Bad turtle news, some more bad turtle news and some good turtle news.

28 Jun

I came home from work 2 days ago and found little baby turtle #4 was dead. He was in the “incubator” in paper towels.
The previous night we had visitors and I did handle the baby turtle, taking him outdoors and showing them his yolk sac. Most curious, when I found him dead, the paper towels were quite dry. When I changed paper towels every day, I would moisten them with water from a spray bottle. I didn’t get them wet enough and I wonder if the towels were wicking moisture away from his body.
I took a couple photos of him but decided they are just sad, and decided not to post any.
The second bad news is that, since the incubator is now open, I wanted to dig up the egg clutch that was laid on May 7. They have been underground in the turtle enclosure, protected from large predators by some wire. I gathered some digging tools, in particular a couple of spoons so I could dig very carefully.
Here is what I found:

Five eggs were completely destroyed. They were crawling with insects. Sow bugs, worms and slugs all over them! Gross. I found one good egg and one egg that looked good but is quite sunken on the bottom.
If I had found these eggs to be healthy I was going to leave the batch laid a few days ago in the ground, but I didn’t not want the same fate to befall those eggs so I dug them up.

Sadly, I broke one egg, but recovered four good-looking eggs.
In the “incubator” I have 6 eggs.

So far this summer the momma Red-ear has laid three clutches of eggs.
First clutch: 5 eggs total, one not fertile, 4 hatched, one prematurely opened by me. 3 survivors.
Second clutch: 7 eggs total. 5 clearly destroyed. One healthy egg, one questionable.
Third clutch: 5 eggs total. One accidentally broken by me, 4 healthy looking so far.
I am finding out that raising baby turtles can be heart-breaking, but it’s worth it don’t you think?

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3 Responses to “Bad turtle news, some more bad turtle news and some good turtle news.”

  1. becomingcliche June 29, 2012 at 5:16 am #

    I’m so sorry for your loss. The first leopard gecko egg that I finally got the humidity right during incubation began hatching prematurely. The baby began to pip, and there was an actual tear in the egg. I waited for several days, but I finally had to open it on its own. The baby was still embryonic, and it had died. I was devastated and felt downright sick for several days. I’m happy to say that dozens of hatchlings eventually followed, all normal and healthy, but I have never forgotten that one. You did what you could for the little guy. They get dehydrated at the drop of a hat when they’re that tiny. It’s hard to keep up with their needs.

    The disadvantage of using an incubator is that the babies are all likely to be the same gender. The advantage is that you are more likely to keep out predators and invading insects.

    • fishtanx2011 June 29, 2012 at 5:53 am #

      I am trying not to think too much about the fact that an animal that could potentially live 40 years died because I may not have pumped a spray bottle 3 or 4 times. Regarding the insects, I had no idea that the bugs could be so damaging. Your advice and comments are always appreciated!

      • becomingcliche June 29, 2012 at 6:19 am #

        Don’t beat yourself up. There is no way of knowing whether any egg that hatches will live a full lifespan. Sometimes eggs that pip successfully on their own die shortly after doing so. For no known reason.

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