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Eggs laid everywhere
Posted: 03/10/2016 by Sybil

Hi, Can anyone help please? My 75 year old Spur-thighed tortoise (Syb) is on the wind down to hibernation. Her behaviour is normal in every way but yesterday I bathed her, sat with her in the sunshine and rubbed her back, as I always do, and then popped her down on the patio in the sun. Ten minutes later she had laid an egg on the patio slabs. Syb then went to her outdoor house and laid another egg and then came in to show me what she had done. She climbed on my lap and laid another egg while on my lap and the whole day was bizarre. (Whenever she is about and comes up to me I always bend down and put my hands out palms up on the ground. If she wants to stay where she is, she remains where she is. If she wants to be held, she walks to my hands and climbs on me. She loves a gentle massage and if I stop, she moves herself up and down to get me to carry on. I never pick her up unless she wants to be.) I put her back outside around 3:30pm and she went into her house to sleep. This morning she has laid another egg and it looks broken but her house is so deep it is difficult to see. Why is she laying the eggs now in October? Why is she laying them everywhere when she has the run of the garden with perfect laying conditions, albeit we've had a lot of rain recently. What do I do now? As she's laying eggs I don't know if I should start feeding here again or to continue the run down to hibernation. I don't know if I should leave her to it and continue with bathing and massage or to leave her alone. There are no male tortoises anywhere near so I don't know why she is even producing eggs. She did have eggs in her last year and I put her in hibernation not knowing. When she came out of hibernation this spring, she walked with a limp so I took her to the vet who xrayed her and found four eggs. The vet didn't know how long they had been there and she showed no signs of passing them so the vet injected her to induce the eggs. After the eggs were laid, Syb was back to normal. I have a friend at the vets who has a male tortoise. Syb has never been in contact with my friend but could my friends tortoise pass on any hormone that reaches me then reaches Syb? Could my massaging her be stimulating her in any way and so she is creating eggs? (Both seem so implausible, but so does a 75 year old egg laying tortoise with no other tortoise near by) Any advice much appreciated. Mandy

Re: Eggs laid everywhere
Posted: 03/10/2016 by tomtortoise@tovevalley.net

Hello,

Are you sure it's 75 ?
You need to raise the temp. for a week or so, to 30C for 6-8 hrs a day, to be sure that all eggs are laid. If in doubt have it xrayed, as before.

Re hibe., what is it's wt compared to Oct '15 ?

Yes they can lay eggs without male contact.

Regards,
Tom


Re: Eggs laid everywhere
Posted: 05/10/2016 by Sybil

Hi Tom,
Many thanks for the response. It is reassuring to know that she can lay eggs without male contact.

Yes, she has been passed down the family and I am the latest, and most fortunate, caretaker.

I've booked her in for an x-ray to make sure there are no further eggs inside her and to make sure she is healthy enough for hibernation.

Over the last 8 years, her weight has been relatively stable. She has added an additional 2lb to her weight but has remained the same weight each October over the last 6 years.
Thanks
Mandy

Re: Eggs laid everywhere
Posted: 05/10/2016 by tomtortoise@tovevalley.net

Thats all good Mandy,

It's unusual to start laying at that age. Perhaps eggs have been laid b4 & covered in the normal way, so not noticed.

There is no better way to assess for hibe' than good October wt records.

Vets tend to say no to hibe' - it's to 'cover their backs' - ignore.

Regards,
Tom

Re: Eggs laid everywhere
Posted: 06/10/2016 by Sybil

Hi Tom,
Yes, she might have been laying each year but we just haven't ever seen them. She has free run of a large garden with lots of shrubbery and trees that she likes to explore so it would be difficult to know.
Thanks Tom - your reassurance is much appreciated.
Mandy

 

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