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Posted: 15/09/2012 by lizstott

Can anybody please advise me? I got 2 30yr old Horsefields in April, they had been mated and have laid previously. This year neither have laid any eggs I think due to weather conditions. I have now brought the girls back inside as its too cold here in Scotland now. Do I need to do anything about unlaid eggs? They wont be hibernating for a couple of months but what if there are eggs inside them, is this dangerous? I have also read that tortoises can retain eggs for later laying, is this true? I have 2 Hermans that are 8 yrs old but I have never bred them so have no real knowledge of breeding other than what I was told by seller and what I have read. I just don't want any harm coming to the girls so any advice would be very welcome.

Posted: 16/09/2012 by wizzasmum

Tortoises very often don't lay for a year or so if they have been moved, they like to have sussed the area out for a few months, a bit like birds do. . It's also important to have a suitable area for them ie south facing and on a slight slope. Anything else, they may well not be happy with for a time.

If the tortoise is retaining eggs because it is not happy with the site offered, they they could become overcalcified, in which case only an x-ray will tell.

It's not eggs they carry over to hte next season, but sperm to fertilise the next eggs if a male is not available.

A ratio of 1 male to 1 female is a bad ratio to be honest and she could well be not laying due to harassment from the male.  Are you sure this was a breeder who sold them to you, it was a pretty irresponsible thing to do if so :( With horsfields (no e in the middle) it's not a good idea to keep one of each together permanently due to aggression issues and I have a ratio of 2 males to 8 females.

Hope this helps

Posted: 16/09/2012 by lizstott

Hi, thanks for that. Yes he is a recognised breeder and was downsizing his collection, he breeds two or three different species and has done for 30+ yrs. It is two female horsfields that I have not one of each. I think the site is perfect, on a slope, south facing, got areas in grass, soil, sand, gravel, planted etc. has a heated basking area, a small cold frame with sand & soil in, enclosed bedding area and is about 24 ft x 6 ft. So as it stands I would be better to get them x-rayed to be safe and then if no eggs they can still lay eggs next year? Clever girls eh! lol. Thanks so much for info, I honestly thought it was eggs they held onto!

Posted: 17/09/2012 by wizzasmum

They can hold onto eggs, but then they would likely be overcalcified, so yes, if it was me I owuld have them x-rayed - sorry I thought you just had the two ;) I would be very wary of letting a vet induce them just because of the time of year and would prefer to keep them up if they were mine and see if they lay indoors (given correct depth of substrate). If they are induced when it is not necessary, then it can set up hormonal problems for a few years to come. I only discovered this when my vet induced one of my hermanns (totally unecessary I later found) and it took her three years to recover, poor thing. Obviously I changed vets lol. I've changed my horsfield enclosure this year and had the same 'problem' with females. They are all inside now in high temps, so we will see what happens next ;)

Posted: 17/09/2012 by lizstott

So, to keep them up over winter do I just carry on feeding and heating them? I now have them in an indoor rabbit run as it is bigger than a tortoise table and has caged roof as I have nosy cats! Substrate is about 6 inches deep in it and have a uvb/uva lamp. I will have them vet checked but if there is eggs will say I don't want them induced. Its worse than having kids.LOL.

Posted: 18/09/2012 by wizzasmum

You will need to have the substrate at least as deep as the tortoise is long, or if she hits the bottom, she may give up. Very often indoors they tend to lay in the evening for some reason, so may help to leave the lights on a bit longer. If the vet says the eggs are overcalcified, then that is a good reason to have them induced, but otherwise, I wouldn't ;)

Good luck


Posted: 18/09/2012 by lizstott

Ok, thanks for all info Sue, I'll keep you informed how things go. :-))


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