Of all the tortoises I've kept since '99, Soda is the friendliest. He will follow you around like a dog and will stand up high from the ground and stretch his head all the way out to be stroked. Nothing makes a tortoise owner happier than a healthy tort full of life and personality.
You could say that Soda is like a hollywood star because he loves to pose for the camera. You'll see what I mean when you see his photo gallery by clicking HERE!
SODA'S SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS
Check out Soda's Instagram @sodatort for more photos, videos and memes!
Click on the screenshot below for a preview.
Update: Now with more than 3000 followers!
This is Mocha, my favorite Geochelone Sulcata
I got him last May 2007 along with three 2.5-inch baby Sulcatas. Mocha started out the smallest but had the smoothest shell growth. After a year, he outgrew all other Sulcatas and still maintained his unpyramided shell which is difficult to achieve in Sulcatas kept in captivity. It's strange because all his siblings had slightly bumpy shells even if they had the same diet, environment, routine, etc. Now he's more than a foot long!
For more pictures, click HERE! You may also see more pictures and videos of him in Instagram @sodatort
Introducing Cracker, my first captive bred tortoise
On April 2006, Cracker was hatched! This was a very special moment with a lot of firsts. Bashful, my very first tortoise with her first clutch of eggs, produced my first captive bred tortoise! It was a very special moment indeed.
This was Whitey, our adult female Radiated tort.
She had a white forehead, unlike most Radiatas. Thus the name, Whitey. We had her from November 2002 to March 2009. I got her when I was still taking my undergrad and we've gone through a lot. She was already 13 inches and ready to breed soon. She was a good pet and was used to having people around. Everytime I walked to her enclosure, she would approach me and make eye-contact. She loves to be petted and scratched on the head.
I invite you to see memories with Whitey by clicking HERE
Some basic information about tortoises in the Philippines
There are a lot of articles about tortoises in the internet but there's not a lot about tortoise care in the Philippines. Though turtles and tortoises are not very popular in the Philippines, the hobby is actually picking up the past several years. There are also more Philippine forums and groups via Facebook these days so it's easier to exchange information now.
To those who are just starting, I came up with a quick list of FAQ's with a lot of photos. The answers are more directed to Philippine tortoise hobbyists. I hope it helps.
My goal is to breed the magnificent Astrochelys Radiata!
Soda and Cola finally started to show interest in each other after being together for a few years. They didn't seem to mind each other at first so when the time came that Soda started chasing and mating Cola, I was thrilled. That was around November to December of 2013. I got even more excited when Cola laid her first clutch in December 2014! It was an amazing experience for me. I never realized Cola was a skilled digger, lol! She dug a hole that was around 6 to 8 inches deep. It had a narrow opening and a wide base. It was amazing really.
I love to document and take photos and videos. In this page you'll see Soda and Cola chasing each other, bumping and mating. You'll also see Cola's nests, how she does her digging, and how the eggs come out. It's an awesome experience that I would really love to share.
Please click the photo below to see more photos and videos!
Pictured above is Cola laying 3 eggs back in 2014. She's been laying 3-6 eggs every 2-4 months ever since.
14 Years in the Making!
After working with this species since 2002, hard work and perseverance finally paid off! This is possibly the first captive bred Radiated tortoise in the Philippines, or at least the first one fully documented online.
Congrats to Soda and Cola! 3 years of mating and laying finally bore fruit. I was convinced that Soda is infertile. I am glad to be proven wrong! Sorry, Soda!
Congrats to the entire SODATORT team!
- Dennis, owner and overall lead
- Lourdes my mom and staff, operations
- Jenny my gf, social media and moral support
- All those who became part of Soda's journey
*Also posted on Instagram, Facebook and Youtube
I saw this in the morning of December 29, 2016. It was unexpected because I already concluded that all of the Radiata eggs are infertile. I just opened the incubator to check for Star tortoise eggs and I saw this! I was shocked and I couldn't believe it. I even thought it was already dead!
