Do Turtles Lay Eggs? (15 Interesting Facts)

One of the questions we often get regarding turtles is on how they reproduce. People want to know whether turtles lay eggs and if so, when, where and how they lay the eggs. In this article, you will find the answers to all those questions.

Do turtles lay eggs? The answer is ‘yes’. All types of turtles lay eggs. Turtles lay the eggs, usually during the warmer months in nests, which they dig on the ground. Fertile eggs are laid 3-6 weeks after mating. After laying the eggs, the female turtle covers them with soil and leaves them alone.

Inside the turtle eggs is a yolk sack. It is from this yolk sac that the turtle hatchling gets nutrition at the start of its life, after which it starts looking for its own food.

Female turtles can still lay eggs even without mating. But such eggs turn out to be infertile, and therefore don’t hatch.

Do turtles lay eggs
Do turtles lay eggs?

 

How Do Turtles Have Babies?

Ideally, the do turtles lay eggs question should be preceded by this one – on how turtles have babies. This gives proper context for understanding the turtle egg laying behaviors.

Now the process through which turtles have babies starts with mating. The male turtle mounts the female turtle, and proceeds to inseminate her.

3-6 weeks after mating, the female turtles lay eggs, which are already fertile. So in a turtle laying eggs (that are fertile) follows mating.

Then 2-3 months after being laid, the eggs hatch: giving rise to baby turtles.

So in a nutshell that is how turtles have babies.

 

Do Turtles Lay Eggs?

There are people who wonder whether turtles reproduce through eggs or by giving birth. This is what leads to the do turtles lay eggs or give birth question.

The true position is that turtles lay eggs. All turtles come from eggs. And all types of turtles are only able to propagate their species by laying eggs.

It is the female turtles that lay eggs. The eggs come out through openings known as cloacae, which are somewhere beneath their tails.

When a turtle is about to lay eggs, she will find an appropriate spot to dig a nest. Then she will dig the nest using her hind legs. Thereafter, she will deposit her eggs into the nest, after which she will cover them to protect them. Then she will leave them alone.

Turtle eggs come in batches known as ‘clutches’. A clutch may have as few as 2 eggs and as many as 200 eggs, depending on the type of turtle.

In one breeding season, a turtle may have between 1 and 8 nests. Each of those has 2 to 200 eggs. Of course, due to a variety of factors, only a few of those eggs actually hatch into young turtles.

The eggs that a female turtle lays can either be fertile or infertile. If she has had a chance to mate, the eggs will be fertile, and therefore capable of hatching.

On the other hand, if she has not had a chance to mate, the eggs will be infertile, and therefore incapable of hatching.

So turtles don’t give birth the way we humans/mammals do. Instead, they lay eggs. It is from the eggs that young turtles hatch.

 

Do All Turtles Lay Eggs?

All types of turtles lay eggs. Turtles are only able to reproduce by laying eggs. But for any given type of turtle, it is only the females that lay eggs. The males don’t lay eggs.

The role of male turtles in reproduction is that of fertilizing the eggs. This they do by mounting the females and inseminating them. The fertilization takes place internally. So by the time the eggs are laid, they are already fertilized.

Turtles are not like, say, frogs: in which fertilization occurs after the eggs are laid. In turtles, fertilization precedes egg laying.

There is no known type of turtle that reproduces by giving birth to live young ones. They all reproduce by laying eggs. This is why we say that all turtles lay eggs.

 

Do Male Or Female Turtles Lay Eggs?

In turtles, it is always the females that lay eggs. The males don’t lay eggs. But the males do inseminate the females, making it possible for them to lay fertile eggs that are capable of hatching.

So the categorical answer to the do male turtles lay eggs is ‘no’. You will never hear of male turtles laying eggs.

Conversely, the categorical answer to the do female turtles lay eggs question is ‘yes’. Female turtles are usually born with eggs inside their bodies. They proceed to lay those eggs at appropriate times, with or without mating.

When the eggs are laid after mating, they are fertile, and therefore capable of hatching. But when the eggs are laid without mating, they are infertile, and therefore incapable of hatching.

