When Do Red-eared Slider Turtles Lay Eggs?

When Do Red-eared Slider Turtles Lay Eggs?

Petting red-eared slider turtles can be truly fun, especially when it’s time for breeding. If you own a female red-eared slider, then you might wonder when your pet will start laying eggs.

Petting red-eared slider turtles can be truly fun, especially when it’s time for breeding. If you own a female red-eared slider, then you might wonder when your pet will start laying eggs.

When your red-eared slider is ready to breed, you can expect her to lay eggs from mid-May to early July. And by the end of September or October, you can expect the hatchlings to be ready.

This article will give you informative insights into when you can expect your turtle to lay eggs. While you dig further, you will become familiar with the signs that indicate your pet is ready to lay. Please keep reading until the end of the article to gather more information about the same.

Let’s find out!

When Do Red-Eared Slider Turtles Start Laying Eggs?

When Do Red-Eared Slider Turtles Start Laying Eggs?

You should note that all female turtles have eggs inside them and will lay them once they attain reproductive age. The red-eared sliders usually start breeding as soon as they are almost two years of age.

Surprisingly, red-eared turtles can lay eggs even without mating. Nevertheless, those eggs are usually unfertilized and will not hatch into baby turtles.

Like all other egg-laying creatures, female red-eared turtles display certain changes in their behavioral pattern. Here we have listed a few observable symptoms which indicate that your pet turtle is about to lay eggs:

Deteriorating Appetite

Turtles love munching on different kinds of food, and they will automatically pounce on it without any hesitation. But when it’s time for them to lay eggs, the female turtles become absolutely uninterested in food. In fact, you will find that your turtle has gone somewhere to dig holes without even touching their favorite food.

Exploring the Surrounding Frequently

If it’s time for your turtles to lay eggs, then you’ll notice that they begin scouring the surrounding area. They basically do this to find the most appropriate nesting location. You will also find them digging holes in new places every day as they try hard to find the right spot for nesting.

Behavioral Changes

Red-Eared Slider Turtles Behavioral Changes

When red-eared slider turtles are about to lay eggs, they will mostly spend their time swimming. Sometimes, you will also find your turtle slowly climbing rocks and other surfaces to bask and regulate their body temperature.

In fact, you might also notice your red-eared sliders swimming vigorously and basking almost every time. Sometimes, your turtle might also dive into the water repeatedly before she lays her eggs.

Palpated Abdomen

Even if you notice behavioral changes in your red-eared turtle, you might not be certain whether they’ll lay eggs or not. So, to ensure whether your pet is about to lay eggs, you can feel the eggs on her belly. You can consider resting your fingers lightly on your turtle’s belly and feeling the eggs. Ensure you don’t apply much pressure while checking the eggs, as you might crunch them.

By the time your turtle turns two, you should start looking out for these signs of gravid behavior.

How Many Eggs Do Red-Eared Slider Turtles Lay at Once?

How Many Eggs Do Red-Eared Slider Turtles Lay at Once?

The female red-eared sliders usually lay 3-5 clutches of eggs every year. They usually lay each clutches between 15-30 days apart. In fact, they produce at least 30-150 eggs per annum.

You might be surprised and think that red-eared slider turtles experience huge reproduction each year. But compared to all other species of turtles, they lay a very small number of eggs. However, they are considered one of the most widespread turtle species in the whole world.

When Do Red-Eared Slider Turtles Breed?

The breeding season for red-eared slider turtles usually ranges from spring to early summer. Besides, most mating rituals and courtships occur in the water between March and July.

Since the living environment of red-eared sliders is carefully controlled and rarely changes, they can breed anytime they feel like it.

Where Do Red-Eared Slider Turtles Lay Their Eggs?

Where Do Red-Eared Slider Turtles Lay Their Eggs?

Turtles are popularly known as amniotes. This means the female turtles will find an appropriate place on land and dig a nest to lay their eggs.

The eggs of red-eared slider turtles have soft shells. And if the eggs are fertilized, your pet turtle will find a safe place on land to lay them. In fact, they will make sure to bury their eggs inside the sand.

Please note that the female red-eared sliders usually prefer soft and sandy soil with appropriate sun exposure for nesting. This feature of nesting enables the eggs to incubate at a moderate temperature of 22° Celsius.

Interestingly, the temperature at which the eggs are laid also dictates the gender of the turtles. Those eggs which are laid below 27° Celsius are very likely to produce males, while warmer temperatures can produce females.

Also, remember that the red-eared turtles don’t dig their nest deeper than 10-12 cm. You will usually find their hatching nest within 200 meters of water.

When Do the Eggs of Red-Eared Slider Turtles Hatch?

The eggs of red-eared slider turtles usually hatch between 60-90 days after they are laid. But if the eggs hatch in the late season, then they usually remain in the nest during the winter. And eventually, as the weather improves and warms up in the spring, the hatchlings will slowly start emerging.

How Should You Prepare for the Nesting Period?

Where Do Red-Eared Slider Turtles Lay Their Eggs?

When it’s time for your red-eared slider’s nesting period, you need to provide her with a calcium-rich diet. Doing so will actually help in compensating for all the nutrients that were lost during egg formation.

Even if your turtle has not mated, you should prioritize your crawly friend’s diet. It’s because the unfertilized eggs also require nutrients to form.

You need to ensure that your red-eared slider receives its rightful share of plant-based and animal-based food. The ideal way to provide them with adequate protein is by providing small aquatic creatures and insects or specially formulated meals.

If your pet turtle resides in a pond or water tank, then you should incorporate a secure spot for laying eggs. You can consider including untreated topsoil and littering the area with fresh green leaves. Also, you need to make sure that the place you choose for nesting has less traffic.

How to Determine Whether the Red-Eared Slider Turtle’s Eggs Are Fertile or Not?

Once your female red-eared slider has laid her eggs, you can consider incubating them. However, you can also wait for them to hatch naturally in their original nest.

But before you can let the eggs hatch, you should determine whether they are fertile or not. Here we have enlisted a few techniques that will help you determine the same:

  • You can use a flashlight to shine light through the turtle eggs. If you notice a red circle inside the eggs, you’ll know that they are fertile. But if you don’t notice anything, the turtle eggs are infertile.
  • If the color of the eggshell changes over time, you’ll know that your pet has laid fertile eggs. But if the egg is infertile, then the color of the eggshell remains the same.
  • You can hold the eggs gently to determine their fertility. If the turtle eggs are fertile, the texture will change as it matures. The eggs will develop a more rigid and rubbery texture as the embryo grows.

Please make sure that you handle the eggs very carefully, as they are extremely fragile. If you mishandle them, they can break easily.

To Conclude

Most of the red-eared sliders start laying eggs by the time they turn two years old. So, as a turtle owner, you should look out for the above-mentioned behaviors that indicate your pet is ready to lay.

Also, you should ensure that your turtle has an appropriate environment for laying her eggs. She might become egg-bound if she doesn’t get a suitable place to lay her eggs. When your pet becomes egg-bound, it can be fatal for her overall health.

You can consider building a suitable nest whenever you notice signs that your turtle is ready to lay eggs. This little gesture will encourage your red-eared slider to lay eggs in an appropriate place.

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