Monday, June 23, 2014

Baby Russian tortoise update!

All 6 eggs have hatched in the meantime, and all 6 Russian tortoise babies are doing great! I am keeping 1 of them, and the other 5 all have homes lined up. Yay!

The 6 baby Russian tortoises. 
A few days ago I took a bunch of pictures of the babies - it was a little bit like herding kittens, but a few of the pictures turned out well. I thought you might enjoy seeing them.

All 6 together after a good soak in warm water.
The babies are between 1.5 and 1.75 inches long, and weigh between 16g and 22g. It's pretty amazing how quickly these wee critters grow!

Look at the nice new growth on #3. She had a rough start (which you can read about in my blog post from a couple of weeks ago), but she is active, curious, is eating well and growing well. She got to move into her new permanent home this weekend, with my friend here in town. Yay!

Spunky little #1 (named 'Backwards Z' by my kids) is turning out to be quite the little alpha animal. At the tender age of 1 month, I have already observed her bobbing her head at another baby, and she tried to bite one of the babies that was approaching 'her' food pile. She is super friendly around humans though, so I am confident she will make a wonderful pet for the family that has chosen her!

I really like the coloring of #2 - she has those awesome dark and light stripes. She hatched looking as light as #6, and then parts of her scutes darkened significantly within a few days. It will be interesting to see what she looks like when she is bigger. Her Mama has a sunflower yellow shell, so I am hoping her coloring will be similar.

The above picture shows off her nice even new growth. I love the little black striations that are showing up!

Baby #4 charms with her funky little extra scute on her back. She is curious and eats like a little piggy.


Baby #5 has a really interesting shell pattern as well, with those bright yellow highlights in the dark background. It will be interesting to see what her new growth ends up looking like. Her shell is still a little bit lopsided, since she was rolled diagonally in her egg. This will normalize once she grows a little more.

 #5 has this funky little yellow circle on the front of her shell. I am not sure if it will stay, or will go away as she grows, but for now, it is awfully pretty!

Baby #6 was the last one to hatch, but she was also the fattest, largest one. She is on the go non-stop. She climbs higher than the others, runs faster than the others, and is very bold. This silly girl has gotten herself high-centered on a number of items she successfully climbed.


#6 is a little Houdini. She was constantly trying to run away!
Yep, there goes #6, running away as fast as she can. Silly girl. Doesn't know what's good for her!

The picture below shows the 6 babies soaking together. I've labelled their shells 1-6 so that you can see the differences. Again, they all have the same parents... so the variation of dark, light and designs is rather amazing to me. Yay for genetics!
In spite of having the same parents, the color variation ranges from very light to very dark!
Ok, and finally, because I'm a big goofball, I took pictures of each of the babies in a spoon. They won't stay small for long, so I wanted a picture of them in comparison to a common household object.

To give you an idea of the size of the babies... here is a spoonful of tortoise!
To learn more about how to raise healthy, smooth baby Russian tortoises, please read Tom's wonderful article on the Tortoise Forum:

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