Is my fifteen year old desert tortoise pregnant?

izwiz1010

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My family was given a fifteen year old desert tortoise from a moving family who had four adults, males and females, over eight months ago. When she came into our captivity, Toto had a mile RI, but she’s since healed and brumated without issue. Now that she’s awake, she’s begun digging multiple small holes around the yard with varying success. Now, the latest hole she is digging is directly in front of her burrow, and unlike with the other holes, she’s making good progress since the dirt here is much softer. Is there a chance that she is doing this because she is pregnant, and what are some signs of a pregnant Desert tortoise?
 

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Yvonne G

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They sometimes dig several test holes. . .maybe to fool a predator?. . .maybe just looking for the ideal spot, but quite often the 'real' nest is right around the mouth of the burrow. Since she came from a household with males and females chances are good the eggs are fertile.
 

izwiz1010

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They sometimes dig several test holes. . .maybe to fool a predator?. . .maybe just looking for the ideal spot, but quite often the 'real' nest is right around the mouth of the burrow. Since she came from a household with males and females chances are good the eggs are fertile.
Wow, so you believe that she is pregnant? Is it normal for pregnant tortoises to begin showing signs so late?
 

Tom

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Wow, so you believe that she is pregnant? Is it normal for pregnant tortoises to begin showing signs so late?
The term for egg layers is "gravid". Pregnancy is something entirely different.

Female tortoises can store sperm from previous breedings. Some species can store it for a few months, while others can store it for years.

Give this a read through if you want to hatch out the eggs and start the babies correctly:

In CA it is illegal to breed them or interfere with the eggs. Perfectly legal to take care of the babies if they hatch on their own. You will have to look up the laws in NV and make your own decision about what to do with these precious eggs of an endangered species. This is a family friendly public forum and we cannot condone or recommend anything illegal, but each of us must decide what we think is the right thing to do.
 

izwiz1010

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The term for egg layers is "gravid". Pregnancy is something entirely different.

Female tortoises can store sperm from previous breedings. Some species can store it for a few months, while others can store it for years.

Give this a read through if you want to hatch out the eggs and start the babies correctly:

In CA it is illegal to breed them or interfere with the eggs. Perfectly legal to take care of the babies if they hatch on their own. You will have to look up the laws in NV and make your own decision about what to do with these precious eggs of an endangered species. This is a family friendly public forum and we cannot condone or recommend anything illegal, but each of us must decide what we think is the right thing to do.
I’m not going to make any assumptions or get too excited, but if Toto does end up laying the eggs, I was planning on just leaving them alone — but I’m wondering if there’s any risk of the eggs being in high temperatures, and if the outside temperature would be of any concern? Thank you for the guide.

If they do end up hatching, I’d relinquish them to a Desert Tortoise rescue. But that’s a long while coming!
 

izwiz1010

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I’m not going to make any assumptions or get too excited, but if Toto does end up laying the eggs, I was planning on just leaving them alone — but I’m wondering if there’s any risk of the eggs being in high temperatures, and if the outside temperature would be of any concern? Thank you for the guide.

If they do end up hatching, I’d relinquish them to a Desert Tortoise rescue. But that’s a long while coming!
Update: While I was gone, Toto covered the hole and is now digging in her burrow. Do you think that the eggs are in there, and should I dig it up and check?
 

izwiz1010

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Update: While I was gone, Toto covered the hole and is now digging in her burrow. Do you think that the eggs are in there, and should I dig it up and check?
Toto laid the eggs
 

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