Many people think you need expensive and specialist incubators should you be lucky enough and your tortoise lays eggs. This isn't so.  I have used a home made incubator since I have been breeding tortoises and it has worked very well for me.


Pic: Dianne Green


15 minutes of time

polystyrene box

small heat mat

thermostat with probe

min/max thermometer with probe


plastic containers

2 house bricks




My incubator is made from a good sized, simple polystyrene box (the type that tropical fish are transported in).  These can sometimes be obtained from a local pet shop or a farm shop.   Air holes are punched into the lid of the box.  The heat source is a small heat mat which is connected to a thermostat and laid on the bottom of the box.  At each end of the box, I have a house brick.  As well as forming a platform to rest a rack on, the bricks also help to stabilise the temperature inside the incubator by adding mass.  A rack is needed to rest the egg containers on and for this, I use an old cake cooling rack.  You can use anything that is stable and allows the heat/air to circulate around the incubator.   For egg containers, you can use any type of plastic shallow box such as ice cream containers.  These are placed on the rack and filled with vermiculite. The eggs are placed on top of the vermiculite.   Along side the egg containers is another identical container which is filled with water, this is to add some humidity to the incubator.   The final piece of equipment is a min/max thermometer which sits on the top of the incubator lid along with the heat mat thermostat.  The probes from both the thermostat and the thermometer are fed through the air holes in the top of the incubator.  

Pic: Dianne Green

It's a very simple design which works well and can easily be put together with equipment that most tortoise keepers have in the home anyway.


I wish you good luck for your future hatchlings.