Hey all, my first clutch for the season is in the incubator. An exciting one too as this is my 7 year old Chelodina longicollis' first clutch ever. She's been acting out of sorts now for close to a month and noticeably heavy when held. I tossed up getting her X-rayed last weekend as you cannot feel the presence of eggs in gravid long-necks by palpating their hind limb pockets as you can with all short-necked species as ELN and all other long-necks carry their eggs higher up in their carapace. I decided against the X-ray knowing that if eggs were present and in stage 2 of development, the embryos would die. Today when I got home from work she was hauled out onto the basking dock in her aquarium and making digging actions/motions with her hind legs. I grabbed a 20 kilo bag of sand, dumped it into a storage container, wet it down with warm water and grabbed half a dozen shovel fulls of dirt from the back yard and mixed it in to create a nice laying substrate. I placed the tub on the patio in the last light of the setting sun and grabbed the turtle from the tank and plonked her in. Within 5 minutes of pacing, she settled down and started excavating her nest chamber. 25 mins later she began back-filling and compacting the nest chamber. Then she used her body like a jack hammer/compactor, raising herself up high and body slamming down onto the nest to compact it. You can clearly see the compacted area of the nest chamber on the left hand side of the tub. Now I returned her to her indoor aquarium to join her smaller boyfriend and proceeded to dig up the nest and see how many eggs she laid. Slowly and surely not to damage the hard-shelled eggs. Placed into a container of vermiculite dampened with 28 degree water at the weight ratio of 1:1 7 eggs in total, not a bad first clutch given she's only 18cm straight carapace length, 10cm short of fully grown. She will most likely lay another 1 or 2 clutches yet this season. Nest fully excavated. The eggs have been placed into my turtle egg incubator set at 28 degrees C. Now the anxious wait begins. The eggs, if fertile will band up within the next 24 hours to 10 days. If they turn out to be fertile, they will hatch anywhere in the next 65 - 122 days. The female was paired with the male back in October of last year so they have over wintered together and a lot of courtship and mating was witnessed by me but there's no guarantee this was a successful pairing... yet. The female on the left, male on the right catching some sun together last weekend. Fingers crossed! Woo!! --- Automatic Post Merged, Nov 10, 2018, Original Post Date: Nov 9, 2018 --- OK so after approximately 21 hours of incubation, 3 of the 7 Chelodina longicollis eggs have started to band (chalk up). Am stoked. Hopefully the other 4 follow suit in the next day or so! --- Automatic Post Merged, Nov 12, 2018 --- Day 3 of incubation has revealed a 4th egg starting to band up. Things are looking good so far, 4 viable eggs developing and 3 still with a question mark hanging over them... They have 7 days left... --- Automatic Post Merged, Nov 19, 2018 --- Day 10 of incubation today and the deadline for eggs that haven't yet banded. There's been no change since day 3 (apart from the 4 already viable eggs further developing), the remaining 3 never banded and will be removed from the incubator in the next hour, cleaned and preserved in a jar of methylated spirits and labelled. I've never been able to simply discard turtle eggs. They preserve well and will just form part of my turtle related smalls collection. I'll take 4 out of 7 for her very first clutch. Some preserved Saw-shelled turtle eggs from the 2015 season that never banded after 10 days of incubation. --- Automatic Post Merged, Jan 11, 2019 --- Well today is day number 62 of incubation for the 4 out of 7 viable Chelodina longicollis eggs in clutch #1 and there's movement at the station! With neonates emerging on and after day #65, it won't be long now. Hatchling Chelodina longicollis are extremely small and completely defenceless with heads and necks far too large to retract into their tiny shells. --- Automatic Post Merged, Jan 12, 2019 --- Just after midnight this morning (day #63) the first little one made its entrance into the world. After a long struggle to free itself from the egg, it's exhausted. Note the carapace (top half of the shell) is still very soft and curled over from being cramped in the confines of the egg. This uncurls and corrects itself within a few hours. There is still a bit of the egg yolk attached to the plastron (this is completely normal) that needs to be absorbed by the hatchy and this can take a week or even 2. During this time they will not feed. 3 hours after hatching and the little one's carapace has uncurled and he/she is clambering around all over his/her yet unhatched brothers and sisters. I carefully plucked it up for a quick snap for a size comparison next to a coin. When compared to many other reptiles, it really is a wonder that in the wild ANY hatchling turtles make it at all. They are so helpless and fragile. In the wild this one would have to dig itself out of a 6 inch deep compacted nest chamber that could be anywhere from 100-500m from the water. Blades of grass would be like an impassable forest of trees and potential predators coming from all directions.... Literally just a few hungry ants or a spider could stop this hatchy in its tracks. The one in a thousand that do make it past their 3rd birthday can go on to live for 100 years.