Still, it is worth mentioning that female turtles have the ability to store sperm – which can remain viable for up to 3 years. 

So even when a female turtle doesn’t mate in a certain breeding season, she may still lay fertile eggs. This would be on the strength of the sperm she has stored from previous mating sessions.

The can male turtles lay eggs question is typically posed by people who mistake their female turtles for males. This is because telling the gender of turtles is not always easy.

So a turtle that has always been regarded as a male suddenly starts laying eggs! This leads to the do male turtles lay eggs question. But the truth is usually that the seemingly ‘male’ turtles laying eggs are actually females that have been previously mistaken for males.

All in all, in turtles, it is the females that lay eggs.

 

How Do Turtles Lay Eggs?

The egg laying process in turtles can be visualized as having three key phases.

In the first phase, the turtle that is about to lay eggs digs a nest. This nest is usually in moist, loose soil. But the turtle may also dig it in a muddy spot…

In the second phase, the turtle drops eggs into the nest. The eggs come out through the turtle’s cloaca, which is somewhere beneath its tail.

In the third phase, the turtle covers the eggs in the nest. This she does using her legs.

At this point, someone may ask, do mother turtles leave their eggs? Or do they hang around to take care of them? To put it differently, do turtles lay eggs and leave?

The answer is that mother turtles leave their eggs after laying them. They go back to their normal lives. It is upon the hatchlings to find their own way in the world, once they eventually hatch.

A question may then come up: what do turtle eggs look like? For instance, what do land turtle eggs look like? And the answer is that they are always white, and either round or elongated oval in shape. And they have a soft, leathery feel.

Yet another interesting question: how deep do turtles bury their eggs? The answer is that they bury them deep enough to fully conceal them, yet shallow enough for the hatchling to come out with ease.

The depth of the nest hole depends on the length of the turtle’s legs (which do the digging). She only digs as far as her legs will reach.

 

How Do Snapping Turtles Lay Eggs?

Snapping turtles live in freshwater bodies. They, however, don’t lay their eggs in the water. Like other types of turtles, when it comes to laying eggs, they do it on dry land.

So if you have been having the do snapping turtles lay eggs on land question, now you know the answer. The answer is ‘yes’, snapping turtles always lay eggs on land.

Snapping turtles are unique in that they only lay one clutch of eggs per year. The clutch may have between 20 and 40 eggs.

The process starts with the egg-bound snapping turtle looking for an appropriate nesting spot. Then she digs a nest there. Afterwards, she drops her eggs – over several hours – into the nest. Finally, she covers the nest, and goes her way.

At this point, someone may ask, do snapping turtles lay eggs in the same place every year? And the answer is ‘yes’. 

Snapping turtles tend to take a lot of trouble in looking for an appropriate nesting spot. But once they find it, they keep on coming there – year after year – to lay their eggs there.

By the way, snapping turtles are examples of pond turtles. So this is essentially how the answer to the question on how do pond turtles lay eggs would look like.

 

How Do Box Turtles Lay Eggs?

Box turtles lay their eggs in holes (nests) which they dig using their hind legs and tails.

So the box turtle egg laying process starts with identification of a nesting spot. This has to be a spot with soil that is well drained and loose.

After identifying the nesting spot, and digging the nest, the box turtle releases eggs into the nest. Then she covers them, and leaves. That is as far as her parenting goes!

Someone may ask, where do box turtles lay their eggs? And the answer, to reiterate, would be that the box turtles lay their eggs in nests, which they dig in loose, moist and well-drained soil. This also has to be in a place with access to direct sunlight, without obstructions.

Someone else may ask, when do box turtles lay eggs? Box turtles lay their eggs during spring. This is typically between May and July in most parts of the US.

Yet another question may come up: how many eggs do box turtles lay? Or more specifically, how many eggs does a box turtle usually lay?

And the answer is that box turtles are among those that lay the lowest numbers of eggs. Normally, in one nesting season, a box turtle will only have one clutch of eggs. And the clutch has only 2 to 8 eggs.

