Just out of curiosity, why do some Indian Star hatchlings look much bigger than others of same relative age?

tempest979

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I've been looking through quite a few listings of Indian Star hatchlings for sale and I noticed, some are much smaller looking than others of same relative age, around 2 months. Some in fact look almost twice the size. I assume the listing is correct about species and age since it's from a breeder, why would that be the case? I know females are a lot larger than males but I assumed you would only notice after they become adults. Also I've noticed a lot of members here prefer breeding Burmese stars over Indian Stars. Is it because of the personality of Burmese Stars as Tom has said? I'm just curious as I know how to take care of them according to the guides I've read here by Tom and Mark, but don't know much about Indian Stars other than the fact that they are more shy and not as active.
 

turtlesteve

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My take on it. People like what they work with and work with species they like. Reptiles have always been the most popular in FL and CA and this is where most tortoise breeders are. Most people that keep star tortoises like to keep them outside, and Burmese stars are more tolerant of climate in FL or CA than Indian stars, so they just work out better for people. In Florida, Indian stars have a reputation for not doing well, but it's entirely because people try to keep them outside in a low-maintenance fashion, and it's really not a good climate match. They get too cool at night and get respiratory issues. Same for most parts of CA. They do considerably better in low desert Arizona (with ample irrigation in summer).

If you are already in a situation where indoor housing is a given, being a little less active is a benefit because they need less space (on top of being smaller). And compared to other species, I certainly do not find Indian stars to be boring (compared to truly shy species like spider tortoises or most Cuora). It is true they generally won't eat out of your hand like some other tortoises will, but they'll happily walk over and eat in front of you.

The care is essentially identical between the two species, including optimal temperatures, except for the Burmese stars tolerating a little wider temp range makes it easier to keep them outdoors in marginal climates. I suspect the size difference is probably because all sorts of genetic lines are in the US and are now mixed up - in the wild, some populations stay very small, and some get quite large. The size of the eggs and hatchlings can vary a lot, accordingly. One thing is pretty consistent - if they are started off right, they grow VERY fast in the first few months. So, my opinion is, you want to see substantial new growth when buying hatchlings. If they don't show this growth they either literally just hatched (and are too young to ship) or they have been kept in bad conditions and aren't growing properly.
 

Tom

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I've been looking through quite a few listings of Indian Star hatchlings for sale and I noticed, some are much smaller looking than others of same relative age, around 2 months. Some in fact look almost twice the size. I assume the listing is correct about species and age since it's from a breeder, why would that be the case? I know females are a lot larger than males but I assumed you would only notice after they become adults. Also I've noticed a lot of members here prefer breeding Burmese stars over Indian Stars. Is it because of the personality of Burmese Stars as Tom has said? I'm just curious as I know how to take care of them according to the guides I've read here by Tom and Mark, but don't know much about Indian Stars other than the fact that they are more shy and not as active.
Most people don't start baby tortoises correctly. They start them too dry, don't soak often enough, keep them outside all day, don't feed them right, don't introduce the right foods after hatching, skip the brooder box stage, keep them too cool, etc... A litany of mistakes are made. When these mistakes are NOT made, and everything is done correctly, they thrive and grow a lot faster. This is my reference to problem number one in the thread that was lined for you. Don't buy from the wrong source. Most sources are the wrong source. Few people start babies correctly. This is why I caution people to be careful with info found outside of this forum while doing "research". Almost everything you find on YT, FB, reddit, from pet shops, breeders, vets and books is going to be the same old wrong info.

We keep saying this, but I'm not sure it is getting through:
1. Platynota are better pets than elegans.
2. Playtnota are more hardy, more tolerant of mistakes, and more adaptable to more climate parameters. They can handle the inevitable cold spell with no problems. By mistake, mine have been left outside on nights in the low 40s, and one time in the 30s. Its a long story how this happened, but its happened several times over the last decade, and I have yet to see any sign of sickness even one time in any of my platynota.
3. Platynota have much "better" personalities. They aren't shy.
4. Platynota don't stress as easily, and are not prone to stress related sickness or problems.

There is nothing wrong with elegans and I like them too, but platynota are simply easier to keep, and less stressful to keep for all of the above reasons. They are not so sensitive. If the power goes out and they get too cold while you are sleeping, a platynota will be totally fine. Elegans might not be.

A male platynota can be smaller than a female elegans too, just for size considerations. A little male platynota, with its outgoing personality and hardy nature would make a great small tortoise pet. I think the vast majority of people would prefer them, if they had had experience with both species.

Feel free to question any of this. Argue your points. Let's converse. In time, you will learn everything we are saying one way or the other. My goal on this forum is to help people to not have to learn the hard way, as I did.
 

tempest979

New Member
Joined
May 24, 2024
Messages
8
Location (City and/or State)
NY
Most people don't start baby tortoises correctly. They start them too dry, don't soak often enough, keep them outside all day, don't feed them right, don't introduce the right foods after hatching, skip the brooder box stage, keep them too cool, etc... A litany of mistakes are made. When these mistakes are NOT made, and everything is done correctly, they thrive and grow a lot faster. This is my reference to problem number one in the thread that was lined for you. Don't buy from the wrong source. Most sources are the wrong source. Few people start babies correctly. This is why I caution people to be careful with info found outside of this forum while doing "research". Almost everything you find on YT, FB, reddit, from pet shops, breeders, vets and books is going to be the same old wrong info.

