Soda's Tortoise Garden

Our First Captive-Bred Tortoise

On December 8, 2005, my female Indian Star tortoise laid 3 eggs. Though there were 2 male stars in the group, I didn't have high hopes that the eggs are fertile since this is their first clutch. But on April 19, 2006, as soon as I woke up, I took a peek at the egg container like any other day. I couldn't believe what I saw! One of the eggs was partly cracked and a tortoise head was peeking out! I quickly grabbed my video camera and a fresh mini-DV and took photos and videos all morning. I didn't care that I showed up late for work that day. I've been waiting for this moment since 1999!

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This is Cracker, our first captive-bred Star tortoise still in his partially cracked egg. In the middle photo, you can see his yolk sac. The right most photo is with his mother where you can see the size difference. Adult female Stars aren't very big and lay an average of 3 eggs per clutch, and 1-2 clutches per year.

Cracker's Video

Since 2006, I kept a raw digitized copy of the video. I only uploaded this video when I built this website in 2010. It's not HD quality but it serves its purpose. So here it is!


Growth of a Star Tortoise Hatchling

Hand vs Hatchling

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April 2006 (left) and May 2006 (right) - Notice that Cracker's shell is still deformed after a few days from hatching. After a few weeks, his shell had straightened out.


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August 2006 (left) and September 2006 (right) - Male Star tortoises only reach an adult size of 5-6 inches, whereas females can grow up to 10-12 inches. Cracker's growth is very slow compared to our Sulcatas and Radiatas.


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August 2007 (left) and June 2008 (right)


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Nearly at his adult size at around 5 inches on November 2009, more than 3 years later.


Candling Indian Star Tortoise Eggs

Hatchling Star Tortoise Compared to Its Mother

Photos of Cracker with his mother, Bashful


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April 2006 - The hatchling started to eat as soon as the yolk sac was fully absorbed after around 3-5 days


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October 2006 - Only a few months old, the size difference between Cracker and Bashful is still obvious.


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February 2010 - Cracker, who turned out to be a male Star tortoise has now reached his adult size of around 5 inches. Notice his long tail at the right. Bashful has a shorter tail and is bigger at around 8.5 inches.


Old Photos of Our Adult Star Tortoises

On December 28, 1999, I got my very first tortoise which I named Bashful! Our Star tortoises took a long time to grow unlike our Sulcatas and Radiatas. It takes about 5 years for them to reach adult size, which is an average of around 5 inches for males, and 9 inches for females.

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Geochelone elegans eventually outgrowing my hand after 5 years

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Bashful compared to a one peso coin.


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This is our other adult female Star tortoise inside a basket when she was just a hatchling. At full size, only her head can fit inside! It's difficult to notice their growth when you see them everyday but these photos say it all! Taken in 2005.


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Happy (left) and Bashful (right) in a photo studio set-up, 2004


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Happy dragging along a plastic chair with him! November, 2007.


Scanned Pictures from 1999 to 2000

Digital cameras were not popular back then so I took photos using film and had them developed. Here are scanned pictures of our first few tortoises from 1999 to 2000. I had 7 Indian stars so I conveniently named them after the seven dwarves.


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This was my first terrarium set-up. I know I shouldn't have used pebbles, but I didn't know it that time.


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These pictures were shot by my friend in University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City


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These were my 3 most favorite photos before digital cameras


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Photos taken in Ateneo de Manila University





All photos property of (2009-2017)

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