Last Updated on May 22, 2021 by cmoarz
So your turtle just laid eggs in the water and your not sure why or what to do? Are they alive? Are they fertile? These are some of the questions on your mind and this article will help answer them and give you some tips on how to keep this from happening again.
Why Did this happen?
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You might be quite confused as to why your turtle has laid her eggs in the water, especially if she’s single with no mates around. First of all, let’s go ahead and get this out of the way. Females will lay eggs regardless if their fertilized or not.
Are the eggs floating in the water fertile? That depends on whether the turtle has had access to a male in the last 4 years. If not, then there’s a good chance they are NOT fertile. You can safely throw them away before they start to rot, and don’t bother trying to hatch them.
Females can store male sperm for up to 4 years, so if your turtle has been in contact with a male at that time, there might be a chance they are fertile. It’s up to you if you would like to try and incubate them, however, being laid in water will lower the odds of being hatched.
So, speaking of being laid in the water, why did this happen?
Simply put, she laid her eggs in the water because she had nowhere else to lay them. It’s on you to provide a habitat created for her needs, and she currently lacks that habitat.
You may have noticed her become far more aggressive before laying her eggs, Maybe she stopped eating and was desperately trying to escape her tank to find a place to lay.
So now that you probably feel pretty bad, Let’s skip down to the “How to prevent this from happening” section. We got a bunch of good tips to create a wonderful habitat that will make any turtle jelly.
How to prevent it from happening again
Starting in spring or early fall, 2-3x during this period, Your turtle’s behavior will start to change. This is her putting you on notice that it’s time to prepare for eggs.
Now is the time to pull out the nesting bucket. What’s a nesting bucket you ask?
The nesting bucket is a specially crafted container where the turtle can safely lay her eggs without the worry of predation (even when no predator is around, it feels safe).
Go out and get some nice soil. You can find a lot of turtle nesting soils online. Do not use sand or anything like it, Do not use anything like vermiculite or pearlite either as your turtle can eat it and make it sick. You want nice soil that can retain some moisture, Not too moist tho, You just want to be able to squeeze it and it holds its shape without any water dropping out.
Stack your turtle on top of itself twice, that’s how deep the soil will need to be.
Put the moist soiled bucket in a warm quiet place in your house, place the turtle inside every evening with a towel over top. Make sure it’s not pitch black, leave a bit of towel open so light can enter. Just make sure she can’t get out. DO NOT PEEK. leave her be, she’s super shy right now.
In the morning, rinse her off, and place her back in her tank to rest and feed. Go back to the bucket and remove any eggs, Don’t be discouraged if there aren’t any yet, this could take many days.
After she’s fed and rested, replace her in the bucket again in the evening. You should continue to do this for at least 5 full days. If she’s still agitated, you may need to do it for a few more until she’s completely finished.
The dangers of turtle laying eggs in the water
So now that you know why it happened, and what to do about it to prevent it from happening again, Let’s go into the details about why it’s such a bad thing when it does happen.
Obviously, the whole ordeal is very stressful for female turtles. The stress of course breeds all sorts of secondary problems, like a weakened immune system and lack of appetite, which can lead to death.
The eggs are also left in the water where they may be consumed by other turtles or fish that live there. This is especially dangerous because it exposes these animals to pathogens from your turtle’s feces or bacteria coming out of her cloaca.
If your turtle has no wear to lay her eggs, she may retain them instead. This is rare but extremely deadly. The eggs will rot inside of her and cause blood poisoning, killing her.
The bottom line is when in doubt, get your turtle a “nest” that she can use to lay her eggs. Consider adding something for her directly in her enclosure if you’ve got the space. A ramp going up to a dark, easy-to-dig substrate (turtle-friendly of course) will go a long way to making turtle happy without the amount of effort involved in a bucket nest.