I think golden Mesopotamian Greek tortoise (Testudo graeca terrestris) hatchlings are some of the cutiest tortoise babies. They are spunkly, adorable, and usually not shy at all. Golden babies are a joy to raise. Little golden gems.
A brand new golden Mesopotamian Greek tortoise baby. Just born.
As soon as the golden Greek babies pip, i.e., crack a hole in the egg, I place the eggs in small deli cups lined with damp paper towels. A wet paper towel ring around the egg helps prevent rolling. I allow the babies to hatch as fast or as slow as they want to. I do NOT remove babies from the eggs, but let them do it by themselves.
This photo shows well the scratch marks made by the hatchling in his effort to break the egg open.
A hatching golden baby snuggling inside his egg. He may stay like this for a day or two before he fully emerges from the egg.
There he is. Ready for the world. I took this photo a few seconds after he climbed out of the egg.
Yellow belly golden baby with few dark markings. Unlike many of my Burmese stars, most of my golden Greek hatchlings have no residual yolk sac when they exit the egg.
One of my golden Mesopotamian Greek tortoise eggs contained twins. The smaller sibling was undeveloped and had alredy passed away by hatching. I tied a piece of dental floss on the umbilicus to separate the pair. A few hours later I snipped it and freed the survivor without problems. He was vigorous but small weighing only 6 grams. His umbilicus dried up in a few days and the dental floss knot fell off.
Note: If both had been alive, I would have tied the umbilicus in two spots and then cut between the knots after the blood flow had tapered off.
Golden Greek twins immediately after hatching. The undeveloped sibling had already perished before hatching.
I tied the umbilicus with dental floss to separate the two.
As soon as the babies exit their eggs, I move them into a warm nursery. The one shown below is a still air Hovabator. I place the babies into small food storage boxes lined with damp paper towels. I add some garden weeds or other greens to eat and hide under. I also add some calcium, or their egg shell, and sometimes a very shallow plastic lid as water dish. I soak new babies in shallow, warm water 1-2 times a day.
I place newly hatched Greek tortoise babies inside small food containers on wet paper towels. I put the tubs inside a warm, but not hot, incubator with high ambient humidity.
Another, more golden Mesopotamian tortoise baby in his nursery tub inside a Hovabator incubator.
After spending some days or a few weeks in the nursery, I move babies into a simple hatchling tub filled with high quality sphagnum moss. The basking bulb is on for the whole day over the damp moss, and the UVB tube is on for a few hours midday. I use no heating devices at night.
My baby golden Greeks love to dig into the warm, damp moss. This helps prevent dehydration and helps their shells grow smoothly. Because Greeks like spend so much time dug into the damp substrate (humid microclimate), Greek babies are much easier to grow smooth than star tortoises.
The food side of the tub is cooler and dry, and the substrate side is warm and damp. Using paper towels in the eating area helps prevent any accidental ingestion of substrate.
Tiny 10 gram golden Greek tortoise hatchlings in their baby tub.
Sometimes I use small size coconut husk chips, like ReptiChips' BabiChips, as the substrate for babies. Coco chips absorb water and increase the humidity level. Greek babies can also dig into it, but it's not as soft as moss. Fine coconut coir, plain soil, or a mix of the two are other substrate choices, but they are much messier and harder to keep away from the food.
Related page: golden Greek care