The instahatch experience from Randy and TortStork was top notch. I’ve hatched endangered freshwater turtles before, but had not had the chance to hatch a tortoise before. Randy provided excellent updates during the incubation process, complete with pictures of candling. He also provided in-depth instructions for the few days before hatching through life for the first few months to make sure the care and habitat setup was “dummy-proof”. I would recommend the Tort Stork instahatch experience to anyone looking for a hatchling tortoise.

Steve Enders. M. Ed. / President/Executive Director of theTurtleRoom

I am a cautious person who doesn’t like to take risks. When I decided to add to my tortoise family, I started carefully researching breeders. I knew Randy had an excellent reputation as a breeder. I had planned on getting a hatchling from him. I went to his website and I saw that he was shipping eggs. I could not believe it. This was my dream. I never thought it would be possible.

I read everything he had on the website over and over. I told every single person I knew. I asked everyone for advice. They all thought I was crazy. Not possible. I thought about it for months. I just could not pass up this chance. No more watching YouTube videos. I could watch my very own tortoise hatch.  

I contacted him and he answered so many questions. Even though everything I needed to know was on his website. Pictures and videos for every step including setting up your incubator, enclosure, diet, lighting etc. Complete egg and hatchling care. That did not stop me from emailing, calling, texting with a million more questions. He had the patience of a saint and always replied immediately.

When my egg was close to hatching, Randy called to check up on both of us. I was a nervous wreck. Randy had a “feeling” and asked me to check the egg. I could not believe it! There was a tiny leg sticking out of the egg. My little Russian tortoise was early and he busted through that egg like a champ. I was crying like an idiot. Jumping up and down like a child. I was so happy. It was one of the best experiences of my life.

I cannot say enough positive things about Randy and TortStork. No other breeder has had the desire and innovation to offer this experience. It was amazing. My Russian tortoise is amazing. Perfect in every way. Hatchlings are special little creatures on their own. But I saw mine break out of his egg. It is incredible how they are stuffed into that tiny shell. I saw his yolk sac. I saw his shell bent from growing inside the egg. I saw it smooth out by the next day and the little hole for the yolk sac close up. I saw him take his first bite of food. His first drink of water. It was better than I ever imagined.! I can’t wait to do it all over again. Thank you, TortStork, you freaking made my dream a reality!

Lesa R. / Louisville, KY

I teach Lower School Science in a K-12 private school in Texas. Each year we hatch baby chicks in the lab. However, this year we added an Instahatch Leopard Tortoise from Tortstork to the curriculum. The anticipation was overwhelming . Parents, grandparents, teachers, administrators as well as students were all onboard for this event. Our school Instagram page gave frequent updates on the hatching process. The science lab had a camera on the hatching egg and the door was always open for any to come and view the egg. The Instahatch project is easy because Randy is a text away. He is so conscientious as he walks you through the process. I have taught for 32 years and this is by far my favorite life cycle lesson ever. By the way, our tortoise is named Tortilla.

Barbara Myers / Teacher at Fort Worth Country Day School

I am a Tortoise forum member and everyone kept talking about TortStork and buying eggs and hatching them out, just raving about it and the GREAT experience that they have had with TortStork.  So I did some research on this and spoke with Randy a few times about it.  I was still on the fence about ordering an egg and hatching it out by myself.  What if it doesn’t hatch?  Lots of what if’s involved in this.  So the more I thought about it the more I wanted to do it and see if I could do it and Randy was there every step of the way to guide me!  The day that it “#74” hatched, I was giving him a blow by blow description, along with pics and videos of the event.  Needless to say it is a very unique experience to day the least and I would really like to do it again one day (soon)!!  So, if any of you are on the fence and contemplating buying an egg and hatching it out, no more contemplating involved you have come to the best and most informative company and conscientious company I might add, look no further, you have come to the best!  Randy is the BOMB!   His customer service extends far beyond the buying of the egg and the hatching, he keeps in contact with you if you have questions to be answered, he is there.  So like I  said  teeter no more, fall off the fence and go with Randy!  You will NOT be sorry!

Terri Kavanaugh / Braintree, VT

“After 10 years of raising, keeping, and rescuing tortoises, I decided to venture into breeding them. While researching how to incubate eggs and care for hatchlings, I discovered Tortstork’s website. I was intrigued by the idea of buying a tortoise egg to incubate and hatch myself. I saw it as a “hands on” learning experience to prepare me for when my tortoises start breeding and laying eggs. Tortstork provided me this amazing opportunity, always answering questions along the way, and I am truly grateful for that.”

