The Egyptian Tortoise: its natural history, its captive care, its beauty, its lore. . .
Breeding in Captivity
kleinmanni home | golden beauties | desert life | climate's role | captive needs | unique diet | Captive Habitat 1: basics | Captive Habitat 2: habitat development | Breeding | hatchling care | when something goes wrong | natural and un-natural history | All in the family | captive behaviors | tortoise links | references

Breeding captive kleinmanni is a major challenge for this animal's conservation. Captive stock are the only long term hope for keeping the species genome alive. Understanding and encouraging breeding in the F1 and subsequent captive generations is an essential task for all who keep this precious tortoise.

As with all tortoises, these animals have special needs related to breeding. While there are as yet no conclusive studies, there is anecdotal evidence that patterns of aridity and humidity may affect the inclination of captive bred kleinmanni to continue breeding. In addition, there is further anecdotal evidence that summer aestivation may also play a role. While none of this is conclusive, there is clearly a challenge in understanding and promoting breeding success in the captirve bred and rasied generations.

As with all other tortoise species, interactions during breeding are fascinating to watch and learn from. There are little rituals that assist them in selecting their mates, special courtship patterns that determine rank among males and who gets the girl, as well as special squeals and sounds and much hoopla.


These mating photos were taken by a friend in Galicia. Above you see a pair of males being solicitous of the larger female. In the literature there are accounts of male competition, ramming of the female and of competitors by the dominant male, followed by the act of mating (below).

caught in the act

In the act of mating, the female slighty relaxes her plastral hinge (kenesis) and extends her tail well out and up to accomodate the male. The mating is accompanied by squeals and squawks and much heavy breathing.

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"You can't trample infidelswhen you're a tortoise.I mean, all you could do isgive them a meaningful look."

-- Terry Pratchett, "Small Gods"

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The Egyptian Tortoise: its natural history, its captive care, its beauty, its lore. . .
Fred L. Erwin, Jr., 2004 - 2005 C.E.