Oh happy day! Your tortoises have laid eggs, and you are
going to have cute little baby tortoises which you now need to care for.
But, how will you care for them and keep those fragile
You will of course need to do thorough research on your
particular species of tortoise, but we will try to give some
basics that apply to hatchlings of nearly all tortoise
Housing Baby Tortoises
The first thing is to have the proper type of housing ready
for your babies when they hatch. Hatchlings of desert
tortoise species need to be kept warm and dry. Rainforest or
tropical hatchlings need to be kept warm and moist. Most
hatchlings do well at temperatures between seventy and
eighty-five degrees Fahrenheit (twenty-two to twenty-nine
A tortoise table or outdoor pen is the best habitat for your
hatchlings. You will need to set up a basking light for heat
and a full-spectrum UV-B fluorescent tube to promote vitamin
D absorption and promote proper growth.
You will also need to make sure that the babies will be
protected from other animals and people. If you are able to
house them outside it will let them have access to natural
sunlight (Don't put them under glass, they will overheat and
glass blocks UV rays.), but be sure that their cage is
secure and nothing can get in or out.
Also make sure that there are plenty of hiding places in the
pen, babies are shy. Keep fresh water in a dish shallow
enough that the babies can get into it and keep their heads
above the water so as to not drown.
Feeding Baby Tortoises
If your babies don't eat immediately after hatching, don't
panic. Hatchlings have an egg sac that they will be
absorbing for a week or so, and many don't eat much until
they are a couple of weeks old.
What to feed them will depend on your tortoise species, and
may be a challenge, although most hatchlings will eat what
their parents eat. But all baby tortoises need enough
calcium and vitamin D3 in their diets, usually provided by
sprinkling a supplement on their food. Without an adequate
supply of calcium and vitamin D3, you will lose the majority
of your hatchlings to death within the first year. Baby
tortoises can grow very quickly, and it is of the utmost
importance that they have the diet and supplements they need
to grow properly, or they can be permanently injured,
deformed, or crippled.
Another feeding danger for tortoise hatchlings is
overfeeding, or feeding too much protein. Don't feed
anything with meat in it (i.e. dog, cat or fish food) to
herbivorous species! Also avoid vegetables not specifically
recommended for your species of tortoise.
Simply the Cutest Stuffed Plush Turtles