Leopard Tortoise starting to dig... need advice

thxkbye

Member
10 Year Member!
Joined
Mar 17, 2011
Messages
24
Location (City and/or State)
San Diego CA
Hello,

I believe my Leopard is getting ready to lay eggs, and I am working to prepare to incubate them. Do I need to do anything other than collect them as ive read and put them in the incubator? I am not sure if I need to leave them at room temp or not for awhile. This is my first time having eggs.

She started doing this yesterday, then got interrupted or gave up. I've loosened some ground all around her enclosure and she is alone. She is outdoors all the time.

Here is a video and photo of her. Thank you!!


20240503_153725.jpg
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
64,197
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
She looks like a South African. Is she? The male does not. Do you know what they are? Did you buy her from me, or from someone else who bought her from me? I've sold quite a few in SD. See that deep "V" in the shell above her head? That is not normal. Most of them don't have that. One of my females did have that. Her name is "V neck".

What ever you do, leave her be and let her lay and finish covering them up before you disturb her.

If there are SA genetics, you will need to cool the eggs. No one seems to have a perfect formula for this, and different things seem to work at different times, but you want them around 50-65 F degrees for about two months. If there are not SA genetics, then this cooling period won't hurt anything.

How close to the coast are you? You can probably leave them in the ground for their cooling period. Nights are cold enough, and June gloom helps too. Dig them up mid August and pop them into an incubator at 86-88 degrees.

Here is the egg info:
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
64,197
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
"V Neck" on the right and "Crooked Scute" on the left with the normal looking scutes above the neck.

IMG_2993.JPG
 

thxkbye

Member
10 Year Member!
Joined
Mar 17, 2011
Messages
24
Location (City and/or State)
San Diego CA
Thank you for the response! I am in mission hills not far from San Diego bay. I could leave them in the ground in that spot, should i do anything to protect it from predators like cover it with a big pot dish? Will the sprinklers or water effect it?

I am not sure of her origin, i rescued both of them, and the male has been relentless when they are together and now they are not. I didn't think the male was big enough to mate but apparently I was wrong.

I was going to pickup an incubator today, I really appreciate it. Its exciting to know they have been healthy and happy enough to breed!
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
64,197
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Thank you for the response! I am in mission hills not far from San Diego bay. I could leave them in the ground in that spot, should i do anything to protect it from predators like cover it with a big pot dish? Will the sprinklers or water effect it?

I am not sure of her origin, i rescued both of them, and the male has been relentless when they are together and now they are not. I didn't think the male was big enough to mate but apparently I was wrong.

I was going to pickup an incubator today, I really appreciate it. Its exciting to know they have been healthy and happy enough to breed!
They should never be in pairs, so definitely keep them separated.

Can we see pics of the male? Did you rescue them from two different sources? That female is very special. I'm surprised to hear it was a rescue. I'd bet money that I hatched her.

You should not need to cover the spot. Once they cover up the area and walk away, nothing can find them. Not even you, so mark the area carefully. I take pics of the female while laying from multiple angles so I can find the nest again weeks or months later. If you don't do this, they will be very hard to find. Ask me how I know this...

If you want to cover the spot, use a metal basket of some sort with tent stakes around the edges. I used to do this because my three females would each lay 8 clutches a year, and they would dig up each other's previously laid eggs while digging new nests in the same areas. You need a mesh so that the eggs and the earth can "breathe". The sun and the cold night air need to touch the surface above the eggs. Like this:
IMG_7429.JPG
 

thxkbye

Member
10 Year Member!
Joined
Mar 17, 2011
Messages
24
Location (City and/or State)
San Diego CA
So she dug this hole for hours then gave up. Nobody interrupted her, so I guess she didn't like the spot and gave up?

20240619_163553.jpg
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
64,197
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
So she dug this hole for hours then gave up. Nobody interrupted her, so I guess she didn't like the spot and gave up?

View attachment 372507
They dig test holes all the time. Doesn't mean anything. Try watering the best laying areas tonight after the tortoise is in its house for the night. The dampness tomorrow morning might help.
 

thxkbye

Member
10 Year Member!
Joined
Mar 17, 2011
Messages
24
Location (City and/or State)
San Diego CA
They dig test holes all the time. Doesn't mean anything. Try watering the best laying areas tonight after the tortoise is in its house for the night. The dampness tomorrow morning might help.
Thanks @Tom Any ideas from the photos above what they might be?
 

New Posts

Top