Friday, November 1, 2013

Baby Marginateds update

Today's post is just for fun: The baby Marginated tortoises continue to thrive and grow - they are such a joy! Caring for baby tortoises definitely is more work than caring for adults or sub-adults... but these wee little treasures sure make up for it in cuteness. They are healthy, and active, and I have a feeling they will be big before I know it. 

Bubbles, hatched Sept 8, 2013
First, here is Bubbles. She is the darker of the two babies, and she is actually a full month younger than Blossom (the lighter baby). She was just so huge when she hatched, that she slipped in with the older babies when the breeder offered me the batch to choose from. She was less than 2 weeks old when she arrived here.

Bubbles, hatched Sept 8, 2013
Bubbles is the darkest of all the babies the breeder had, and she was 16g when I got her. She was 32g when I weighed her a week ago. I would be worried about her growing too quickly, but her growth is sooooo smooth. I am curious to see how big she ends up being as an adult!

She won't fit in my hand like this for long!
Bubbles is very friendly, and when it comes to food, downright greedy. She will climb over the other two to get to a leaf she wants. She stomps through the water dish, climbs up and over the half-log hide, and then digs in really deep in the hot humid hide (which is a little rubbermaid shoebox, with a hole cut out for a door, filled with moist coconut coir and sphagnum moss).

Just a bit more cuteness for you to enjoy
Whenever I walk by the baby tank, Bubbles stomps up to the front to see if I am bringing any food. Oink!

Blossom, hatched Aug. 8, 2013
Blossom, the lighter of the Marginated babies, is doing really well, too. She is a little more shy, but she eats well, is active, loves to explore, and really loves to bask, bask, bask. She spends more time under the basking lamp than either of the other two - I have to make sure to mist her shell often to keep it from drying out (which can result in pyramiding).

Blossom, hatched Aug. 8, 2013
When I weighed her a week ago, she was 24g, which is smaller than Bubbles, but still an acceptable weight gain for a hatchling. Different tortoises grow at different rates. Her mother may have been younger and smaller, or her unusually light coloring may mean she is a bit of a genetic oddball. Only time will show. As long as her growth is steady, I am happy.

Blossom on the left, Bubbles on the right.
When keeping multiple tortoises, it is always important to make sure one is not bullying the other, and that one is not hogging the food, heat lamp, etc. - this is not the case with my 3 (so far). As they grow, I will continue to monitor them closely. Their enclosure is set up in our living room, so I see them all throughout the day.
Bubbles, with her nice round shell
I think it makes a big difference where in your home you keep your pets. If they are out of the way, it is easier to forget about them, to accidentally neglect them. We keep our critters in our living room, dining room, and entryway - places we pass by many times every day. We enjoy visiting the torts on our way past.

Blossom, looking cute and dainty
Walking past the tortoises, or being able to see them from the couch (or during the Summer, from the outdoor seating area) also has the advantage that we can see if there is trouble: if one of them flips over, or one is being bullied, or any number of other things that can happen. Of course there is the fact that they are just plain fun to watch...

Some day, I will have to hold each of them with two hands!
Have I mentioned that baby tortoises are just about the cutest thing ever?

Buttercup, hatched Thanksgiving day, 2012
Buttercup is doing wonderfully well, too. She will be a year old this month, and she has grown SO MUCH since I got her in July! She weighed 60g when I got her, and as of today, she weighs 112g! I love how domey her shell is becoming. She is spunky, and she definitely knows that I'm the food-bringer. When she sees me, she RUNS over to the feeding spot in the enclosure!
Her new growth is coming in very smoothly, and by the time she is an adult, I think the slight pyramiding from her first 8 months (not with me) will be barely noticable.

Buttercup will probably be bigger than my hand by this time next year! 
Baby tortoises are cute, but I also really look forward to watching them grow into big(ish), majestic animals. Some day I'll be able to post before/after pictures, showing them as tiny hatchlings and fully grown adult beauties!

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