Texas tortoise eggs

Reptar123

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Hello!

I care for a Texas Tortoise who started exhibiting laying behavior in June. We saw her digging in multiple places. She did not lay. Since then we have had to move her multiple times for various reasons, as much as we have tried to keep her in one place to let her feel settled. For the past two weeks she has been in the same spot that we have tried to set up as comfortable and tortoise friendly as possible. We have made sure she has soft and moist soil to dig in, try to give her sprinkler often since people have said they lay after a good rain, and now the vet has given her a oxytocin and calcium injection in hopes that will encourage her to lay. Does anyone have any advice?? Or know how long they can hold eggs for?? ANY advice will be helpful.

Thank you!
 

Markw84

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Did the vet xray to be sure there were indeed eggs present? I can't imagine giving oxytocin if they did not. Were the eggs fully calcified and ready to lay?

A suitable nesting site can be a very particular thing a tortoise looks for. Too wet, too dry, too cold or warm and they will not be stimulated to lay. Often they want a slight slope and often near cover of some type, like a bush or even a wall. The soil must be firm enough to dig in and hold shape well. Often times, late afternoon tends to be a time they choose a spot.

Perhaps a picture of the sites you have available for her and a description of the soil would be helpful for suggestions.
 

Yvonne G

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Texas and Desert tortoises sometimes like to dig nests near the mouth of their shelter.

One thing for all our members to remember: It is illegal to artificially incubate Gopherus eggs, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife prefer that you not knowingly allow Gopherus tortoises to breed. Once a Gopherus tortoise has laid eggs, it is ok to leave them in the ground and let nature take its course.
 

Reptar123

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IMG_4597.JPG IMG_4598.JPG IMG_4599.JPG

Thanks you for the responses! Here are some pictures of her enclosure. Yes, the vet radiographed 3 different times over the past few months. The eggs don't seem to be moving. Three look calcified. Two look like they may not be. It has been the same on all three radiographs. The soil is pretty hard to dig into due to grass and bamboo roots through out. She does spend a lot of time under the bamboo that can be seen in the second and third picture. We do close her in the box seen in the first picture over night due to risk of predation. Also, we will start having to bring her inside soon due to cold weather. Indoors she has a (about) 3 ft by 10 ft enclosure full of potting soil with a hide box and heat/UV lamps.

We will not be incubating the eggs.

Again, thank you for any input or advice.


Did the vet xray to be sure there were indeed eggs present? I can't imagine giving oxytocin if they did not. Were the eggs fully calcified and ready to lay?

A suitable nesting site can be a very particular thing a tortoise looks for. Too wet, too dry, too cold or warm and they will not be stimulated to lay. Often they want a slight slope and often near cover of some type, like a bush or even a wall. The soil must be firm enough to dig in and hold shape well. Often times, late afternoon tends to be a time they choose a spot.

Perhaps a picture of the sites you have available for her and a description of the soil would be helpful for suggestions.
 

Reptar123

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Also, do you guys know if Sulcattas and Texas torts can interbreed? This female used to live with a male Sulcatta of similar size. We never saw any breeding but we did separate them once we saw her exhibiting the laying behavior. Or will tortoises lay eggs that are infertile..?
 

Markw84

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Also, do you guys know if Sulcattas and Texas torts can interbreed? This female used to live with a male Sulcatta of similar size. We never saw any breeding but we did separate them once we saw her exhibiting the laying behavior. Or will tortoises lay eggs that are infertile..?
A sulcata of that size would definately not be sexually mature. Even if they could interbreed, I doubt the eggs would be fertile. They are not that genetically close as interbreeding would go.
 

Yvonne G

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Yes, tortoises can lay infertile eggs.
 

Reptar123

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Okay, thank you for the information. What do you guys think of the enclosure pictures? We were recently told to expand the dug up soil to three times the size it is now and to add some sand. Any thoughts?
 

Yvonne G

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Usually hard soil, or hard-to-dig-in soil, does not interfere with a female's interest in egg laying. When they get in nesting mode they are very strong and can dig very hard ground. I doubt tough Bermuda roots will interfere with her. Also, they pee a lot into the digging area to soften the dirt. A female tortoise chooses her own spot, and it's usually not where you'd like her to nest.
 

Reptar123

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update- she did end up laying four of the calcified eggs after a few rounds of inducing injections. She still has two "slugs", as our vet has been calling them or uncalcified eggs, and doesn't seem to be interested in laying them. The vet is talking about surgery since this has been going on so long. Tortoise surgery sounds terrible to me so I am looking for any last minute advice. Is there any chance that being put with a male might induce her?
 

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