Its yolk sac was almost fully absorbed. The egg probably hatched out 1-2 days prior.
This is me helping the Radiata hatchling out of its eg. It did most of the work because the egg is fully broken. It was just tangled and couldn't break free.
Click below for a video of the baby's first steps:
*More information, photos and videos coming soon*
Aside from breeding Radiated tortoises, we are also trying to breed their beautiful but smaller cousins, the Indian Star tortoise.
Star tortoises also known as Geochelone elegans are once again growing in popularity. They were my first tortoises back in 1999 and I was able to produce only one hatchling in 2006 before working abroad. The breeding project stopped in 2007. Now, I've also made it my goal to breed this beautiful species again. Star tortoises will always be one of my favorite tortoise species!
Pictured above is Cola beside one of my female Star tortoises. Both of them are already egg-laying adults. Notice the size difference between the two. Indian Stars usually reach an adult size of about 7 to 10 inches for females and around 5-6 inches for males. Radiated tortoises may reach up to 14 to 16 inches.
Click for more photos and videos of Star tortoises breeding, digging, laying and more!
Here you can see the eggs are chalking, which are the white spots on top part of the eggs. The egg at the upper right of the photo is not chalking and this usually means the egg is not fertile.
Veins can be seen when doing the process called candling. It's basically just putting a small flashlight or LED penlight on the or near the surface of the egg while in a dark room. By doing so, you'll be able to see veins forming inside the egg if the eggs are good.
Note: This is a legal breeding initiative with valid DENR Certificate of Wildlife Registration (CWR)
How dennistort.com started
I first created this site on March 2010 using webs.com, a free website builder. As my interest in making websites grew, I started to study Dreamweaver, purchase a domain, and sign up for my own web hosting provider. So here it is now!
Photos & Videos
I wanted to share pictures of my tortoises in different forums but I have too many of them mixed up in my hard disk since 1999. So I decided to make a webpage so I can organize and showcase them to my fellow tortoise hobbyists. With this website, I can give an overview about myself, my tortoises, and share photos, videos, stories, information and experiences all in one place.
I will soon be selling tortoise food for hobbyists in the Philippines. I've tried several brands and I usually order more than what my tortoises consume. I occasionally mix them with plants and veggies.
I wanted a place to showcase our tortoise replicas. These are such beautiful creations and I want all tortoise hobbyists to have at least one! Click the photos below to see my collection and what's available!
I started with one Indian Star tortoise on December of 1999. By the end of January 2000, I had 7 Star tortoises. I was then starting my Engineering degree and I had only little resources. But I was determined to have more tortoises and saved up as much as I could. After selling some of my old collections (such as comics, NBA cards, GI JOE, etc.), the Stars were soon followed by Elongatas and Sulcatas. As soon as I passed my ECE board exams and got a job, I took my hobby up a notch by getting Redfoots, Leopard tortoises, Radiated tortoises, and more.
I was not always successful with all of them and deaths do occur, sadly. But some tortoises made it through and they've been with us for several years now! I also tried to keep other reptiles like snakes and lizards but I was always very passionate about tortoises.
I was born and raised in Manila, Philippines. I worked abroad, travelled, and moved to the US to take my master's degree. I try to come home as many times as possible. While I'm away, my kind family manages the care of all torts and I also have friends helping me out.
Update: as of August of 2013, I'm officially back in Manila, Philippines!
Soda, Cola, Mocha, Jenny and me
This is me holding my first captive-bred Radiata hatchling along with the Radiata adults
Mocha's growth over the years
Back in 1999 with my first two tortoises, Indian Stars.
I was wearing a traditional formal wear called, Barong Tagalog.
NOTE: All tortoises are part of my DENR-CWR headcount which I got during the amnesty for exotic pets several years ago. These tortoises were captive-bred from local and international breeders and were not caught from the wild. Great efforts are being done to breed them and contribute to the conservation of critically endangered tortoise species.