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Laying low

Laying low
Photo Information
Copyright: Gerhard Theron (gerhardt) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1936 W: 244 N: 4106] (11620)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2004-05-29
Categories: Reptiles
Camera: Minolta Dimage Z1
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/400 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Turtles - Tortugas - Tortues [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2004-08-12 11:39
Viewed: 5158
Points: 14
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Leopard Tortoise (Geochelone pardalis)
In order to develop properly tortoise eggs need to be incubated within a specific temperature and humidity range. The incubation temperature is especially critical. The best results are obtained if the incubation temperature is maintained between 30C and 31.5C. Also in this temperature range, a mixed sex brood is most likely to result. Tortoise eggs are subject to ESD or Environmental Sex Determination (like crocodiles). In most cases, lower temperatures produce males, higher temperatures result in females. If the eggs are incubated at too low a temperature development will be very slow or the eggs may fail to hatch. Excessively high temperatures can lead to deformity.
Some female tortoises can be very selective about what constitutes a suitable nesting site. In general however nearly all prefer a site which is on a slope, is well drained and has light but relatively well textured soil which is easy to excavate. Very sandy sites, especially those without plant roots to bind the sand together, are often not favored. The female must be able to dig a bell-shaped excavation without too much difficulty, but at the same time the soil must not be so dry or so loose that the nest collapses in on itself. Preferred nest sites are also almost always situated in a sunny position. The most common time for laying is from midday to late afternoon.
Some species only lay a single egg. Others lay up to 30. Even within some species there can be considerable variation. Female tortoises can have eggs even in the absence of contact with a male.
I caught this lady unawares in the Willem Pretorius National Park. The nest was just beside the roadside and I nearly missed her. When I got out taking the photo she ducked behind the grass stems. (as can be seen in the pic) I decided to take one photo because I did not want to interrupt her laying. I consider myself very lucky to have stumbled onto this opportunity.

carper, AndyB, PDP, nwoehnl, Robbrown, ellis49, Luc has marked this note useful
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To PDP: Size of tortoisegerhardt 1 08-12 17:32
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • carper Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1973 W: 119 N: 2582] (8439)
  • [2004-08-12 13:02]

The photo is with the great note, very good.
Yes, I like it. You had to take it this way otherwise you could disturb her, very, very good note, well done Gerhardt.

  • Great 
  • Callie Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1101 W: 95 N: 2610] (7555)
  • [2004-08-12 14:11]

Hi Gerhard
Bergskilpad = Leopard T, so I learned something new tonite! Thanks for this, and a good note and in the environment picture too.
Moffat se boek is Missionary Labours en uit die 19de eeu!

  • Great 
  • AndyB Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1366 W: 32 N: 1351] (3982)
  • [2004-08-12 14:58]

A nice capture.
You did well to spot her as she blends nicely into her surroundings.
A great note too,I'm learning more on here everyday!
Very well done.

  • Great 
  • PDP Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor [C: 2821 W: 344 N: 3779] (11769)
  • [2004-08-12 16:28]
  • [+]

Nice capture and exceptional note. How big is she? it's hard to gauge.

Good crisp shot, Gerhard. I like the details of the patterns on the shell, and the overall earthy color tones of your photo. Well captured, and interesting notes too.

I am glad you cared enough to not disturb her, TN is about learning and through your note we learn a lot thankyou.

Very good picture and a great note.
Well done

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