3 baby turtles and a confession

17 Jun

The 3 baby turtles are doing well. I’ve never raised baby turtles before but I think I’m an expert.
Far from it.
Let me show you the first 3 babies. I think the best way to identify individual Red-eared Sliders is to look at the plastron.

Baby #1

Baby #2. It’s yolk hasn’t healed entirely so he is not in the water with #1 and #3.


And here is the carapace view of all three:



#3 is the largest and is also a paler green.

It’s been about 2 weeks since the first baby hatched. I have been so concerned about the 4th egg. Since the third egg resulted in the biggest baby I thought that the fourth egg should hatch soon.
I couldn’t take it. I was so worried the baby was in there trying to get out that I decided to open it up.
Two nights ago I carefully opened up the egg, hoping to open the end where it faces, but instead I opened the back side, and I almost wished it was a dead undeveloped baby. It was so small I was just sick. What have I done? This baby was moving but so small compared to the others! It was still developing and needed to be in the egg a few more weeks.
I quickly got the shell removed at the front of the turtle also. He was covered in a clear slime. I knew I had to be extremely careful not to puncture the egg yolk, and this yolk was huge, bigger than the turtle itself. This turtle is a preemie for sure. It’s shell was curled into a half-moon shape. The baby gradually began to move more and become more alert.
After a day I carefully lifted the turtle out of the coconut fiber and placed it on a clean damp towel. The room is very warm, in the low to middle 80’s F. The baby is looking good so far! I spray him gently with water and keep the tank at a high humidity level.
I am still very worried that a bacterial infection could result in his death, but so far the egg yolk is shrinking and his shell (not the egg shell) has become normal looking. He wiggles all of his legs but he can’t go anywhere while sitting on top of his egg yolk. Essentially, he is a turtle living in an egg with no shell around him. At first, I couldn’t even bring myself to take a picture of him, he looked so pathetic.
I have really learned my lesson. Don’t mess with Mother Nature!!!
So here he is. Wish him luck!! I am really trying to save him. He certainly deserves to live. Poor guy. Oh man I am soooo stupid!


UPDATE 10am CDT June 18: The baby has gotten more active and has pulled away from the eggshell. He still has the large yolk attached to his plastron. The towel and egg shell are dirty so I mixed up a little fresh coconut-husk fiber for him to nestle into. The bottom of the egg yolk does NOT look completely intact and that may turn into a problem. Maybe the yolk fluid will leak out, starving the turtle, or maybe it will become contaminated, thereby infecting his bloodstream. I think the next few days are critical.


4 Responses to “3 baby turtles and a confession”

  1. becomingcliche June 18, 2012 at 11:33 am #

    Keep him on damp paper towels until his yolk is absorbed. Sometimes the bladder can herniate out if the yolk is out for too long, so keep a very close eye on it until you can determine that he is eating. This may take several terrifying weeks. If he doesn’t start to eat on his own, you may need a reptile vet to prescribe some antibiotic injections. It’s a waiting game at this point. Good luck! Fingers crossed that it’s going to do just fine.

    • fishtanx2011 June 18, 2012 at 3:13 pm #

      Thank you for the truly expert advice. I always imagined turtle clutches hatching at about the same time so they could make a jailbreak out of the nest. I am so surprised by the difference in timing. For the moment , as I mentioned , he is on Coir (coconut fiber), because I wanted him to burrow in and stay still, not drag around that yolk, but I will get him on paper towels. I will make them a little “fluffy” so he feels more secure.

      • becomingcliche June 18, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

        Have some flat on the box he is in and crumble others up so that he can crawl under them. They’ll often burrow underneath. Coir can stick to their yolk and be absorbed into their bellies as the plastron closes.

        Sometimes they hatch at very different times for no real reason at all. It’s weird.

        Little turtles are pretty tough, so it may be just fine!

  2. fishtanx2011 June 18, 2012 at 3:19 pm #

    Oh that is good to know about the Coir!! I’ll do exactly what you suggest with the paper towels. Thanks!

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