The Russian Tortoise 
Agrionemys horsfieldii ( Testudo horsfieldii)  

Hatchling Care

Russian Tortoise hatchlings eating dandelion

 

 

egg hatching
 06/04/2004

 

It can take up to 2 days for a hatchling to break out of an egg. They are oriented "sideways " in the egg and appear "folded" when they hatch. Many have visible yolk sacks and should be kept in the incubator until the yolk sack absorbs.

Russian tortoise hatchling yolk sac
Here the yolk sack is clearly visible.

 

Russian Tortoise hatching
When hatching many will turn around and
eat the remaining albumen in the egg shell.

It can take 2 weeks or longer before they start eating. During this time they are living of the yolk reserves. I keep them in small Rubbermaid containers until they are actively feeding.

I use the same Bed-A-Beast/ sand substrate that I use for the adults. Its important to not let the substrate dry out. Also provide a shallow dish of water for soaking and drinking.

Russian tortoise hatchling drinking

I feed the hatchlings daily. They get the same food as the adults. Since most of what they are fed is weeds and grass, I don't supplement them. I have always had smooth growth and firm shells. I also soak them at least every other day.

 If the weather permits I bring them outside during the day. They are outside at least twice a week. I use 55 gallon Rubbermaid containers that are planted with weeds. The top is securely covered with hardware cloth and 1/2 is shaded.

Russian tortoise hatchlings hiding in weeds
This is a 3 month old hatchling coming out of its burrow

 

Russian tortoise hatchling size comparison
A size comparison as they get older

 

Calcium is very important for hatchlings. I feed only high calcium weeds and greens. I also dust the food with TNT and keep cuttlebone with them at all times. They may ignore the cuttlebone most the time, but they do eat it when they require extra calcium.

cuttlebone

 

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