Gopher Tortoises Hatching

We see a tortoise!

Check out the cutest thing you’ll see this week—two gopher tortoises hatching out!

A couple weeks ago the apron of a tortoise burrow was damaged during construction and disturbed two tortoise eggs and two hatchlings. The hatchlings did not survive but we set up the eggs to finish incubation. We were unsure if they were still viable after all that. Well…Monday evening we saw the first one pipping!! By Tuesday evening the first one was hatched and the second was pipping! Both are doing well this am.

And tortoise #2 has pipped!

Did you know a freshly hatched gopher tortoise comes out creased on the bottom shell (the plastron) due to being folded in the egg? And the fleshy part attached to the plastron is what’s left of the yolk sac, what gives nutrition to the baby during development. It will be absorbed back into the body over the next few days. It leaves the equivalent of a tortoise “belly button” for a few weeks.

Here you can see the creased plastron and remainder of the yolk sac.
First tortoise baby pipping