WTH? Any ideas?

Jodie

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Scarlett, my 20 pound female rescue from last fall, is a very difficult tortoise. After major surgery last October to remove broken eggs, and repair her uterus, she laid 2 clutches of eggs this summer outside. So far 4 hatchlings. I am in the north, so they have to come inside in October. She laid 1 clutch inside the end of October. She just dropped them though. She had dug a nest in the area I have for this purpose, but walked away without laying.
Anyway, I made the nest area bigger and deeper. It is about 18 inches now, and 5feet by 3feet. She dug again and walked away. Today I get home and she has dropped her eggs in her water dish. There was 7 normal eggs, 1she stepped on and broke, and 1 tiny egg. About the size of a marble.
What can I do, besides move south, IMG 20151201 162939 to make this better for her? Any ideas on the tiny egg?
IMG 20151201 163335
This is the nesting area.
IMG 20151201 173231
IMG 20151201 173154
 

Tom

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I've always wondered how people in the frozen North deal with this. Some females are very picky with where they will lay, and some of them end up egg bound because of it. All of my females walk all over the huge pen and often dig several test holes until they find just the right spot. I don't know what it is they are looking for, but it seems to be a combination of security, warmth, soil composition and soil humidity.

I don't know how to solve this problem indoors except to offer more space, different substrates and differing humidity levels in differing depths of substrates.
 

Jodie

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I've always wondered how people in the frozen North deal with this. Some females are very picky with where they will lay, and some of them end up egg bound because of it. All of my females walk all over the huge pen and often dig several test holes until they find just the right spot. I don't know what it is they are looking for, but it seems to be a combination of security, warmth, soil composition and soil humidity.

I don't know how to solve this problem indoors except to offer more space, different substrates and differing humidity levels in differing depths of substrates.
I am going to try different dirt next year. Both times she laid outside, it was one hole in the same spot. It was dry and Sandy.
What do I make of that tiny egg? Have you seen this before?
 

Tom

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Newly mature females, and post surgical females will sometimes do odd things like lay a tiny egg. Every once in a while a normal female will drop an oddball too.
 

Jodie

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Newly mature females, and post surgical females will sometimes do odd things like lay a tiny egg. Every once in a while a normal female will drop an oddball too.
That makes me feel better. Thank you.
 

wellington

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@wellington you are breeding in Chicago right? What do you do for nesting this time of year?
Well, I sunk a large garbage can into the floor of the enclosure and filled it with dirt. She dug one test hole but so far that has been it. Have no idea if she is holding or not. Also not sure if she hates the spot I made for her or if because she falsely used it once if she won't use it again. Fingers crossed the three clutches she laid is it for this year. Plans are on the to do list to expand the dirt area. Her darn holes are 12 inches deep, so some major dirt loads are needed.
 

wellington

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Looks like you have done all you can. The one clutch my female laid, she did so have outside in a hole then the rest inside just on the floor. Not sure why she walked away from the nest to begin with. My outdoors has clay under the thick layer of black dirt that's then under the sod, came with the yard lol. I didn't change anything.
 

Jodie

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She dug one test hole but so far that has been it. Have no idea if she is holding or not.

FYI: When Scarlett is holding eggs, she paces, and tries to knock over her walls. She also drinks a lot, and urinates everywhere. Am excited she finally laid, and I can clean up her enclosure with some hope of it staying somewhat clean.
Last year when she was bound, she was badly constipated. Was my first clue something was wrong.

Her darn holes are 12 inches deep, so some major dirt loads are needed.
Tell me about it. I am paranoid the floor of the bedroom my tortoises are in is going to end up downstairs. My husband assures me the weight is fine. I measured her outside nest, and it was a foot as well. Her area is foot and half now. Still not happy with it. Am thinking dampness might be the issue. Wil have to experiment and learn I suppose. Hope my other almost mature female is not going to be completely different.
Hope yours lays for you, if she needs to, without problems.
 
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