THE DIRTY (HALF) DOZEN: Ground-hatched Pardalis pardalis from Tom...a NEW experiment

DeanS

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A couple weeks back I went to pick up the ground hatched sulcatas from Tom...and came across a newly surfaced leopard nestled up against a retaining wall. I then got it in my head to raise Tom's leopards...today I picked up these six! I'll do what I do for a year...and they will be raised in exactly the same manner as I do sulcata. Only thing is...they will not share space...EVER! Here are a few shots!
IMG_3782.JPG IMG_3783.JPG IMG_3781.JPG IMG_3778.JPG
 

Minority2

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Can you please outline all of the care practices and conditions you plan on using for these tortoises into a single post for possible discussions and referencing in the future?
 

Tom

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I can't wait to see how they turn out. I'm anticipating 1000 gram 9 month old bowling ball smooth babies.
 

Yvonne G

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So was this a nest that wasn't known of? I'm just curious about the diapause thing.
 

DeanS

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So was this a nest that wasn't known of? I'm just curious about the diapause thing.
I always liked that word...diapause...but does it apply here? That smallest one literally came out of the ground the same morning I picked them up...I was getting 5...they became 6 )
 

DeanS

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Can you please outline all of the care practices and conditions you plan on using for these tortoises into a single post for possible discussions and referencing in the future?
As Tom raises his GP pardalis the same way he does his sulcata...I'll do the same! Since I raise them altogether differently, it might be reasonable to expect a dual sulcata/pardalis care [email protected]
 

Yvonne G

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I always liked that word...diapause...but does it apply here? That smallest one literally came out of the ground the same morning I picked them up...I was getting 5...they became 6 )
Well, I thought the SA leopard eggs required a diapause. Is this wrong? If so I'm going through a cooling/warming rigamarole and the added expense of buying a wine cooler for nothing???????
 

DeanS

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Well, I thought the SA leopard eggs required a diapause. Is this wrong? If so I'm going through a cooling/warming rigamarole and the added expense of buying a wine cooler for nothing???????
There's nothing wrong with buying a wine cooler...especially if you're cooling wine!:p:);)
 

Markw84

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Well, I thought the SA leopard eggs required a diapause. Is this wrong? If so I'm going through a cooling/warming rigamarole and the added expense of buying a wine cooler for nothing???????
Since Tom's SA Leopards lay through late fall and early winter - they go through a natural diapause in the ground over winter. The diapause is broken in spring as ground temps rise.
 

DeanS

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Since Tom's SA Leopards lay through late fall and early winter - they go through a natural diapause in the ground over winter. The diapause is broken in spring as ground temps rise.
EXACTLY!
 

diamondbp

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Well, I thought the SA leopard eggs required a diapause. Is this wrong? If so I'm going through a cooling/warming rigamarole and the added expense of buying a wine cooler for nothing???????
Have you had any success with PP eggs yet Yvonne? One of my first year PP females currently has 5 clutches that all look like duds. In contrast my other PP female has what looks to be a 50% fertility ratio with the same diapause "wine cooler" period.
 

DeanS

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This is the plan...they are kept on boiled/soaked/drained coconut bark...temps are set at 90ºF...no artificial lighting or UV...and 100% Relative Humidity. Once humidity drops to 90%...I repeat the boil/soak/drain approach to the substrate! I've ALWAYS used coco coir:coconut bark at a 1:4 ratio. But with the last group of sulcata thriving as they did...I dropped the coir. Plus, it's less mess! here they are soaking this morning! IMG_3798.JPG IMG_3799.JPG IMG_3800.JPG IMG_3801.JPG IMG_3803.JPG
Eating at noon (I'm on the phone with Tom)! IMG_3808.JPG IMG_3809.JPG IMG_3810.JPG
And this is what the 6 did to a fresh growth Opuntia cacanapa pad overnight/early AM) IMG_3805.JPG
 

Tom

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So was this a nest that wasn't known of? I'm just curious about the diapause thing.
This was a nest from sometime in spring or summer of 2017 that I missed. The eggs stayed underground where the female left them and I didn't even know they were there. All that winter rain, and scorching hot summer days, and they just started coming out of the ground about two weeks ago.

This is how the man we all got the Gpp does it. They start laying in May or June and mine keep laying until late October or early November. Then the eggs sit there until late spring of the next year and start to incubate and develop when the temps get and stay consistently hot in summer. They incubate all summer long and finally hatch about this time of year. If you go back and look at my original Gpp posts from 2010 and 2011, you'll see that right now is the time of year when I got them.

So a clutch laid in May of 2017 (Like his one.), will not hatch until October of 2018.

I know of no one having good success with artificial incubation with this type of tortoise. I hatched 10 out of more than 100 eggs my first year, and 8 out of 100+ eggs this year. Dismal failure. Yet this one clutch left in the ground produced almost as many as I could hatch artificially. This is exactly what the original breeder told me too. This year, I am leaving all of them in the ground and covering the nests with little baskets to leave them open to the elements but protect them from the other females digging them up to lay another nest.

