Care of Red Footed Tortoise

Bennett Greenberg
by Bennett Greenberg
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Different breeders have different results, but taking care not to rotate the eggs from their original orientation does not take much effort and may improve hatching rate and hatchling success. Do not incubate the eggs in a sealed container, sealed containers encourage CO2 buildup which can be detrimental to the developing eggs. The humidity in the incubator should be 80-100% and the incubator should be opened at least once a week, if not more, to allow fresh oxygen to reach the eggs.

Red-foot eggs are temperature sex dependent, incubation temperatures above 88°F (31°C) will produce females, and temperatures below 82°F (28°C) will produce males (Renquist, 1994). High temperatures however, can cause lower hatch rates and higher rates of deformed hatchlings. The ideal incubation temperature, if mixed-sex offspring are desired, is 84°F (29°C). Incubation periods range from 105 to 202 days, with an average of 150 days (Paull, 1995). After pipping, the baby tortoises will often spend a few days in their shell absorbing the yolk. Often hatchling tortoises will emerge with some yolk sac still present, cleanse the yolk sac with a mild disinfectant such as betadine and keep the hatchling on moist substrate until the yolk is absorbed (Renquist, 1994).

Hatchling tortoises can be housed inside in aquariums on a substrate of peat moss and sand, and have the same temperature and lighting requirements as the adults. Make sure to provide areas of high humidity and a shallow water dish at all times, hatchling red-foots are very susceptible to dehydration.