Burmese Star Tortoises
- hatchlings -
Freshly hatched Burmese Star tortoise (Geochelone platynota). Notice the egg tooth on his upper beak.
Burmese Star babies have beautifully patterned shells. Little jewels.
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.
Burma baby's first bath after hatching.
Burmese Star tortoise mama digging her nest outdoors. The soil is very wet from a heavy rain storm.
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.
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.
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.
Large indoor tortoise tubs, like Waterland and Vision, work well 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 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.
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.