Desert Tortoise laid eggs on top of ground

Caryn

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My female desert tortoise has laid a total
Of 5 eggs over the last 3 weeks. None of them were buried. Is this normal? I am incubating them now. I am hoping they are fertile as I have not seen my male mating with her.
 

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Yvonne G

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Usually tortoise eggs dropped out here and then are not fertile, but I always incubate them anyway (but not desert tortoise).

Please be aware that it is illegal to artificially incubate desert tortoise eggs, and illegal to allow the tortoises to breed on purpose.
 

wellington

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Is this the first time she ever laid eggs?
When my leopard did this it was the first, unexpected so not deep enough substrate and they were not any good.
They dig deep, my leopards dug 12 inches. They need the right depth of substrate too.
 

Caryn

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Yes it is her first time. I thought I had 2 females. I was very surprised to find out one is actually a male. Their enclosure does allow for digging. I will continue to incubate just in case. Thank you!
 

Caryn

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Is this the first time she ever laid eggs?
When my leopard did this it was the first, unexpected so not deep enough substrate and they were not any good.
They dig deep, my leopards dug 12 inches. They need the right depth of substrate too.


Yes it is her first time. I thought I had 2 females. I was very surprised to find out one is actually a male. Their enclosure does allow for digging. I will continue to incubate just in case. Thank you!
 

Tom

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Yes it is her first time. I thought I had 2 females. I was very surprised to find out one is actually a male. Their enclosure does allow for digging. I will continue to incubate just in case. Thank you!
Females can lay eggs without a male. Post pics of the tails and anal scutes and we can verify sexes.

Also, they should never live as a pair regardless of sexes. They need to be separated even if they are both female.

Its illegal to artificially incubate DT eggs, but if ever you wanted to incubate and hatch eggs from another species, here is some info on how to do it:

Finally, most of the care advice given for this species is wrong. Here is the correct care:
 

jcase

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Please be aware that it is illegal to artificially incubate desert tortoise eggs, and illegal to allow the tortoises to breed on purpose.
I have ZERO experience with north american species, nor the laws regarding natives in most places. Is this specific to california, or their entire range? I have heard this over and over the years but it really makes me wonder why such a law was enacted. If you can legally care for them, why not promote the reproduction of them. Probably just another confusing wildlife law.
 

Yvonne G

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I have ZERO experience with north american species, nor the laws regarding natives in most places. Is this specific to california, or their entire range? I have heard this over and over the years but it really makes me wonder why such a law was enacted. If you can legally care for them, why not promote the reproduction of them. Probably just another confusing wildlife law.
Gopherus agassizii and Gopherus morafkai don't belong to the person who has them, they belong to the state. You are only their caretaker. The law states that it is illegal to knowingly allow them to breed, illegal to artificially incubate the eggs, cannot be sold or bought. If you DO find eggs, you must let nature take its course.

 

jcase

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Gopherus agassizii and Gopherus morafkai don't belong to the person who has them, they belong to the state. You are only their caretaker. The law states that it is illegal to knowingly allow them to breed, illegal to artificially incubate the eggs, cannot be sold or bought. If you DO find eggs, you must let nature take its course.

I understand that, I just find it ridiculous that they deter breeding. If you hatch any say in your background, what are you supposed to do with them?
 

Yvonne G

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I understand that, I just find it ridiculous that they deter breeding. If you hatch any say in your background, what are you supposed to do with them?
You can adopt them out for free, and encourage the adoptor to apply for a permit to keep them.
 

Bridgebob

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Gopherus agassizii and Gopherus morafkai don't belong to the person who has them, they belong to the state. You are only their caretaker. The law states that it is illegal to knowingly allow them to breed, illegal to artificially incubate the eggs, cannot be sold or bought. If you DO find eggs, you must let nature take its course.

I found my Eastern Box Turtle on the bicycle trail. She had been run over by probably a bicycle and her front leg and rear foot were amputated. I would have left her in the wild but in that condition I had to rescue her.

She is a female and is perfectly content in her 'five star' turtle condo. They don't need much care except UV light and a LOT of food during the summer months and a pond. I feed her fruit and eggs and reptivite with some greens.
 

Yvonne G

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I found my Eastern Box Turtle on the bicycle trail. She had been run over by probably a bicycle and her front leg and rear foot were amputated. I would have left her in the wild but in that condition I had to rescue her.

She is a female and is perfectly content in her 'five star' turtle condo. They don't need much care except UV light and a LOT of food during the summer months and a pond. I feed her fruit and eggs and reptivite with some greens.
Box turtles are not included in this law.
 

Lyn W

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Usually tortoise eggs dropped out here and there are not fertile, but I always incubate them anyway (but not desert tortoise).

Please be aware that it is illegal to artificially incubate desert tortoise eggs, and illegal to allow the tortoises to breed on purpose.
Is that to control numbers Yvonne?
 
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Yvonne G

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Is that to control numbers Yvonne?
No, since they can't be returned to the wild the powers that be have made the rule with no other explanation. It might be a way to curtail taking them from the wild. With babies being adopted out all over the place they have no way of knowing if they are coming from the wild or not, but who knows why they make these rules.
 

dd33

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It makes sense to me. Since there is more than one species it would make sense not to have any hybrids created. Im sure people get tired of them and let them go all the time.
 

Tom

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It makes sense to me. Since there is more than one species it would make sense not to have any hybrids created. Im sure people get tired of them and let them go all the time.
No one would breed hybrids since they would only have them from their own area.

I can't say that no one ever releases them anymore, but its certainly not the norm and not common. I think sulcatas get released more often by a very wide margin, and even that is pretty infrequent.

Its just "The Man" telling you what you can and can't do. Just like so many other things now...
 

Yvonne G

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It makes sense to me. Since there is more than one species it would make sense not to have any hybrids created. Im sure people get tired of them and let them go all the time.
For almosr ever there was only one desert tortoise, Gopherus agassizii. it was only recently 'they' classified the northeastern desert tortoises G. morafki. Or wasn't that the hybrid you meant?
 

dd33

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Yes @Yvonne G that is what I meant. When I looked up the newer morafki species I saw there has been some discussion of splitting into a third species as well.
 
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