- nesting & eggs p.2 -
Angulate tortoise nesting outdoors under a heat lamp during one chilly evening
Angulate / Angulated tortoise (Chersina angulata) females usually lay only one large egg. Occasionally, two eggs may be deposited. In those cases, the second egg could actually be a retained egg from a previous clutch. Older, more mature females can lay up to 6-7 clutches per year. Younger females may only lay 1-2 clutches.
Angulate tortoise about the lay an egg.
There it is!
Notice how much the bony opening between the carapace and plastron (top and bottom shells) had to widen during egg laying to allow for the passage of the large egg. She had just laid her egg and the bony opening hadn't returned to normal size yet.
This shows how narrow the space between the carapace and plastron is normally, when she's not laying eggs.
Angulate tortoise nesting in an indoor nesting box filled with a soil / coco coir mix. She does not like to nest indoors. That day it just got so late, dark and cold outside that I decided to bring her in. Fortunately, she continued the nest digging indoors and laid her egg. :O)
A muddy bottom is a giveaway that she has been digging a nest hole. :O) While digging her nest, she urinates into the soil making it wet.
Laying such a big egg is hard work. With each push, her head goes way in and then pops back out to start the next push. The pushing phase can last 15-20 minutes or even longer. Notice the previous test hole on the right. She usually digs several of those before she actually lays her egg.
Freshly covered Angulate tortoise nest. The mama has just finished covering it and is leaving the site. As with all tortoises, the covered nest is well camouflaged. If you didn't see her digging, you wouldn't know there's a nest.
Same nest and egg partially uncovered. Soil around the egg is wet from mama's urine. Female tortoises often urinate during egg laying, presumably to soften the soil for digging.
Here's the big egg! Angulates usually lay only one egg at a time.
Another Angulate tortoise nest. Notice the "tools of the trade." :O) I use the blunt rubber end of a pencil to soften the soil and a small paint brush to uncover the egg. You can already see the top of the egg.
Angulate tortoise nest. The egg is very tightly wedged into the soil. It's difficult to dig the egg out without breaking it.
Depth of the nest. The egg has already been removed.