm wet enclosure like what Yvonne described. I like to have several plates of food around when I do this to discourage them from eating any substrate.
5. Soak the babies in shallow warm water EVERY day for at least the first few months.
6. I like to weigh hatchlings at least weekly to chart their weight and note any trends.

Good luck. Hope this helps.

New Posts