We keep saying this, but I'm not sure it is getting through:
1. Platynota are better pets than elegans.
2. Playtnota are more hardy, more tolerant of mistakes, and more adaptable to more climate parameters. They can handle the inevitable cold spell with no problems. By mistake, mine have been left outside on nights in the low 40s, and one time in the 30s. Its a long story how this happened, but its happened several times over the last decade, and I have yet to see any sign of sickness even one time in any of my platynota.
3. Platynota have much "better" personalities. They aren't shy.
4. Platynota don't stress as easily, and are not prone to stress related sickness or problems.

There is nothing wrong with elegans and I like them too, but platynota are simply easier to keep, and less stressful to keep for all of the above reasons. They are not so sensitive. If the power goes out and they get too cold while you are sleeping, a platynota will be totally fine. Elegans might not be.

A male platynota can be smaller than a female elegans too, just for size considerations. A little male platynota, with its outgoing personality and hardy nature would make a great small tortoise pet. I think the vast majority of people would prefer them, if they had had experience with both species.

Feel free to question any of this. Argue your points. Let's converse. In time, you will learn everything we are saying one way or the other. My goal on this forum is to help people to not have to learn the hard way, as I did.
Haha, you definitely like Burmese more, but I still have my heart set on an Indian Star. An Indian Star hatchling was actually the first tortoise I saw that made me want to get a tortoise. The only reason I got an Eastern Hermann's instead was cuz I was intimidated by everyone saying they are extremely hard to take care of and can get sick and die easily. Now that I have had a few months experience taking care of a Hermann's hatchling and reading the guide's here on proper husbandry for an Indian Star, I am confident that I can provide it with the min humidity and temperature needed round the clock to ensure it won't get sick. Something about the coloring of it and the beautiful shape of it's high dome shell, also the small size of 5" makes it irresistibly adorable to me. I also like the more random star markings on it's shell. Hopefully I'll be able to find a male hatchling with a high dome shell and a beautiful yellow.

I believe it was this one I saw on a morphmarket listing that made me want one. The seller is a breeder and also a member of this forum too. It's too bad he doesn't have another one that looks similar to this one.
IST.jpeg

I won't have an issue with keeping them indoors permanently since that's what I've always planned. I have squirrels and huge, bold, and quite aggressive opossums outside so I would never feel secure leaving a small animal outside. I've seen the screened doors people make on outside enclosures and pretty sure, an opossum motivated enough will get into it anyway if it wants to.

I liked soaking my Hermann's hatchling twice a day for about 30 mins. First and foremost for hydration cuz I never saw it drink from the water dish but also cuz mine liked to poop twice a day. I figured it's cleaner if they poop in the soak. I've had people tell me it's way too much and I might have been harming it, do you think so? I didn't really see it protest much till the end when it wanted out and that's usually when I would take him out and put him back.

My take on it. People like what they work with and work with species they like. Reptiles have always been the most popular in FL and CA and this is where most tortoise breeders are. Most people that keep star tortoises like to keep them outside, and Burmese stars are more tolerant of climate in FL or CA than Indian stars, so they just work out better for people. In Florida, Indian stars have a reputation for not doing well, but it's entirely because people try to keep them outside in a low-maintenance fashion, and it's really not a good climate match. They get too cool at night and get respiratory issues. Same for most parts of CA. They do considerably better in low desert Arizona (with ample irrigation in summer).

If you are already in a situation where indoor housing is a given, being a little less active is a benefit because they need less space (on top of being smaller). And compared to other species, I certainly do not find Indian stars to be boring (compared to truly shy species like spider tortoises or most Cuora). It is true they generally won't eat out of your hand like some other tortoises will, but they'll happily walk over and eat in front of you.

The care is essentially identical between the two species, including optimal temperatures, except for the Burmese stars tolerating a little wider temp range makes it easier to keep them outdoors in marginal climates. I suspect the size difference is probably because all sorts of genetic lines are in the US and are now mixed up - in the wild, some populations stay very small, and some get quite large. The size of the eggs and hatchlings can vary a lot, accordingly. One thing is pretty consistent - if they are started off right, they grow VERY fast in the first few months. So, my opinion is, you want to see substantial new growth when buying hatchlings. If they don't show this growth they either literally just hatched (and are too young to ship) or they have been kept in bad conditions and aren't growing properly.
Huh, that makes a lot of sense. I actually kinda want something a little calmer than my previous Eastern Hermann's. That little guy was a bit too much. All day long he'd walk around trying to climb anything in sight and for the first 2 weeks kept flipping himself over trying to climb plants and even his own hide. I had to remove a lot of climbable things and had to install a baby camera in his enclosure to check if he flipped himself over when I was out. For a 4 month old he was quite strong too, knocking over things and dragging them around. He had quite an obsession with using his head to lift his hide too.

I'm trying to get one that's about 2 months old, that's why I'm stalking this forum for a reputable breeder so I don't have to be paranoid about it getting sick and dying on me shortly after. A lot of people have told me to get one that's 1yo, but then I'd miss the cutest part of their life.
 
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