How To Tell If Red-Eared Slider Turtle Is Pregnant

How To Tell If Red-Eared Slider Turtle Is Pregnant?

Red-eared slider turtles are solitary animals, and that’s why they’re not so expressive. So, if you’re a first-time owner, knowing whether your turtle is pregnant or not can get tricky. 

Red-eared slider turtles are solitary animals, and that’s why they’re not so expressive. So, if you’re a first-time owner, knowing whether your turtle is pregnant or not can get tricky. 

Fortunately, your red-eared slider turtle will show some subtle and obvious signs of pregnancy. So, keep reading this article to find out what those signs are and plenty more on this subject matter. 

How To Tell If Red-Eared Slider Turtle Is Pregnant?

Turtles go through a gestation period, which lasts for around three months. However, this period is often variable. Once your turtle deposits the eggs, they undergo incubation for 60-90 days, provided the eggs are placed between 81°F and 86°F. 

When your turtle carries eggs, she exhibits unpredictable behavior different from their normal self. Her eating and basking habits change significantly, and she’ll often try to climb out. Regarding the physical change, her stomach’s underside becomes fat, and the inside of the legs and arms becomes white. 

Like in the cases of most pet animals, the best way to tell if your red-eared slider turtle is pregnant or not is an X-ray. Of course, the X-ray must be done by a professional. However, you can always look for some signs at home to see if your turtle is pregnant. So, let’s check those signs in detail: 

Physiological Changes 

The range of physical signs and symptoms varies from one turtle to another. However, you can touch the lower portion of the carapace firmly. This is where you discover slight bumps, which are nothing but eggs. Some turtle owners say that the inside of the turtle’s legs and arms turns white, which is not true for every turtle. 

As turtles don’t like being handled, attempting to feel their carapace can be complex. To ensure checking yourself, slowly pick up your pet and hold her a few times. Apply minimal to no pressure to feel the soft spots near the rear eggs. These eggs are present in between the plastron and carapace. If you think of the sides and ends of the eggs, she is pregnant.   

However, if you don’t check properly, you may break the flimsy eggs inside the belly. Also, you’ll be risking the mother turtle’s life as well. So, if you’re unsure about the process, don’t try to do it yourself. Instead, seek the help of a vet. 

Behavioral Changes 

Besides the physiological signs, the red-eared slider displays specific behavioral changes that may be hard to understand. Mood swings like stress and aggression are common behavior changes. Her appetite will fluctuate, and she will bask for a more extended period than usual. Also, she will try to do nesting by digging through the rocks and sand. 

Pregnancy-caused stress is a common sign among all species, and red-eared sliders are the same. Factors like tank mates, physical pain, lack of diet, and insufficient nesting space can result in stress during your turtle’s pregnancy. 

This stress feeling can eventually lead to aggression and cause unwanted fights in the tank. Your turtle may start fighting its tank mates. And just in case, if you try to calm or handle the turtle at this time, she may try to bite you. 

Returning to the basking point, your turtle will want to bask more when she’s pregnant. So, she may spend additional hours under the lamp or the sun to bask and warm her body. However, some red-eared sliders can go multiple days without basking to look for an ideal nesting spot. 

During the early stages of pregnancy, your turtle will eat uncontrollably. The reason is her need for high energy levels to adjust herself to the new bodily changes. However, during the end stage of pregnancy, her appetite will fall drastically as she will feel more tired. 

The fact that she will spend so much time finding the ideal nesting spot means that she’ll be distracted from her nutritional needs. Some turtles often tend to overeat when pregnant, but it’s not something too familiar. 

In the search for the ideal nesting zone, your red-eared slider can extend to any length to dig holes. They will try to climb over the tank and swim through the glass. Although this is standard behavior, it often results in frustration. 

As the owner, you must provide them with a suitable nesting spot. Now that you’ve got an idea of how to tell whether your turtle is pregnant, there are some related factors and aspects you must know. So, continue reading. 

How To Help Your Red-Eared Slider Turtle Lay Eggs?

There are two ways to help your red-eared slider turtle lay eggs, including season and location. You can make an ideal spot in your yard, provided it’s warm outside. However, if you stay somewhere with cold weather and if there’s no yard outside, go for the indoor egg-laying method. 

The Outdoor Technique 

This is the most effective, convenient, and preferred method. First, ensure that your yard is safe and secured so that your turtle won’t run away. If not possible, try securing a specific part of the yard where you can keep the turtle. Wet grounds should be ideal as turtles typically prefer it. 

So, to accelerate the process, try wetting the ground before bringing her out. However, check for traces of insecticide or pesticide on the ground beforehand. If found, try to get rid of them or look for some other ground. 

This technique or method is ideal as it’s almost the same as what turtles experience in nature. Plus, there will be no hassle of cleaning up. 

The Indoor Technique 

When opting for the indoor technique, you should have at least these three things: 

  • Organic potting soil
  • Sand
  • Large plastic container

You will have to take an equal amount of organic potting soil and sand and make a mixture out of it. Fill two-thirds of a container with this mixture. The container or the box must be a bigger one. If not, your turtle will feel suffocated and trapped and may even postpone laying eggs. 

As said earlier, avoid using soil with any fertilizers or pesticides as they harm your turtles. Once you keep the mixture in the box, sprinkle some water over it. Then, you must cover the box or the container with a lid partially. It will provide both dim and lit places for the turtle to decide where she wants to lay the eggs. 

Before keeping the turtle inside the box or container, ensure the temperature is regulated (neither too hot nor too cold). Plus, you’ll need to provide an interruption-free environment for the turtle. After keeping the turtle in the box or container, wait for 2-3 hours minimum for the overall process to get over. 

At this point, you shouldn’t peek and interact with your precious turtle. That’s because it will make her feel intimidated, and she may eventually delay the laying process. The egg-laying process typically takes 2-3 hours, but you can never tell what and when the turtle prefers to give birth. 

So, the best solution would be to keep the box or container with the turtle somewhere that’s well-ventilated and well-lit. Although most turtles prefer to lay their eggs in the morning, others do it at night. 

What Should I Do With My Turtle Eggs?

Depending on your preference, you can either incubate the eggs or get rid of them. Also, the fact of whether eggs are fertilized or not influences this decision. 

What Should I Do With My Unfertilized Turtle Eggs?

If no baby comes from the eggs, you should throw them away. Many people also sell or eat the eggs. So, it’s up to your personal choice what you want to do with them. 

Final Words

As turtles are inexpressive and not so communicative, it can be hard to tell whether they’re pregnant or not. However, observing their behavioral and physical changes signs can give you an edge. 

With this comprehensive guide, hopefully, you’ve got all the answers that you need. Until next time, make sure your red-eared slider stays well.

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