Soda's Tortoise Garden

We finally produced a Radiated tortoise hatchling!! 12/29/2016

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 Soda's Instagram, Facebook and Youtube accounts
*DENR Registered

Radiated tortoise hatchling Philippines
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!

Radiated tortoise hatchling Philippines

Radiated tortoise hatchling Philippines

Its yolk sac was almost fully absorbed. The egg probably hatched out 1-2 days prior.

Radiated tortoise hatchling Philippines

This is me helping the Radiata hatchling out of its egg. It did most of the work because the egg is fully broken. It was just tangled and couldn't break free.

Here's a video of the hatchling's first steps:



*More information, photos and videos coming soon*

We Named The Hatchling Radiata, Cali!

Below are the latest pictures of Cali at 10 days old. He/She seems to be doing very well. Of course at this point, it is not possible to confirm the sex of Cali.

You can also see small white growth lines at the tip of each radiating pattern. We'll try to track his/her progress and post updated photos regularly.


Photos With The Parents! 18 Days Old

Lovely photos of Cali and his/her parents, Soda and Cola, our proven Radiated tortoise pair!

Radiated Tortoise hatchling

Radiated Tortoise hatchling

Radiated Tortoise hatchling

Radiated Tortoise hatchling

Radiated Tortoise hatchling

Radiated Tortoise hatchling
Cali can walk pretty fast for a tortoise hatchling!


Second Radiata Hatched Today!! 1/20/2017

We are happy to present to you our second Radiated tortoise hatchling! This is the same clutch as the first one, but nearly 3 weeks apart. This clutch of eggs were laid on August 10, 2016 for a total of 163 days, or 5 months and 10 days.

Radiated Tortoise Hatchling
Found this today inside the incubator!

Radiated Tortoise Hatchling
Must have hatched 2-3 days ago judging from the yolk sac. Seriously, most times I check everyday. But everytime I don't check, that's when they hatch.

Radiated Tortoise Hatchling

Radiated Tortoise Hatchling
It looked weak at first, but suddenly started to show signs of life when soaked in lukewarm water

Radiated Tortoise Hatchling
Our first and second. Hatched nearly 3 weeks apart!

Radiated Tortoise Hatchling
Cali, our first hatchling is very curious about its new housemate

Radiated Tortoise Hatchling
Very curious at Day 1

Radiated Tortoise Hatchling
So small!

Radiated Tortoise Hatchling
Less than 1.5 inches. Weighing only 13 grams!

Time Lapse Video of Our Third Hatchling! 5/14/2017

I was lucky to catch this one from pipping to hatching. The process usually takes 2-3 days but this video captures the entire experience in 90 seconds! Very interesting to watch!

Pipping to hatching. 48 hours compressed to 90 seconds.

Here are a few photos of Soda and Cola's third:

Radiated tortoise breeding

Radiated tortoise hatchling

Radiated tortoise breeding
This clutch was laid on January 2017 and started to hatch on May 12, 2017

Latest hatchlings! 5/27/2017

So far, this batch has the yellowest one that we've hatched.

Soda's Tortoise Garden
Our best one so far! May 27, 2017

Soda's Tortoise Garden

Breeding Radiated tortoises at Soda's Tortoise Garden

Radiated tortoise yolk sac

Soda's Tortoise Garden

Soda's Tortoise Garden

Soda's Tortoise Garden
It would be interesting to see how this hatchling develops and grows

20-second time lapse video of this beauty!

Female Radiata Laying Eggs

My male Radiated tortoise, Soda started showing interest in my female Radiata, Cola in December, 2013. They displayed the usual tortoise courtship process of smelling, chasing, ramming, lifting and finally mating. A few months later, Cola started laying eggs. It was exciting for me to see her lay eggs for the first time! She's been laying 3 to 6 eggs per clutch every 2 to 4 months ever since. Unfortunately, the eggs have always been infertile except for when we finally got a hatchling on December 29, 2016! Please see the section above. It was a very exciting moment!

Egg Laying

Cola laid her first ever clutch of 4 eggs on April 26, 2014. In our tortoise garden, she has 2 nesting sites to choose from and we have a third one that we keep moving around in case she gets tired of her current options.

Egg laying video.


