Hatching Tortoise Without the Shell

Arizona Sulcata

Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Joined
Jan 20, 2012
Messages
1,937
Location (City and/or State)
Mesa, AZ
Giving my best go at hatching a Sulcata without the egg shell. Most of you probably know that some of the eggs get cracked during the nesting/laying process. When that happens it always dries out and I've never had one hatched even with the slightest tiniest cracks. I decided to take one of those cracked eggs and bypass the shell altogether. So far so good... Here is its progress on day 15. IMG_20180621_115816_191.jpg
 

daniellenc

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 10, 2017
Messages
2,092
Location (City and/or State)
Maryland
Isn’t there a safe way to cover the crack? I’ve read about on here but can’t remember the name of the thread. Will be interesting to see what this one does.
 

Arizona Sulcata

Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Joined
Jan 20, 2012
Messages
1,937
Location (City and/or State)
Mesa, AZ
Isn’t there a safe way to cover the crack? I’ve read about on here but can’t remember the name of the thread. Will be interesting to see what this one does.
I've given a try at a few different methods without much success.
 

wellington

Well-Known Member
Moderator
10 Year Member!
Tortoise Club
Joined
Sep 6, 2011
Messages
43,767
Location (City and/or State)
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Yes, I remember someone mending cracks. I don't remember who or if those eggs every hatched.
This is very interesting. If this works, which I hope it does. I'm going to feel like such a failure as I have only gotten 6 eggs to hatch out of about a 100. Not the reason I gave up breeding but a small part of it
Wondering, did you take great care to be sure this was all done in a sterile way? I would even think any air exchange would have stopped the progress.
Please keep this thread updated along the whole process.
 

Toddrickfl1

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 7, 2018
Messages
7,081
Location (City and/or State)
Ga
Yes, I remember someone mending cracks. I don't remember who or if those eggs every hatched.
This is very interesting. If this works, which I hope it does. I'm going to feel like such a failure as I have only gotten 6 eggs to hatch out of about a 100. Not the reason I gave up breeding but a small part of it
Wondering, did you take great care to be sure this was all done in a sterile way? I would even think any air exchange would have stopped the progress.
Please keep this thread updated along the whole process.
It was Tortstork I think, don't remember if it hatched though. Be interesting to seethe resultsof this though.
 

NorCal tortoise guy

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2017
Messages
1,161
Location (City and/or State)
Northern California
very interested to see if this works! I on the other hand have hatched several cracked Sulcata eggs even with big cracks (but the hatchlings do come out smaller then a healthy egg) I don't think the inner membrane has even been broken on one that hatches though. I also remember seeing a thread on repairing eggs they used new skin I think.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
58,673
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Someone else on one contentious thread many years ago said that any cracked or dimpled egg could not be hatched. Never. I replied that I did it regularly. He didn't believe me, so I took pictures and proved it. Marked the egg after it was laid and showed it pipping and hatching. He didn't argue with me anymore after that.

In fact, I've got some cracked ones due to hatch any day now. I'll try to get pics before they hatch and after. They are the eggs from the "2018 Incubation Experiment". https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/2018-incubation-experiment.165106/
You can see the cracked eggs in the back row of each box.

You experiment is pretty neat. Can we get more details on how you are doing it?
 

Arizona Sulcata

Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Joined
Jan 20, 2012
Messages
1,937
Location (City and/or State)
Mesa, AZ
Someone else on one contentious thread many years ago said that any cracked or dimpled egg could not be hatched. Never. I replied that I did it regularly. He didn't believe me, so I took pictures and proved it. Marked the egg after it was laid and showed it pipping and hatching. He didn't argue with me anymore after that.

In fact, I've got some cracked ones due to hatch any day now. I'll try to get pics before they hatch and after. They are the eggs from the "2018 Incubation Experiment". https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/2018-incubation-experiment.165106/
You can see the cracked eggs in the back row of each box.

You experiment is pretty neat. Can we get more details on how you are doing it?
Very interesting Tom! I get probably 100 eggs per year with the smallest of cracks and have never had a single one hatch, I wonder what the difference is between our experiences?

As for how I went about doing it... Nothing crazy. I took a Solo cup, put some plastic wrap over it, cracked open the already cracked egg, dumped it into the plastic wrap, folded the plastic wrap back over itself and the egg, and sealed it off with a rubber band around the rim of the cup.

I'm sure this will take a few tries to perfect. I tried this as part of a series of other "egg saving" tests where I tested several different ways to seal the cracks in different eggs but none worked. I wish I had tried this method bypassing the shell altogether with several different eggs in hindsight, that'll be next laying season for sure. Fingers crossed I have beginners luck and this little guy makes it to full term.

I will keep everyone posted on this thread throughout the journey!
 

Salspi

Active Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2017
Messages
352
Location (City and/or State)
Chicago
I wish u Good luck with hatching it. But, I think it would fail because regular eggs absorb water from the nesting box substrate and humid air...... Can’t do it with plastic wrap. Are you planning on giving it like a drop of water a day? That might be a more interesting test.
 

Redfool

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2017
Messages
380
Location (City and/or State)
Central Florida
Read somewhere that some calcium is absorbed by the embryo to help build bones and shell. Also that an egg shell is porous to exchange O2 and CO2 and moisture. When the turtle inside gets big enough and the egg shell gets thinned enough the demand of exchanged of gasses is too much for the embryo and thus triggers hatching. Good luck, hope it works but Mother Nature has millions of years of experience at this. The title of the post scared me at first, you should have put “eggshell”.
 

WithLisa

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2015
Messages
967
Location (City and/or State)
Austria
Interesting picture!
Did you poke some holes into the plastic wrap for air exchange? Since this is necessary for chicken embryos, tortoises most likely also need it.
 

mrnewberry

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2015
Messages
322
Location (City and/or State)
N.W. Arkansas
I wish u Good luck with hatching it. But, I think it would fail because regular eggs absorb water from the nesting box substrate and humid air...... Can’t do it with plastic wrap. Are you planning on giving it like a drop of water a day? That might be a more interesting test.

It has been done before. Perhaps not set up exactly this way or with this species though. I’m not sure what the success rate is or if it works well for some species and not for others.
 
Top