Kitty M. / Tucson, AZ
When I first heard that tortoise eggs would be sold as part of a new business in the chelonian community, I was extremely skeptical. As time went on and more and more people continued to bring up this exciting new idea to me, I realized that it was important for me to give it a try. I started with an Insta-Hatch egg, thus providing myself the first real view of what this whole process entails. This egg was to be a Western Hermann’s Tortoise, Testudo hermanni hermanni, from the Madonie locale, which is a mountain range in Sicily.
As someone who has spent decades dealing with professionals in herpetoculture, I like to think that I have seen a wide range of animal husbandry, creativity and customer service. From the beginning, my experience with Randy saw him being professional, courteous, available and extremely calculated. His confidence and thoughtfulness ease my worries and curbed my skepticism. He sent me updates on the egg, including candling photos that allowed me to see the developing embryo throughout the process. It seemed these photo updates came every week. As time drew on, he contacted me often to arrange shipping and fill me in on his plans for getting the egg to me. i didn’t have to reach out to him once.
I work at a large specialty veterinary hospital and when I received the shipment via FedEx, the excitement around the hospital was considerable. People are used to me receiving live turtles and tortoises in the mail, but this was different. People wanted to know about how an egg can be shipped and the opportunity for sharing educational information was not lacking. I was pleased to see that the egg looked great and was intrigued by Randy’s exceptional packing skills. The next day, the egg began to hatch.
I couldn’t be more grateful for what I learned from Randy and his hard work through this process. I believe we are learning what chelonian eggs can withstand at various times during their development. It will be interesting to weigh the pros and cons around shipping eggs rather than head started turtles, to reduce the risk of contamination and casualties related to shipping young turtles where stress is often a significant factor.
Anthony Pierlioni / Senior Director of theTurtleRoom

Hey everyone, Just a note to say Randy of Tortstork has been everything you could wish for, he was responsive, informative, generous with his time and knowledgable, caring in his packaging, efficient and timely with postage and super understanding at every step of the process, particularly for two first time buyers and tortoise owners like us. It was a pleasure to be in touch throughout and we can’t recommend Tortstork any more highly. We are so happy to be in the care of our two healthy Eastern Hermanns, Toyota and Yogi..!

Mimi & Tristin / Palo Alto, CA

I research everything pretty extensively before I go all-in on something big (especially animals).  So when I decided I wanted a tortoise, this was no different.  I went to reptile shows and read up on forums and the overwhelming consensus was to go with captive-bred if at all possible.  Deciding that I wanted a little one I started my search for babies and I came across TortStork.  I have 5 kids at home and we all absolutely love the process of seeing little things come into the world and I wondered if this would work.  I’m not a huge risk taker either so to shell out money for anything that isn’t a 100% guarantee was scary for me as well, but with the potential to see them hatch, and have my kids be able to see the whole thing as well I thought was worth the risk.  Randy from the beginning was awesome and from my interests recommended a Russian Tortoise.  I talked the wife into allowing me to do it (probably the hardest part of the entire process!) and we started the process of waiting for them to be ready for shipping.  I threw him a curveball when I said “actually I was thinking of getting a male as well as a female!”  He was on it, and though he was nervous sending the male early, was willing to take the chance.  As luck would have it, he was unable to get the shipment out due to holiday shipping restrictions and the girl hatched at his place over the weekend.  We decided to wait for the boy to be a little further along and try again with a different girl.  While waiting on them to be ready he suggested waiting a little while longer because he had a male and a female that had been laid hours apart and figured that that made the most sense to ship together.  Finally the time had come to ship the little ones out and it arrived early the very next day.  They were packed well and tightly, with foam and bread.  There wasn’t much of a way for them to move around.  They arrived safe and sound and immediately went into the incubator.  The first few days my daughter hardly left the eggs anticipating a hatch at that very moment.  Eventually the long wait settled in and she told me “just tell me when they are ready.”  It took an agonizing 16 days for the boy to first show a pip.  It’s so nerve-wracking checking them every single day many times over only to see no change.  I even got a WiFi camera to put on them so I could watch from my phone while away.  When that first pip showed up I was shaking excited and ran through the house (my kids say like an old man) and was shouting to everyone “The boy is coming!”  You never know if they are ok or if they are even still alive and you are questioning to yourself if you are doing everything right, but when you see that pip there is a sense of accomplishment and joy that I would have NEVER gotten without going through this process!  As all men know we had to wait on the lady to make herself presentable and a couple of days later she also pipped!  The boy was a bit scared at first (I know I would be too) but the girl…completely fearless and such an explorer day 1!  I feel such privilege to be with these little ones the minute they come into the world and consider myself so blessed to have the opportunity to know them their ENTIRE life.  Through it all Randy was right there listening to all my questions and worrying.  I hassled him so much and his response…”I don’t mind, text me daily”.  I can’t recommend this enough!  It’s the most amazing experience.  Though agonizing with the wait for them to come, it’s SO worth it in the end.  They arrive safe, instructions are very easy to follow, and they come with a personal support system in Randy.  If you are on the fence about this – jump.  Track record of success? Check. Experienced breeder? Check.  Great customer service? Check.  Joy of being able to witness the birth of something amazing? Huge Check.  Thanks Randy for an incredible experience for me and my family!  