There may also be those who want to know: do box turtles lay eggs without mating? And the answer is ‘yes’, a female box turtle can lay eggs without mating. But such eggs would be infertile, and hence incapable of hatching.

So in a box turtle laying eggs has to be preceded by mating, if it is to result in fertile eggs that are actually capable of hatching.

 

How Do Painted Turtles Lay Eggs?

In painted turtles, just like all other types of turtles, the eggs come out through the cloacae.

The female painted turtle first digs a nest. Then it deposits the eggs (usually 4-10 per clutch) there. After that it covers the nest, and leaves the eggs alone.

Eventually, some of the eggs hatch: typically after around 72 days – giving rise to young painted turtles.

 

How Do Red Eared Slider Turtles Lay Eggs?

For a red eared slider turtle laying eggs is an intricate process. In fact, for a female red eared slider laying eggs is one of the most difficult tasks it has to perform.

It starts with nest building. This is essentially a digging process. Only the female digs the nest. This she does using her hind legs.

Thereafter, the female red eared slider turtle releases eggs, through her cloaca, into the nest.

Finally, the red eared slider turtle covers the nest. After the 60-90 days incubation period, the eggs hatch, giving rise to young red ear slider turtles.

One may ask, where do red eared sliders lay eggs? The answer is that they lay their eggs on dry land, but close to a water body. So this is typically within 100-200 meters from water.

The nest is usually in sandy, moist, well drained and well aerated soil in direct sunlight.

Another related question: how many eggs do red eared sliders lay? Or to put it in more formal language, how many eggs do red eared slider turtles lay? The answer is that they can lay up to 5 clutches of eggs. And each clutch typically has 2 to 30 eggs.

Someone may also want to know: when do red eared sliders lay eggs? Or, in other words, what time of year do red eared sliders lay eggs? And the answer is that they lay their eggs during the warmer months – typically between March and July.

 

How Do Sea Turtles Lay Eggs?

Sea turtles lay eggs on land – usually on the beaches. This is in spite of the fact that they live in the sea. So whereas they live in the sea, they don’t lay their eggs there.

What sea turtles normally do is come out at night, during high tide, and establish a nest at the high tide mark. They (female sea turtles) establish the nest by digging, which they do using their hind legs.

After digging the nests, they drop their eggs into those nests. The eggs come out through the turtles’ cloacae. Then the turtles cover the nests, and leave them to hatch by themselves.

One may ask, how many eggs do sea turtles lay? Or to put it differently, how many eggs do sea turtles lay at one time?

The answer is that sea turtles typically lay more eggs than land/freshwater turtles. The actual number varies from one species of sea turtle to another.

For instance, in the Flatback sea turtle, we see an average of 50 eggs per clutch. But for Hawksbill turtles, the figure is as high as 200 per clutch!

So that is how many sea turtle eggs can lay.

All in all, answering the how many eggs do sea turtles lay at once question is difficult, because there are many different species. And different species lay different numbers of eggs at once.

Another related question: how long does it take sea turtles to lay eggs? The answer is that egg laying in sea turtles can take as little as one hour. It can also take as much as 3 hours. That is from digging the nest to dropping the eggs and covering the nest.

 

How Many Eggs Do Turtles Lay?

The number of eggs that turtles lay varies greatly.

There are some that lay as many as 200 eggs per clutch. And there are some that lay as few as 2 per clutch.

Generally, sea turtles tend to lay more eggs than land/freshwater turtles. This is because the freshwater turtle eggs have better odds for success.

Therefore, for instance, for a red ear turtle laying eggs is not as precarious as it is for a sea-based loggerhead turtle.

Another example: if you compare the answers to questions like how many eggs do eastern box turtles lay and the one on how many eggs do loggerhead turtles lay, you find a very vast difference.

The latter lays in hundreds, while the latter is in the 2-10 eggs range.

You see the same difference if you compare how many eggs does a pond turtle lay with how many eggs does a sea turtle lay…

All this leads to a question on how many babies do turtles have? And the answer is that they lay between 2 and 200 eggs per clutch, to begin with. So this is the first thing you need to understand, while trying to figure out how much babies do turtles have?

