Reptoman

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   Jan 19

Indian Star Tortoises


Female Indian star tortoise nesting
Indian star tortoises, Geochelone elegans. The adults, as hatchlings themselves bred at the Knoxville Zoo, were forwarded to Jim Harding by Bern Tryon about 20 years ago. Jim kept them for about 14 years and then deciding the (by then) adults needed some southern sunshine, he brought them to me. These tortoises have proven much more resilient to ambient atmospheric conditions than we initially thought them capable of. They are most active crepuscularly, feeding most ravenously at dusk or even after dark. The females usually begin nesting in the late afternoon, often not completing the task until well after dark. They are usually very active during summer rains, often sitting in the newly formed puddles (that may be 4 or 5 inches deep) from the beginning of the storms until the puddles have fully soaked in. In other words, in their actions and hardiness, these tortoises have been a surprise to me and to Jim. And if Bern were still with us I feel he, too, would have had to modify his beliefs on the captive care required by these beautiful star tortoises.

Fast forward:One female has nested successfully for the last 3 years. In 2017 she nested on 3 occasions at 30 day intervals. Total eggs numbered 14. In Jan of 2015 the first clutch (5 eggs) have hatched and, again at 30 day intervals, we hope that the remaining eggs will also hatch. I’ll keep you updated.

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