Russian Tortoise may be laying eggs

Brookelyn

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Hockley, TX
We thought we had 2 male tortoises that were housed separately until we went on vacation...we now know we have a male and female. How will I know if our female lays eggs? She is currently trying to pile all her bark into a pile under her heater which she has never done before...thank you for your help! I should add that she has a 50 gal aquarium to herself.
 

DoubleD1996!

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Well, you have to be certain first. If it has a long tail that it keeps curled to the side, its a male for sure.

If female, a small tail. The two should still be separated as the male will continually harass her to breed, nipping her at the forearms, peeling the scoots which could lead to stress and potential infections. They do better in a balanced ratio, which is why I keep mine seperate as I have too.many males.

As far as the eggs, she needs a deep moist substrate to lay them. You can tell if they're fertile if the eggs begin to "chalk" turn a pure white, or you can candle them for an embryo. The embryo should be positioned at the top of the egg during incubation so it doesn't drown.

The best thing to do is mark the eggs in the position you find them before collecting them.

And if you can build a bigger, wooden enclosure, go for it. I know it isn't always practical due to finances or space, but aquariums aren't the way to go for torts.

Hope I helped a little, good luck.
 

Brookelyn

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Joined
Feb 9, 2024
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Location (City and/or State)
Hockley, TX
Well, you have to be certain first. If it has a long tail that it keeps curled to the side, its a male for sure.

If female, a small tail. The two should still be separated as the male will continually harass her to breed, nipping her at the forearms, peeling the scoots which could lead to stress and potential infections. They do better in a balanced ratio, which is why I keep mine seperate as I have too.many males.

As far as the eggs, she needs a deep moist substrate to lay them. You can tell if they're fertile if the eggs begin to "chalk" turn a pure white, or you can candle them for an embryo. The embryo should be positioned at the top of the egg during incubation so it doesn't drown.

The best thing to do is mark the eggs in the position you find them before collecting them.

And if you can build a bigger, wooden enclosure, go for it. I know it isn't always practical due to finances or space, but aquariums aren't the way to go for torts.

Hope I helped a little, good luck.
Thank you! We have them separated again and will keep them that way!

I had no idea that an aquarium was not ideal...we have had them for 2 years and we're told to get an aquarium for them....we will definitely look at other options.

Can I dig into the bark to see if she has eggs in there? I don't want to disturb them or upset her...
 

zovick

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Thank you! We have them separated again and will keep them that way!

I had no idea that an aquarium was not ideal...we have had them for 2 years and we're told to get an aquarium for them....we will definitely look at other options.

Can I dig into the bark to see if she has eggs in there? I don't want to disturb them or upset her...
Is your female moving the bark with her back legs? If so, she may be trying to dig a nest hole.

Yes, you can look for the eggs if she is finished moving the bark and not near it any longer. It will not upset the tortoise. In fact, if there are eggs and you don't retrieve them, the female may walk over them and accidentally break them.

Russian Tortoises lay their eggs, then walk away and never look back. They don't remember where the eggs are at all. There is no maternal care of the nest or the eggs in this species. The babies hatch and are 100% on their own from the day they are born.
 
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DoubleD1996!

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Thank you! We have them separated again and will keep them that way!

I had no idea that an aquarium was not ideal...we have had them for 2 years and we're told to get an aquarium for them....we will definitely look at other options.

Can I dig into the bark to see if she has eggs in there? I don't want to disturb them or upset her...
Of course. If you intend to hatch them out, collect the eggs in the position you find them and incubate them in vermiculite in a container. You moisten it to the point where it clumps in your hand, but no water when you squeeze.

If you don't have an incubator, you could use a heat pad with a thermostat and keep it around 85-90
 

Tom

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Of course. If you intend to hatch them out, collect the eggs in the position you find them and incubate them in vermiculite in a container. You moisten it to the point where it clumps in your hand, but no water when you squeeze.

If you don't have an incubator, you could use a heat pad with a thermostat and keep it around 85-90
Have you incubated Russian eggs that way? Every time I've seen anyone add moisture to the media for Russian eggs, they swell and crack open.
 

Tom

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We thought we had 2 male tortoises that were housed separately until we went on vacation...we now know we have a male and female. How will I know if our female lays eggs? She is currently trying to pile all her bark into a pile under her heater which she has never done before...thank you for your help! I should add that she has a 50 gal aquarium to herself.
Hello and welcome.

Here is egg info:

Here is general info to catch you up to speed:

Here is the specific Russian care info:
Here is thttps://tortoiseforum.org/threads/the-best-way-to-raise-any-temperate-species-of-tortoise.183131/
 

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