It’s now this:
The hatchling Indian Star tortoises are growing well. On Wednesday, they had their first soak. This species is from a more arid region. Soaking offers them the opportunity to drink. And to poop. The little guys seemed to enjoy it. Their heads dipped into the water immediately, and they took their first drink.
There were occasional mishaps. But don’t worry. The water isn’t deep.
Note the red marks on their shells. Even though each tortoise’s pattern is unique, the colors will shift and change a bit over time. For accuracy of record-keeping, each tortoise is marked with fingernail polish on a different scute (rhymes with “scoot” or “cute”), and the marks are recorded. Scutes are the scales on the shell, and these marks are the easiest way to accurately identify animals in a collection.
I took them out into the sun for some much-appreciated vitamin D, which is essential to good bone development. They have ultraviolet lamps, of course, but nothing beats natural sunlight. Sadly, I have no pictures of this event because I was so busy making sure visitors didn’t pocket one! Maybe next time.
Stay tuned for more updates. I have more photos to share, and it’ still early in hatching season.