All about Indian & Burmese Star tortoises, Angulates, and Golden Greeks...

Burmese Star Tortoises

- hatchlings -

Burmese Star tortoise (Geochelone platynota) hatchling

Freshly hatched Burmese Star tortoise (Geochelone platynota). Notice the egg tooth on his upper beak.

Burma babies

Burmese Star tortoise (Geochelone platynota) hatchling

Burmese Star babies have beautifully patterned shells. Little jewels.

Burmese Star tortoise (Geochelone platynota) hatchlingBurmese Star tortoise (Geochelone platynota) hatchling

Bitty baby.

Burmese Star tortoise (Geochelone platynota) hatching

Hatching Burmese Star tortoise. Once the babies pip, I move the eggs into small deli cups lined with damp paper towels and place the cups back into the incubator.

Burmese Star tortoise (Geochelone platynota) hatchling

Burma baby's first bath after hatching.

Burmese Star tortoise (Geochelone platynota) hatchling shell atterns

These two Burmese Star babies hatched with more unique shell patterns. Compare them to the typically patterned baby in the bath photo above.

Burmese Star tortoise hatchling (Geochelone platynota) with an older sibling

Freshly hatched Burmese Star tortoise with an older sibling from a previous clutch.

Burmese star babies 0-6 months old

Pattern development. Burmese Star babies of various ages. The youngest one is freshly hatched and the oldest one is six months old.

Nesting mama

Burmese Star tortoise (Geochelone platynota) nesting

Burmese Star tortoise mama digging her nest outdoors. The soil is very wet from a heavy rain storm.

Burmese Star tortoise (Geochelone platynota) nesting at night

My Angulates and Golden Greeks nest during the daylight hours, but this lady likes to start in the afternoon and stretch the process into late evening. This time she didn't finish covering her nest until about 11 PM when the temperature was barely above 50 °F. When the sun went down and it got colder, I placed a basking lamp above her to keep warm and flexible. Without the additional heat, she would have gotten stiff and slow. If you look closely you can see that she's pulled her head inside the shell. That's because she's in labor and in the middle of pushing an egg out.

Burmese Star tortoise (Geochelone platynota) laying an egg

I stayed outside in the cold and darkness with her. Brrr. It was so cold and somewhat windy that I had to put on a hat and three layers of clothing, but she stayed warm and cosy under her heat lamp. I wanted to disturb her as little as possible, so I dug out part of the nest back wall for easier egg retrieval. She laid 12 eggs.

Hatchling housing

a.) Open tubs

Burmese Star tortoise (Geochelone platynota) hatchling tub

Burmese Star hatchling tub with a very shallow water dish (plastic coffee can lid) and paper towels in the eating area. This baby is enjoying his first meal of dandelions. I also crumbled his eggshell and put it in there.

Little babies like to dig into the warm, damp New Zealand sphagnum moss. I check the dampness level of the moss at least twice a day. When needed, I pour some warm water into the moss and stir it up with my hands.

During the day, the moss is heated with a low wattage mercury vapor bulb or a basking bulb with a UVB tube. At night, a ceramic heating element (CHE) or a reptile radiant heat panel provides warmth from above, if needed.

Open top tubs work for me because my indoor tortoise enclosures are in a dedicated tortoise room that is always much warmer and more humid than the rest of the house.

Burmese Star tortoise (Geochelone platynota) baby

Example of a Burmese Star tortoise being raised in an open top tub with warm, damp sphagnum moss. No pyramiding.

b.) Vivariums


Burmese Star babies. You can also use a well controlled vivarium to keep the babies in a warm and humid environment. If you need to raise the humidity level inside a vivarium, use a deeper layer of slightly damp substrate. New Zealand sphagnum moss and coconut coir are shown here. Again, I put paper towels in the eating area.

vivarium used as a night time humid hide

Higher ambient humidity is beneficial for babies because it helps keep them hydrated and grow up with smoother shells. Vivariums work especially well for those Star babies who don't like to dig into warm, damp substrate or won't use other kinds of humid hides.

Sometimes I also use vivariums as warm, night time humid hides for tortoise who spend their days outdoors. Above is an example of this with New Zealand sphagnum moss.

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