Every year about this time, Chaca, my 45+ year old female chaco tortoise lays an egg. Since Baby Atlas, my ~20 yo male chaco hasn't yet successfully mated with her, and her egging predated his arrival here by several years, the eggs have not been fertile. My two box 30+ yo turtles have also attempted to mate with her, as has Treppie (short for Intrepid), my now 9 yo captive bred desert tortoise. When Chaca is not receptive, all the boys can do is tilt themselves up against the back of her shell, and work fruitlessly (from a reproductive standpoint) away.
I feel bad that she has expended precious energy into forming the egg yolk and shelling it and squeezing out the surprisingly large egg, given the size of her vent (the opening through which all things pass out, and in, during mating). Then again, human females lay babies the size of good sized melons, so, every thing is relative, isn't it. Having myself passed only eggs, not babies, I'm not exactly one who can speak from personal experience. But given what I've seen, both of women and female reptiles, ouch! is an understatement.
This year, Chaca laid two round eggs, both slightly smaller than ping pong balls. I set them aside...well, okay, I buried them lightly in the soil substrate of Tobago's enclosure, as I do every year, because I'm basically an idiot in hoping, "Well, maybe this one is different...". This year, by gosh, I was going to throw the egg out...but there they were, nice and round and white...and I couldn't. So, I buried them. But, as I walked away, thinking about them, it came to me.
Eggs in Hats.
Here is the first hat, a cute little number in slip-stitched turquoise and yellow, with a little tab at the top that I am particularly fond of recently in baby hats. I'll have you know that I knit this hat last night while the eggs were still buried in the soil, and so did not know if the hat would fit until I excavated the eggs this morning, washed them, and tried it on.
I'm thinking the second hat will be a mock fair isle or stripped number, made from the oodles of self-striping/patterning sock yarn I have left over from the 100 grams I need to buy to make my 80 gram pairs of socks (please may I have size 6 feet in my next life? It will be so much cheaper...as would a size 4 body, but that's another mantra...).
Stay tuned for Part 2.