Friday, April 11, 2008

Oeufs Redeux

Chaca emerged from the last long sleep of her winter brumation in January, but hasn't shown any interest in food or water. Oh, she drank a bit, but not the great sucking bowls full as did Treppie (discussed in Spring Doth Creep on Tiny Tortoise Feet in my LIS blog).

I thought perhaps she might be gravid, as she spent a day or so making the soil excavation motion with her hind leg, but it wasn't as determined or prolonged behavior as it has in past years. It stopped altogether, so I thought if she had been gravid, she must of resorbed her egg(s). Last year, you may remember, she laid only one, rather than the two she has laid in previous years.

Last Saturday, she asked to go out (trundled to the back door and scratched at it), so I put her down on the step, and she used the ramp to go down to the patio and off she went. Unfortunately, she decided to go through a hole in the fence into my neighbor's yard - a hole I hadn't noticed, and one my neighbor was going to fix that morning but delayed a bit. My neighbor came over several hours later, Chaca in hand, after his dogs found a rock moving across their yard, heading towards the fence.

Chaca does have some shell damage, but thankfully nothing that penetrated through the plastron or carapace into her body cavity. I treated her with soaks and topicals, and put her back in the iguana/tortoise room, where she has stayed, for the most part. She has ventured a few steps into the kitchen, going to the feeding station, but she kept going back to the I/T room without eating or drinking.

By yesterday, I was starting to get concerned about her inappetance. In the late afternoon, Mikey headed back into the Iguana Room (to him, it is, of course, the Iguana Room, as he studiously ignores the tortoises unless they are at the feeding station). I noticed that he was hanging out on the floor rather than climbing up to his roost, so I went to see why...and found two eggs on the floor. Here they are, cleaned up:

I have read lots of candling articles over the years, and as far as I have been able to tell, her eggs have not been fertile. This year, I have a new tool in my candling effort: my 20 million candle power

Here's what the eggs look like on Day 2 (well, more like Day 1.5):

What can I say - I just think this is a nice picture of Hand, Egg, and 20mcp:

I also pulled out one of my LED flashlights, formed a tunnel over the top so the light flowed through my hand, and viewed the eggs lit up that way. Didn't tell my any more than the 20mcp light did: there is a dark spot at one place within the egg that may be an embryo - or not. I'll check again on Day 6 to see if there is any sign of decomposition or development.

And so, we wait.