Russian Tortoise

Not sure if this is where I should post this, but I have a question to anyone that could possibly know anything about Russian Tortoise’s. My tortoise just laid 2 eggs, although I thought it was impossible it happened. The problem is she didn’t have a mate in the last year, yeah it seems weird but my other tortoise got out of the fence last year around this time, never to be found again. I have been reading web sites and they do say they will wait until the next fall to lay the eggs. My next question is what is a cheap way to incubate them. I don’t know. please let me know. I am very confused.

If your tortoise doesn’t have a mate, the eggs won’t be fertilised and there’s no point incubating them.

Yeah but she did have a mate about a year ago, I am just asking if they can carry eggs this long, or is someone pulling a prank. The eggs look exactly like the website eggs I found

They’re almost certainly real tortoise eggs, just unfertilised due to the absence of a mate. - they certainly haven’t been taking that long to form inside the animal and I don’t think tortoises are one of those species where the female stores viable sperm for an extended period after mating.

Laying unfertilised eggs like this is common in birds, but also not unheard of in reptiles.

I bet most people can guess what I would do with them.

I don’t want to know but thanks

Curried tortoise with tortoise-egg fried rice served in the tortoise shell? Or did you just mean the eggs?..

Oh gosh, just the eggs. (but seriously, why not? - they’re fresh, they’re unfertilised)

Some turtle species are capable of producing fertilized eggs without a recent mating via the magic of oviductal sperm storage. I believe that I have read references to this happening with tortoises. Here is a mention of it in a couple of aquatic species. I would attempt to incubate them, just in case. The Tortoise Trust has some pointers on incubation.

Exactly. An extended period between mating and egg laying is common in turtles. I’d incubate them and see what happens.

One simple method requires a plastic shoe box (Seems overkill for only 2 eggs, but the volume helps to keep internal conditions stable.) and spaghnum moss. Get the stringy stuff, not chopped peat. Soak the moss in water then wring it out gently. It should remain damp but not dripping. Fill the box. Place the eggs in the moss and cover about 1 inch deep. Drill some 1/4 inch holes in the lid, and cover the box. Place in an undisturbed location with a stable temperature around 80 degrees F. Often the top shelf of a closet has perfect conditions. Check every week. The moss should remain damp but not wet.

Tortoise eggs can take anywhere from 60 to 250 or more days to hatch. Sorry. Developing eggs will increase slightly in size, and continue to look like, well, like eggs. Bad (unfertilized or dead) eggs will rot, making it obvious that the attempt has failed. I’d never throw out a normal-looking egg. Back at the old Crandon Park Zoo we once incubated some Galapagos tortoise eggs that didn’t hatch for 11 months. Most such eggs hatched in 5 months. Finally someone “in authority” decided they were trash and tossed them. We pulled the remains out of the dumpster the next day, opened them up, and found perfectly formed, almost ready to hatch, baby tortoises. Dead by then, from excessive temperature in the dumpster.

Turtle and tortoise eggs are though very sensitive to movement of the egg, beginning an hour or two after laying. It is important to maintain the “up and down” directionality in which they are placed. If these eggs have been rolling around for a day or two, they are probably not going to develop.

Even without sperm, can’t many reptiles reproduce via aparthogenesis? I don’t know whether tortoises are included in this number, but I certainly wouldn’t rule out the possibility unless an expert says otherwise.

I’m familiar with some species of lizards and salamanders which breed through parthanogenesis, most notably some Cnemidophorus species in the southwest US, but I haven’t heard of this happening with turtles.

Thanks for the information I will try and incubate them and see what happens, I will let you know if works down the road.

Oh do incubate them. There are so few captive-bred Russian Tortoises in the US, it would be a shame to waste the eggs.