Cracker, The Indian Star Tortoise

On April 16, 2006, we produced our very first and only IST hatchling. We named him Cracker. This was a very special moment with a lot of firsts. Bashful, our very first tortoise laid her first clutch of eggs which produced our first ever captive-bred tortoise! This section shows Cracker, our first hatchling, and his mother, Bashful as well as our other adult Indian Star tortoises. We had Bashful since 1999 and here you'll see her growth up until she reached adulthood and produced her very own offspring, Cracker.


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!

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.

hatchling star tortoise

hatchling star tortoise

hatchling star tortoise

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Photos of Cracker with his mother, Bashful

Bashful and Cracker are both very special. Bashful is our first tortoise, and Cracker is Bashful's first hatchling.

female star tortoise and hatchling

hatchling star tortoise

hatchling star tortoise

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

female star tortoise and hatchling

female star tortoise and hatchling

female star tortoise and hatchling

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

female star tortoise and hatchling

female star tortoise and hatchling

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.

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Growth of a Star Tortoise Hatchling

Cracker compared to my hand in a span of several months and years

star tortoise hatchling

April 30, 2006. Its shell is still deformed right after hatching.

hatchling star tortoise

May 12, 2006. After a few weeks, its shell had straightened out.

baby star tortoise

August 2006

star tortoise hatchling

September 2006. Male Star tortoises, like Cracker only reach an adult size of 5-6 inches, whereas females can grow up to 10-12 inches. His growth is very slow compared to our Sulcatas and Radiatas.

star tortoise hatchling

August 2007

star tortoise hatchling

June 2008

star tortoise hatchling

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

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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.

geochelone elegans

Bashful, my first ever tortoise purchased on December 28, 1999

geochelone elegans

Geochelone elegans eventually outgrowing my hand after 5 years

star tortoise

star tortoise

Bashful compared to a one peso coin.

star tortoise growth

This is Happy, our other adult female Star tortoise. She could easily fit inside this basket when we got her. After a few years, only her head can fit inside! It is difficult to notice their growth when you see them everyday but these photos say it all!

indian star tortoises philippines

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

star tortoises philippines

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

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Scanned Pictures from 1999 to 2000

Digital cameras were not yet popular back then so I took photos using analogue cameras 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.

star tortoise philippines

This was my first terrarium set-up. I know I should not have used pebbles, but I did not know it that time.

star tortoise philippines

6 star tortoises on a log

star tortoise philippines

star tortoise philippines

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

star tortoise philippines

These were my 3 most favorite photos before digital cameras

star tortoises philippines

star tortoise philippines

star tortoise philippines

Photos taken in Ateneo de Manila University

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First Video of Cracker

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!

Video taken in 2006 and digitized in 2010

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Candling Indian Star Tortoise Eggs

Shown below are pictures of Bashful's eggs in a process called candling. This is done to check if the eggs are fertile. All you need is a dark room, small LED light (which I bought in Tiendesitas for P100) and a camera. Too bad, I only had a camera phone back then. The pictures didn't turn out so clear. But you can clearly see the veins!

tortoise egg candling

tortoise egg candling

tortoise egg candling

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