North Island - Tortoise Nests Teach us a Lesson

May 24, 2012 |  Seychelles |  Inner Islands |  North Island
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You may recall our enthusiasm after witnessing four Aldabra giant tortoises laying eggs during the past rainy season, in our quiet presence. The same female nested too close to the road on two occasions, so we decided to relocate the eggs in order to give them the best chance of being successful.

Just as with turtle eggs, one has to pay special attention to not rotating the eggs during such an intervention. After carefully translocating the eggs, the Environmental Team had to wait patiently until the hatching date - which is between four to five months later. We marked the expected hatching day on our calendars and, after placing wire mesh around the nest, it became our daily duty to check the nest at least three times for emerging babies.

Our disappointment was great when nothing happened - even after a few rain showers that softened the soil. After waiting a further two months, the team decided to dig up the nests to investigate what happened. The first two nests had gone bad and the eggs had decomposed. The third nest contained empty eggs with no embryonic development inside. We left the last nest in hope that it will still produce hatchlings.

Perplexed by this, we approached the local experts on turtles and tortoises. According to these authorities, this is a common occurrence amongst this species of tortoise. We are keeping our fingers crossed that this is not the case with future nests.


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