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Turtles/About star tortoise eggs


  Yesterday, My tortorise has laid one egg. How to protect it? Should I bury the egg in sand fully or half part outside and half part inside the sand. Please give full details, I don't know anything about breeding of tortoise.can I install 40 watt bulb to maintain tempareture?, Can I sprinkle water on the sand, where the egg has been kept?

ANSWER: Hi Vishnu,

If your tortoise hasn't been with a male tortoise, the egg won't be fertile.  Like chickens, tortoises can lay eggs without mating.  If the egg was laid out on the surface, instead of being buried in a nest, it probably isn't fertile either.  If you want to try incubating it, DO NOT MOVE the position of the egg--mark the top with a pencil, so you know which way is up.  This is extremely important.  If the egg has been turned for any length of time, it won't hatch even if it was fertile.

Bury the egg halfway in a 50/50 (by weight) mix of vermiculite and water in a container and loosely cover.  You want to maintain humidity, but still have some air flow.  It should be kept at a constant temperature of 82-88 degrees F (28-31 C).  No hotter!  The incubation period is 3-4 months.

It's very important to keep your tortoise in the best conditions possible, because egg laying is stressful.  If you're keeping her on sand, change it to soil.  Sand is not an appropriate substrate for tortoises.  Maintain a basking area and provide a good source of UVB (specialty reptile bulb).  A protected outdoor enclosure with a mix of sun and shade is best, if possible.    

Make sure she's getting a GOOD, VARIED diet.  Not coriander and cucumber.  As much as possible, feed grasses, hay, cactus, weeds, etc.  Put a cuttlebone in her enclosure for extra calcium when she needs it.

If you have more questions, please post back with details about how you have her enclosure, etc. set up.  I can be more specific if I have more information.  

For more detailed information, see

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

    thank you for your reply. But we don't available any vermiculite in our country. What to do? Should I bury the egg in the soil fully or half parted?

You can use soil, but it's as good as vermiculite. Make sure it's thoroughly damp all the way theough, but not wet.  Bury the egg halfway, being sure to maintain it in the same position with the pencil mark upright. Again, if you have rolled the egg at all for more than a minute or two, any developing cells have likely been killed and the egg won't hatch. Good luck!  The egg will eventually rot if it doesn't develop.  


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Questions regarding husbandry of Russian tortoises and other Mediterranean species, sulcata, and redfoot tortoises; general tortoise and turtle care; box turtle care. If I can't answer a specific question, I can provide sources for further research. Disclaimer: My advice is not a substitute for vet care. If I think your tortoise/turtle has a specific medical condition or injury that warrants a vet visit, I'll tell you so, and if possible I'll help you locate a vet. It is neither legal nor ethical for me to provide veterinary advice.


I have kept and bred Russian tortoises for over ten years and have other Mediterranean species plus redfoots and box turtles. I've worked with other tortoise and turtle species while doing volunteer rescue work; mostly sulcata but some leopards, California desert tortoises, yellowfoots, all box turtle species, red-eared sliders, etc. I don't personally keep aquatic species, but have access to a wealth of information and research to help you with any questions you might have.

My knowledge is based on hands-on experience keeping, breeding, and working with tortoises and turtles.

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