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Tortoise lays eggs! March 20, 2012

Posted by bsciencecenter in Uncategorized.
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The Science Center has a male and female red-footed tortoise, both which are used for educational programs throughout the Burlington Public Schools.

Shebly (female on left) and Fireball (male on right)

The female tortoise named “Shelby” laid eggs in her outdoor closure at Burlington High School.  We were lucky to catch the amazing event.

She had been exhibiting reproductive behaviors for several weeks.  First, Selby started digging her hole.

Then, she laid 4 plum sized white eggs.  Red-footed tortoises can lay 1-12 eggs (2-4 are most common).

Check out the video below as we filmed one of the eggs as it dropped out from beneath the tortoise!

Shelby then buried her eggs with the soil she had excavated to make the hole.  She used her flat feet to gently pat the dirt to cover them up.

Ms. P dug out the eggs and brought them inside so they would not get cold.   The tortoises eggs are in an incubator at the Science Center.  We will check them in 2 weeks using a machine called a “candler” to check if they are fertile.

It can take 3-4 months of  incubation before they hatch.

Click here to learn more about Red-footed tortoises.