Andy T. / Maryland

Tortstork provides an amazing service. Randy sent me an Insta-Hatch Cherry head egg that was days away from hatching. All I had to do was unbox it and put it in my incubator. Four days later my egg started hatching and Randy (Tortstork) guided me through the whole process. With Tortstork you don’t just get a tortoise you get a whole experience! I would definitely recommend it to any one who wants to hatch their own baby. 

Todd R. / Snellville, GA

Tortstork is the jam-diggity!  Randy is just awesome.  He stayed in constant contact keeping us updated with photos and updates from the egg stage, the day it hatched, and growth updates all the way through to its arrival day.  We received our perfect little 27 day-old cherry-head hatchling safe and sound all the way in Colorado this January.  Happy and healthy!  We were skeptical about shipping such a small tortoise to Colorado in January, but the owner Randy really knows what he’s doing.  We planned together, and he timed the shipping with the weather perfectly, and it shipped in about 13 hours.  Even after seeing many photos, we were blown away with how tiny it was!  SO cute!  He has continuted to be a resourse to us, and is generous with his wealth of knowledge on all things toroise, and is very patient dealing with all of my #overconcernednewtortoisedaddy questions.  The best surprise was that part of our purchase gets donated in my name to help save endangered turtles!  It doesn’t get any better than that.

Brian H. / Arvada, CO

The first time I heard about a company shipping tortoises eggs I was a bit taken aback because I had never heard of anyone doing that before. I remained somewhat skeptical for a time but began looking into it more. I was certainly intrigued, but being more of a field biologist than a private keeper, and never having hatched any chelonian, I was hesitant to give this a try at first. I thought it would be a unique experience so my wife and I eventually decided to go for it.

Randy was very helpful at every step of the process. I inquired about an incubator that I was looking into purchasing and he was happy to give suggestions and recommend proper settings. He sent photos of the egg being candled and showing the air sac so we could see its development. He was very clear about when the package was shipped and when it was expected to arrive, and even sent tracking information. When the day came for the package to arrive Randy and I were in touch to ensure the package arrived timely and safe. Through our communications, I could tell that Randy really cares about the eggs he ships.  

When the package arrived, we were anxious to open it. We carefully opened the box and removed the newspaper. We found that the egg was actually starting to hatch, talk about Insta-Hatch! Within two hours of arrival the hatchling was out of the egg!

Randy has also been in touch in the weeks since to check in and ask how the hatchling is doing. It is doing very well! It has been active, eating, and gaining weight. This was truly an amazing process and I would recommend it to anyone interested in having the same experience.

Andy Weber / Field Projects Manager of theTurtleRoom

TortStork Customer:


Hello, my name is Tom Anderson and when I was 22 years old my life was changed forever when I was diagnosed with Hypertrophic Obstructive Cardiomyopathy (HOCM). I also suffer from depression, learning disabilities and severe social disorder. This heart disease is genetic so I was born with it, yet there are no other family members with it. In 2009 at the Cleveland Clinic after a day of testing and consultations with the top specialist in my disease I was scheduled for open heart surgery the following day. They had to remove part of my heart muscle, repairs to my papillary muscle and mitral valve along with many heart abnormalities.

The surgery is to relieve symptoms which in my case it did not. I also underwent 3 cardiac ablations to take care of arrhythmia problems. This is not a curable disease, it will get worse overtime and I’ve been told that I will someday need a heart transplant. Before my diagnosis I was living a normal life, friends, boating and working a full time job. I was dealing with symptoms for years but always thought that what I was feeling was from my asthma. 

I currently don’t have any quality of life because I cannot work due to my health. I struggle daily with chest pains, shortness of breath, severe fatigue, vision issues, along with the depression and anxiety. There have been too many times to count where I have hoped to go to sleep and not wake up.  I look at my siblings who lead a normal life and I constantly ask “Why Me”?

There has been one constant in my life and that is my love of all animals! If I could, I would have one of each. Through research i came across  Tortstork offers Tortoise eggs for you to hatch yourself. I was in constant communication with the owner, Randal Betz JR, and the more I learned from him, the more I wanted to raise a Tortoise of my own. So I made up my mind that I had to have one. Tortstork shipped an egg to me in July.  It was awesome to watch the transformation that an egg goes through during incubation from chalking to candling to hatching.  This little egg gave me something to look forward to every day; making sure it was doing well and the temps and humidity for the incubator were correct. The tortoise hatched in September and it was the coolest process to watch. I was proud of myself that I was able to do something on my own, that brought me so much joy. I have joined a few Tortoise forums and Blogs which has given me the opportunity to make new friends in the reptile community. I am so happy with the overall experience and help from Tortstork that I can not wait to hatch another tortoise. My health may never change for the better, but I now have something to look forward to everyday. This little tortoise depends on me to survive and I’m not going to let it down.

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