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Old 15-06-2018, 10:09 PM   #1
steve56616
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Default Help please with Gravid female

Hello
I have a 15 yr old Horsefield female that has mated my 12 year old male a few weeks ago
I have been watching her closely and today she was in her house and scrapping with her back legs. The garden is a very hot south facing garden and completely tortoise proof.
I had an idea with a large box and cut an entrance in it and put a mound of compost in it. She went in and dug a good size hole and thought she might lay. She then come out and went back in her house. Then fell asleep for the evening.
I obviously do'nt want her to lay and me not find them so has anyone got any suggestions and if the container is ok? Please see photos of it.




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Old 16-06-2018, 01:47 AM   #2
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Is this the only soil area she has? Maybe try her with a long bath? At the end of the day she will choose her preferred place & time! So it's a case of being patient, watching and waiting.
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Old 16-06-2018, 08:32 AM   #3
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She has use of the whole garden, Lawn, gravel area and flower borders. If she laid in the garden I probably wouldn't find them, which is why I set up this box with soil. Also, I thought it would warm up with the sun and be more appealing to her. She is sniffing the ground as well. Is this a sign that laying is close?
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Old 16-06-2018, 08:55 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve56616 View Post
She has use of the whole garden, Lawn, gravel area and flower borders. If she laid in the garden I probably wouldn't find them, which is why I set up this box with soil. Also, I thought it would warm up with the sun and be more appealing to her. She is sniffing the ground as well. Is this a sign that laying is close?
If you want her to lay in the box (I have never had success this way) then it needs to be deeper. Her legs need to dig down beyond the length of her legs, and not touch the bottom.
Each tortoise has their own sort of laying area, I have two female iberas that will only lay eggs in my lawn, and at the edges where near concrete slabs or stone. Makes life easier as you can see where they lay:0) The other two, one will lay in the GH soil, and they other has no real area, just lays where she wants too. One even tried to dig on concrete, obviously it didnt work:0)
Watching where your tortoise is test nesting will give you a good idea where she will lay. I have grass disturbance marks all over my lawn, but they generally lay where they first started to try and dig.
If you dont dig over borders, you do have more of a chance of finding eggs:0)
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Old 16-06-2018, 09:31 AM   #5
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Thanks for the replies, very helpful. I will keep a close watch over her. Just a few other things... what weather conditions are usual and what sort of time in the day? mornings they mainly spend warming up so I wouldnt have thought then. By 5am (usually to the minute) they go to their own huts to bed. They are like clockwork lol
Thanks again
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Old 16-06-2018, 11:44 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by steve56616 View Post
Thanks for the replies, very helpful. I will keep a close watch over her. Just a few other things... what weather conditions are usual and what sort of time in the day? mornings they mainly spend warming up so I wouldnt have thought then. By 5am (usually to the minute) they go to their own huts to bed. They are like clockwork lol
Thanks again
It needs to be warm for them to lay, but it could be anytime of the day. Tortoises are fickle:0)
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Old 16-06-2018, 11:56 AM   #7
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Hi Steve,

I had my nesting sites at least 8-10” deep at the top, with well compacted soil, so it doesn’t all fall apart as she digs. I used to boil the kettle and pour it on to get it nice and compacted, but not soaking wet. It soon dries out if there’s heat on it.
You want to be able to squeeze it in your hand and it won’t break up. Also, they like the soil warm, but hopefully as yours is in a south-facing sunny garden, it should be warm enough.

I know some people have put their tort and nesting box in a quiet dark room with only a heat lamp over the nesting box for light and heat and that has encouraged them to lay, but I’ve had no experience of doing that; mine have laid indoors either late evening or early morning on a wet and dark day, so maybe there’s something they like about it being darker. That said, both laid in the winter and early spring and I know of lots of torts who lay in the middle of the day in the garden in the warmer months. I’m sure they’re all different.

I found they sniffed at the soil a lot just before starting to dig, testing it’s temperature possibly, but that was a great indicator of imminent digging.

Hopefully she’ll find a suitable site soon. Let us know how it goes.
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Old 16-06-2018, 03:03 PM   #8
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Well I came home and she has gone back into the box. I have a sheet of perspex on the top so its like a mini greenhouse. She is digging as I write!!
It's quit a deep hole but she has reached the bottom of the box as I can her scraping. I think I need to fill it deeper but not sure about disturbing her
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Old 16-06-2018, 03:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve56616 View Post
Well I came home and she has gone back into the box. I have a sheet of perspex on the top so its like a mini greenhouse. She is digging as I write!!
It's quit a deep hole but she has reached the bottom of the box as I can her scraping. I think I need to fill it deeper but not sure about disturbing her
She still might lay, if not your box works for her, so no eggs just top the box up with more soil:0)
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Old 16-06-2018, 06:44 PM   #10
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good luck hope it all goes ok, CB
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