Indian Star Tortoise Breeding Project
We are once again breeding Indian Star tortoises! They were our first tortoises back in 1999 and we were able to produce only one hatchling in 2006. But now, we've also made it our goal to breed this beautiful species again
The Indian Star tortoise (Geochelone elegans) is a beautiful tortoise native to India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. They were named for their star like patterns on their shells which varies by their three geographical variants or morphs: southern India, Sri Lanka, and northern India and Pakistan. This star pattern is an effective means of camouflage in their environment.
Other species of tortoises that exhibit a star-like, radiating pattern are Burmese Star (Geochelone platynota), Radiated (Astrochelys radiata), Spider (Pyxis arachnoides), Flat-backed Spider (Pyxis planicauda), Pancake (Malacochersus tornieri), Geometric (Psammobates geometricus) and Tent tortoises (Psammobates tentorius).
All Three Eggs Eventually Hatched Within 1 Week!
Date: Feb 15, 2017
From Chalking to Hatching
This batch is a perfect example of tortoise egg development because it showed all the signs of a fertile egg; from chalking, to seeing veins when candling, and eventually hatching. As expected, all three eggs that chalked are fertile and the one that did not eventually went bad and started to smell after around 3 months.
This third one is even more special because 1 month prior to hatching, I noticed that the egg had already cracked and leaked. I had to seal it up but I wasn't sure if it would survive. I am so thankful that it did!
Second One Is Out!
Date: Feb 8, 2017
Only One Day Apart
Unlike our two Radiated hatchlings that hatched nearly 3 weeks apart, these 2 Indian stars hatched almost in sync. There is a 3rd fertile egg that I'm hoping would hatch too. Unfortunately, I noticed it leaking 3 weeks ago so it doesn't look very good.
Hatch Day for Our Star Tortoise Baby!
Date: Feb 7, 2017
After 145 Days
Laid on September 16 of last year, the first egg took a total of 4 months and 23 days to hatch. It may sound like a long wait for some. But it is always exciting for me to watch tortoise eggs hatch! Definitely worth the wait!
Indian Star tortoise egg has started pipping, which is when they get their nose out of the egg shell. They use their "egg tooth" just right below their nose to pierce through the egg.
Tortoise Egg Development
Date: Dec 28, 2016
The clutch of eggs that were laid on November of 2015 were not fertile. We had to add another male Star tortoise to the group just to be sure we get fertile eggs this time around. Fortunately, the next clutch several months after that looks good!
Chalking and Veins
To know if the tortoise eggs are fertile, you can check for the 2 most obvious signs 1) chalking and 2) formation of veins.
Retrieving Star Tortoise Eggs
Date: Nov 17, 2015
Digging out the eggs
Female Star Tortoise Finally Laid Eggs!
Date: Nov 15, 2015
After waiting for more than 4 weeks after her X-Ray, she finally got 3 eggs out of her system. I'm sure she is as relieved as I am.
Star Tortoise Weight: Before and After Laying Eggs
Date: Nov 15, 2015
I always make sure I weight all our tortoises regularly. I'm glad I was able to take note of our Star female's weight before and after she laid eggs.
Photos of the Star Tortoise Breeding Group
Date: Nov 14, 2015
These are the tortoises that make up the breeding team
I just love this group! Very beautiful.
X-Ray of Female Star Tortoise with Eggs
Date: Oct 21, 2015
I was worried about our female Star tortoise because she was digging for several weeks but never really laid any eggs. So I went to the clinic to get her an X-Ray to be sure she is not egg bound, a condition which can be fatal to tortoises.
3 eggs can be seen in the X-Ray. The thickness of the eggs look normal and not over-calcified. There doesn't seem to be any blockage either. So the only thing to do now is to wait for nature to take its course. I just have to make sure she is given a suitable nesting spot, fed well, and given sufficient calcium supplements.