Golden Greek Tortoises
- egg development p.1 -
About to hatch Golden Greek baby
Chalking of eggs
Fertile eggs will chalk, in other words, they will turn from pink to white in color over time. First, you will see a small white spot, or spots like in the photo below, and then the white area enlarges to form a band around the egg. After a while, the whole egg shell will be white.
Golden Greek tortoise eggs. This was a 3-egg clutch incubated at 86 °F (30 °C). Day 2 of incubation. The eggs are still mostly pink in color.
Note: See egg development p.2 for candling photos of Golden Greek eggs incubated at 90 °F (32.2 °C).
Day 7 of incubation. Notice the growing white "bands" around the eggs. Soon the eggs will be all white.
Candling of tortoise eggs is best done in a dark room. Use a very small flashlight or a special egg candling light. Hold the flashlight briefly (to prevent spot heating if the light is hot) near the top or back of the egg. This allows the light to shine through the egg and you to see what's inside.
I use a tiny flashlight called Maglite Solitaire which is about 3" long and 1/2" in diameter. It's not very bright, but does the job well. The "dull" light probably bothers the baby embryo less than a super bright LED light would.
Do not turn or rotate the eggs from their upright position because this can injure or kill the developing tortoise embryo. I just move the egg box; I don't touch the eggs at all. The less you disturb the eggs, the better it is for them. That's why I don't candle eggs very often.
Candling a fertile Golden Greek tortoise egg at 20 days of incubation. Notice the blood vessels. It will take a few weeks of incubation before you can see them.
Same egg at 31 days of incubation. Blood vessels and the embryo are visible.
Same egg at 47 days of incubation. Can't see much anymore.
And then this happens! Same egg after 72 days of incubation. First hatchling of the three.
One minute old. Notice the egg tooth.
All three siblings at 1-3 days of age, depending on their hatch date. Everyone has a slightly differently colored shell. The bottom left baby is the lightest and has the most yellow shell and skin. The top one is the darkest. He also has double split scutes, but it's only cosmetic.