About forty years ago, a daycare provider across the street from my parents' house discovered tortoises abandoned on her front porch. Guess someone thought the kids would enjoy them. She released them into her substantial backyard, and they did what tortoises do. By the time I met her twenty years ago, she had a population of over fifty. She also had a half-dozen each of 1-year-old and 2-year-olds living on her kitchen counter.
After a few months I got a call from her. She had an opportunity to move permanently to Hawaii. It's against federal law to take these tortoises out of the state, so would I like some. I took the babies and a handful of the others and built a nice pen in my backyard for them. I really expected her to come back to California within a few years, but she did not.
Over the last few years we have started digging up clutches of eggs. My son has tried to incubate them without success. Over the last year he did a lot of homework, and when the tortoises started laying this year, he was ready. He harvested twenty-seven eggs. Five he gave to a friend (an experienced reptile breeder), six "failed" over the three-month incubation period and of the rest, he determined that he had eight PROBABLE successes and the rest possible.
He just discovered that one is hatching. It was so sweet to hear this 6'6" 32-year-old cooing "C'mon little guy," just like in Jurassic Park.
I just did the squeeeeeee dance. Now we wait.