Tonight's a special night for an endangered species

Discussion in 'General Reptile Discussion' started by Flaviemys purvisi, Nov 1, 2019.

  1. Flaviemys purvisi

    Flaviemys purvisi Very Well-Known Member

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    Hi all, it's been a very long night for me so far, considering my days (Mon-Fri) start at 2:45am! I'm still awake with coffee in hand sitting outside on a very gusty and overcast 10 degree night to share with you all a couple of very ordinary but at the same time, very special images of an event that has never before been witnessed (by you all) or shared by me... One of my captive Flaviemys purvisi - (Manning River turtles) is nesting right now in my newly constructed outdoor laying area. I've had some late nights this past week with this extremely pedantic turtle trying to trigger her into nesting and to say I'm physically and mentally exhausted is an understatement but I'm over the moon that she's getting the job done tonight. A misty rain is just starting to fall now.

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    I'm going to be up a while longer yet.
    --- Automatic Post Merged, Nov 2, 2019, Original Post Date: Nov 1, 2019 ---
    She'd finally finished sealing off and covering her nest chamber around 12:15am this morning. I quickly retrieved her from the outdoor pit and placed her back in her indoor aquarium and set about digging up her eggs. Once they were in my incubator I headed straight for bed. 10 eggs were laid in total but unfortunately the very first two in the bottom of the nest chamber, (the last ones I retrieved) were cracked open. She might have not caught the second one as she released it before it fell onto the first one and cracked them both. Nonetheless 8 eggs were deemed OK. I took this photo just a few minutes ago only after 4 hours of incubation and visible banding is already noticeable in egg #6... hopefully there's at least 3 or 4 that are viable. Flaviemys purvisi don't breed every year so every one counts. If all goes well, any little ones that develop should start emerging around day 60 which will be December 30th, the day before the ELN eggs that were laid last Sunday.

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  2. Ella C

    Ella C Active Member

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    That's incredible! If they don't breed every year, how often do they breed?
     
  3. Flaviemys purvisi

    Flaviemys purvisi Very Well-Known Member

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    It could be years between breeding seasons for this species as they're motivated by particular events in their habitat... spring rainfall and flooding events trigger breeding. I have to simulate this in captivity with a few tricks like gradually lowering their aquarium's water level in autumn and winter whilst letting it cool to 16°C then as September rolls around, gradually warm the water (1°C/day) back to 24°C and wait 2 weeks then quickly completely refill their tank with melted ice water (sudden rush of cold water is like a real life flood event in the wild), whilst triggering courtship and mating is not overly difficult with the species, the fact remains that female purvisi just don't become gravid every season like all the less ancient species of freshwater turtles. Seeing as females can store sperm from a single mating for 4 years, successful courtship in any given season is beneficial for when the females do become gravid and all the stars line up. Getting purvisi gravid is only half the challenge... if things aren't 100% perfect, the females will just discard/dump their eggs in the water instead of nesting and laying them. Ahhh the stress is real but would I trade it all for easy to breed reptiles?? Not a chance. Lol
    --- Automatic Post Merged, Nov 2, 2019, Original Post Date: Nov 2, 2019 ---
    My egg layer from last night has been understandably off her food for a fortnight, she's ravenous now. Time for some much needed greens and maybe a few prawns as a treat. :D
    Purvisi love their watercress and it's really good for them, high in calcium (essential after just having laid eggs) and other essential vitamins.

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    --- Automatic Post Merged, Nov 2, 2019 ---
    It's wayyyyy too early to start getting excited about this clutch but 6 of 8 already show signs of banding after 16 hours. Long road ahead, so many things could go wrong with them yet but we're just gonna take it one day at a time.
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  4. burningfyra

    burningfyra Not so new Member

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    That's super exciting! Please keep us updated as this is something very special.
     
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  5. Melmy

    Melmy Not so new Member

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    Fantastic - fingers crossed! A real labour of love for a special species
     
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  6. Flaviemys purvisi

    Flaviemys purvisi Very Well-Known Member

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    36 hours in and we are 8/8 banded/viable. Will be holding my breath for the next 59 days. :p
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  7. Mick666

    Mick666 Well-Known Member

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    that is awesome. congrats!
     
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  8. Flaviemys purvisi

    Flaviemys purvisi Very Well-Known Member

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    Thanks man... it's been a battle. If you were to Google for info on the ecology and breeding of Manning River turtles or search publications on Australian Freshwater turtles all the info you'd find would fit on a post-it-note and all of it is only speculation given by the NSW scientific community on what they think about purvisi based on what they know about georgesi and bellii. It's something that's only been achieved by 2 people and less than half a dozen times and something the ARP and Aussie Ark are attempting to do now... there's no step by step guide for me to follow it's hit and hope, trial and error to find what makes these guys click. At the end of the day it's testament to the fact that with sheer determination and supreme dedication, any one of us can achieve anything we set our minds to and we should never give up on our goals regardless of whether anyone else thinks we can or can't achieve them.
     
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  9. burningfyra

    burningfyra Not so new Member

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    Are you writing down all the processes you are going through and any possible relivent info that could have helped induce breeding? Because this could be a really big breakthough for conservation efforts!
     
  10. Flaviemys purvisi

    Flaviemys purvisi Very Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I've been keeping records and photographs of everything since I started with this species years ago from the behaviour exhibited during courtship, mating and from when gravid until the time of laying, even nest size, depth, duration of nesting, clutch size, incubation temp/duration. All relevant water temps and duration during cooling, courtship and mating etc and obviously diet. :)
     
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