Close up video. You can see the egg slowly coming out of her tail, or cloaca to be exact.


Time-Lapse video of our female Radiata digging her nest. She laid 5 eggs after that.


This is the actual speed of the digging, which is pretty slow. Cola's hind legs move in a circular motion as you can see here. She usually digs holes that are 6 to 8 inches deep and takes her 3-4 hours for the entire process of digging, laying eggs, and covering up the nest.


This is me retrieving Cola's eggs. I always wash the eggs when I'm able to retrieve them right away.


You may also check out Soda and Cola's Facebook page by clicking HERE. Photos and videos are more up-to-date

Radiated Tortoises Mating

Their courtship always starts with the male Radiata chasing and circling the female. The male then tries to lift the female with his gular scute. Once the female shows even the slightest hint of submission, the male then mounts the female and begins humping. The humping is done with funny-sounding grunting noises produced by the male.


Mating Video. Turn up the volume to hear the male's grunts. Very interesting

Chasing, pushing and lifting

In this video, our smaller male shows interested in our egg-laying female. Despite his smaller size and much younger age, he was chasing and trying to lift her up with his tiny gular scute.


Radiated Tortoise Egg Incubation & FAQ


Fellow hobbyists usually ask me details about Cali, our first Radiated tortoise hatchling. I want to have one place where I can address all questions instead of answering them one by one. This is also for the benefit of everyone, including those who are curious but hesitant to ask. I will also try to add to the list as more questions come along.


How many eggs were there?

There were 5 eggs in the same clutch. Only one was fertile. Hopefully the success rate would increase over time. Especially as the tortoises grow more mature and incubation techniques improve.

How long did it take before the egg hatched?

The clutch was laid on August 10, 2016 and hatched on December 29, 2016. So it took a total of 142 days, or 4 months and 20 days.

How long did it take before you successfully hatched one?

My adult Radiateds have been attempting to breed since late 2013. So it's been 3 years.

How big was the Radiata hatchling?

1.4 inches. I will weigh again each month during the first few months to monitor the hatchling's progress. On its second week, it already measured to about 1.7 inches.

Did you use an incubator? What kind or brand?

I use a home-made incubator that is assembled by an expert. It has no brand.

What substrate did you use for incubation?

I always use Perlite and Vermiculite. But the Radiata hatchling successfully hatched on Vermiculite. So I'll be using Vermiculite from now on. It may have something to do with the fact that Vermiculite holds more moisture than Perlite. Or it may just be coinicidence. More research and experimentation are needed.

What temperature and humidity did you use for incubating the Radiated tortoise eggs?

In 3 years, I've experiemented with multiple ways to incubate:

1) I left the eggs under the soil where Cola our female breeder buried them. This has worked for various breeders of Sulcata tortoises and a lot of other reptiles. But it didn't seem to work for Radiated eggs. It must be because of the difference in Philippine and Madagascan weather.

2) I left the eggs in room temperature. Note that I am located in the Philippines and room temperature here without any airconditioning will range from 27C to 35C throughout the day and night. This has worked for me with Indian Star tortoise eggs back in 2006 but have yet to find success with Radiata eggs.

3) Breaking of diapause by cooling. This method needs to be researched and experimented more for results to be more conclusive. But I did this during the last 4 clutches of about 4-5 eggs each for a total of 18 eggs. That one hatch came from this set of 4 clutches, so the results are very promising.

But right now, it is hasty to conclude if the successful hatch is caused by the cooling effect. There are other factors to be considered, such as maturity of the breeders. By this time, it is already the third year that our breeders have been attempting to mate. I have never personally seen a successful mating or penetration by the male out of the countless times he has mounted the female. So maybe by this time, they've already mated successfully without me witnessing it. Other factors may have contributed too, such as the addition of a very young but persistent male who never successfully mounted the female but contributed to male competition which is said to trigger mating. We also improved the garden setup with more humidity and more soil and grass areas so that it's more conducive to mating. All these factors may have contributed to the successful hatching.

Hopefully, we'll see better results in the next few clutches and make better conclusions. Fingers are crossed for the coming clutches!


For basic FAQs about tortoise eggs, please read this article from Tortoise Trust:


All photos property of (2009-2017)

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