In this picture you can see one basket just past the nesting female, and another in the foreground. I set the blocks on top of the baskets to keep the bull-in-a-china-shop males from knocking and shoving the baskets out of their way.
IMG_6164.JPG

There are about a dozen nests in this general area. I intend to block off the whole area and remove the baskets in the next month or so when they stop laying for the season. Next spring, they can lay outside the blocked area and all these babies will hatch inside my blocked area and be contained for easy discovery and pick up before the predators find them. When the babies are done hatching in late October of 2019, I will remove the wall and give the girls access to this area again for the laying season of 2020.

As an experiment, I am going to put two of these clutches in my regular incubator in the Spring of 2019, and two more in a new incubator I am making that will have a daytime temp around 84-85 and a night drop down to 70-75. The rest of these eggs will be left in the ground to hatch on their own. About one year from now, we will know much more about hatching Gpp.

After talking to Dan in NY today, I also suspect that Chersina angulata, which come from the same general area and climate as our Gpp, might also need to stay in the ground this way to successfully develop and hatch. Plans are under way to figure that out, and I'll have an answer in another couple of years, hopefully.
 

DeanS

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This was a nest from sometime in spring or summer of 2017 that I missed. The eggs stayed underground where the female left them and I didn't even know they were there. All that winter rain, and scorching hot summer days, and they just started coming out of the ground about two weeks ago.

This is how the man we all got the Gpp does it. They start laying in May or June and mine keep laying until late October or early November. Then the eggs sit there until late spring of the next year and start to incubate and develop when the temps get and stay consistently hot in summer. They incubate all summer long and finally hatch about this time of year. If you go back and look at my original Gpp posts from 2010 and 2011, you'll see that right now is the time of year when I got them.

So a clutch laid in May of 2017 (Like his one.), will not hatch until October of 2018.

I know of no one having good success with artificial incubation with this type of tortoise. I hatched 10 out of more than 100 eggs my first year, and 8 out of 100+ eggs this year. Dismal failure. Yet this one clutch left in the ground produced almost as many as I could hatch artificially. This is exactly what the original breeder told me too. This year, I am leaving all of them in the ground and covering the nests with little baskets to leave them open to the elements but protect them from the other females digging them up to lay another nest.

In this picture you can see one basket just past the nesting female, and another in the foreground. I set the blocks on top of the baskets to keep the bull-in-a-china-shop males from knocking and shoving the baskets out of their way.
View attachment 254621

There are about a dozen nests in this general area. I intend to block off the whole area and remove the baskets in the next month or so when they stop laying for the season. Next spring, they can lay outside the blocked area and all these babies will hatch inside my blocked area and be contained for easy discovery and pick up before the predators find them. When the babies are done hatching in late October of 2019, I will remove the wall and give the girls access to this area again for the laying season of 2020.

As an experiment, I am going to put two of these clutches in my regular incubator in the Spring of 2019, and two more in a new incubator I am making that will have a daytime temp around 84-85 and a night drop down to 70-75. The rest of these eggs will be left in the ground to hatch on their own. About one year from now, we will know much more about hatching Gpp.

After talking to Dan in NY today, I also suspect that Chersina angulata, which come from the same general area and climate as our Gpp, might also need to stay in the ground this way to successfully develop and hatch. Plans are under way to figure that out, and I'll have an answer in another couple of years, hopefully.

@Tom GREAT info!
 

kingsley

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9AD8BA8B-B3BD-4B0B-902F-72A9758BD462.jpeg 475116B9-E092-4975-ABD0-45EEDC76981D.jpeg A25A1939-AD8B-444F-811C-E7D0775A4758.jpeg 55F370BF-33B7-4889-BA60-849E402C33C5.jpeg Boy am I glad that I stumbled onto this post!!! I got this amazing group of GPP from a gentleman after years of bugging him for them. He finally agreed to part with them after 20 + years of ownership as he is retiring and i just got them last month. Tom we need to chat about the incubation protocol in a few weeks at TTPG. Here are some pics of them.
 

diamondbp

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@kingsley that's awesome. What sex ratio is the group? They look outstanding.
@Yvonne G it looks like I may be running into a similar issue. Though I definitely have a handful of goods eggs from one of my females that I see obvious vein development when candled.
@Tom thanks for the info on how you are handling your nest. Being in south Louisiana myself I unfortunately don't have the option of leaving them in the ground with our super high moisture content in the soil and our very high water table. Not to mention the insane amount of fire ants.
I'm considering creating an elevated nest box of similar dirt to what might be "native". I'll move the eggs out of their nest and create nest cavities to place them in. I'll have keep it under my back porch area so it doesn't get rained on all the time. I'm just worried the temps might fluctuate more with an elevated nest box rather than true in ground incubation. I guess we will found out next year.

@DeanS I'm looking forward to your updates. They are outstanding babies.
 

DeanS

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Just gonna let THE DIRTY (HALF) DOZEN do what they do this week...I'll dig deeper into a regimen on Monday! Their morning soak...they sure do huddle a lot! IMG_3895.JPG
 
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