"It's Alive" was the message I sent to my son this afternoon along with the first photo below:
Later on, I sent this second photo to him, my daughter and my wife:
My current male Hermann’s Tortoise was hatched on either July 29, 2011, August 9, 2011. I had one egg hatch on each of those days from the first breeding of my then male and my then & current female. That male has since disappeared out of my backyard. My current male Hermann’s, one of those original offspring, is thus about 5 ½ years old. Well, he finally hit a home run.
My female laid five eggs back on November 6 th and one was broken and a total loss from day one. While I was pretty certain that four were fertile, I lost them all due to too much moisture in the incubation substrate which caused the shells to over absorb water and crack. That was a hasty novice’s error, done while I was in a hurry to moisten it before going away for the weekend. I am no novice but we all can have a brain fart. The female laid again either later in November or in early December, that time I think it was three eggs. They went into the incubator and I was careful never to add to much water to the substrate. One was infertile and went bad within a month or month and a half, it too had cracked but likely from whatever foul smelling stuff was inside festering away since it had been infertile. Another seemed fertile and candled with a couple of veins showing but then ceased growing and died for whatever reason. The last one was candled as fertile after about a week or so and remained seemingly healthy.
That last one started to pip this afternoon. The baby tortoise at first stuck only a single foot through a hole it had made in the shell. Later this evening, when I ;last looked in on it, the baby had a nice sized hole in the shell with its two front legs, head and some of its shell exposed. It may stay like that for up to a few days before it feels ready to leave the shell behind and start its life out of the nest (incubator).
I am pretty darned happy even though it is only one baby, because it means my little 5 ½ year old male is not shooting blanks any longer. I am going to give him and the female a week without food and only water, then put them both into brumation for two months. That should assure he fires live loads later in the spring when I allow them to mate again. For all I know, the female could be gravid now but I want to give her a break and brumate her regardless. She can use the rest, I am sure of that.
As for the new addition, I will be setting up an individual tank for it.
All the best,