new RT egg - fertile?


New Member
May 26, 2017
hi, new here. decided to join after trying to find some good info about tortoises (and to ask for advice) .. hope i'm posting in the right forum.

i'm an owner of two RTs, a 10 yr old male named oliver and an 11 yr old female named torte. we usually keep them in the same enclosure (after reading some things on here they will absolutely be separated..i'm going to try to build my own space saver enclosure and take them out to get exercise in a play pen every day. apartment living is difficult when these guys need so much room!)

anyways, about the egg. about five days ago, i check in the enclosure to take them out for some dinner and, to my surprise, there is a single egg laying in the middle of some hay! i did start panicking a bit, since i didn't have any supplies..
i made an impromptu incubator with a spare UTH, a glass pan, moist paper towels, and vermiculite from home depot (no additives, straight verm) and ordered a hovabator online, all while hoping i can help this egg. i also have no exact time of when she laid the egg because i'd been out all day. it feels solid, and looks like it's already calcified since it's not i also saw something about chalking but i'm not sure what that is...

so i get the hovabator through the mail a few days ago, a day and a half after ordering while the egg sits in my homemade thing. i get the temp up to a good 86-88°F (about 30-31°C) and try to fix the humidity..the egg was in moistened vermiculite but that shot the humidity up to 88%, so i changed it to dry and now it's at about 58-62%, with a flat pan of water next to the egg

so my questions-

is there any way to tell if there's a good chance the egg has been fertilized or is it still too early? --does the egg being solid and chalky off-white mean anything?

-should i find a way to raise the humidity at all?

-because i had to mess with the egg so much the first few days, will i have basically ruined the development of any possible life?

-should i be stressing out about this as much as i am?

some pics-


i appreciate any help i can get. thanks so much!


Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Nov 17, 2013

Normally, it is very hard to tell if an egg is fertile or not until about three weeks into the incubation period at which time one can see a tiny red spot (the blood spot) and a circular blood vessel (the halo) in the egg by candling it. This can be done without even lifting the egg up by placing a mini mag lite next to the egg at various positions around the circumference of the egg.

I would also recommend placing the cover gently over that container within the incubator so the heat from the element doesn't dry out the top of your egg. You don't need to snap it on, just place it on top. Make sure that the heating element doesn't touch the top of your container.

You can gently put some water from your water container on the egg with an eye dropper every 3-4 days to give it some moisture. Just a couple drops or so every few days is enough water.

I have never bred Russian Tortoises, but if you contact me, I will send you an article I wrote which describes more in detail how I incubate the eggs of several other tortoise species in Hovabators.

Good luck.

Bill Z
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