However, only a few hatch and survive – meaning that the turtle typically ends up with between 1 and 10 babies per nesting season in most cases.

So that is the answer to the question on how many babies do turtles have at once.

 

When Do Turtles Lay Eggs?

Most turtles lay eggs during the warmer months. The breeding season starts with mating: which normally takes place right after hibernation, in spring. Thereafter, the turtles lay their eggs 3-6 weeks later.

So in most cases, the egg laying is in spring, latest early summer. This answers the question on what season do turtles lay eggs.

And this mostly translates into the months of March to October in the US.

For instance, when do turtles lay eggs in Hawaii? The answer is mostly between May and October. And when do turtles lay eggs in Wisconsin? The answer is still between March and October.

Even if you go further and ask, when do turtles lay eggs in Florida, the answer will still be the same…

So generally, the egg laying is mostly in the warmer months.

Only the leatherback turtles are known to lay their eggs in winter.

But there are places where the nesting season can be shorter. For instance, if you try to find out when do turtles lay eggs in Ontario, you will find that the answer is mostly between March and July.

That is also roughly what you find with regard to when do turtles lay eggs in Michigan?

This applies for both land and sea turtles. For instance, if you ask when do land turtles lay eggs, the answer is from spring to early summer. And that is also the answer you get regarding sea turtles.

But this is only for real life turtles. If you venture to ask, when do turtles lay eggs Minecraft context, the answer will obviously be different. In that case, you have to start by exploring, do turtles lay eggs in minecraft in the first place. Only then can you proceed to find out ‘when’.

Do turtles lay eggs
Do turtles lay eggs?

 

Do Turtles Lay Eggs On Full Moon?

Related to the when do turtles lay eggs question is this one – on whether they lay eggs on full moon.

The answer is that turtles lay their eggs during all moon phases, not just on full moon. But during the full moon, the tide is highest. This is important for sea turtles, as it helps them know where the highest tide mark is. That is where they proceed to build their nest.

The turtles want to avoid laying their eggs where they may be washed away.

So the full moon does have some influence on egg laying in sea turtles.

This discussion on full moon brings about another important question: what time do turtles lay their eggs? More specifically, what time of day do turtles lay eggs?

And the answer is that most turtles seem to prefer laying their eggs at night. This is how the moon comes to be of influence.

So the question on when do turtles lay eggs has two components. The first component is on what time do turtles lay eggs (as in, the time of day)? And the other is on what time of year do turtles lay eggs? We have dealt with both aspects above.

 

Where Do Turtles Lay Their Eggs?

The simple answer (to the question on where do turtles lay eggs) is that they lay their eggs on land. They lay the eggs in nests, which they usually dug in moist and loose soil using their hind legs.

One may ask, can turtles lay eggs in water? Or, to put it differently, do turtles lay eggs in water? And the answer would be ‘no’. This is because if the eggs are laid in water, the embryos inside wouldn’t be able to breathe.

So for both sea and freshwater turtle eggs are laid on land.

Only the long-necked turtle is known to lay its eggs on water.

A question may arise, on why do turtles lay eggs on land? And the answer would be in that they lay their eggs on land because the eggs’ chances of survival are higher there.

Someone may also want to know: where do turtles make their nest? And the answer is that they usually make their nests on loose, moist soil.

That is typically near water bodies: as the hatchlings are expected to find their way to the water bodies soon after hatching.

In search of clarification, one may still ask, where do water turtles lay their eggs? Or more specifically, where do freshwater turtles lay their eggs? And the answer, in all cases, is that they lay their eggs on moist, loose soil close to water bodies.

Someone may still want a yes or no answer to this question: do turtles lay eggs in water? And the answer is a categorical ‘no’. Even sea turtles come out of the sea for egg laying purposes.

So turtles, with the single exception of the long-necked turtle, don’t lay eggs in water.

 

Do Turtles Lay Eggs In The Same Place Every Year?

This is another interesting question, related to the one on where turtles lay their eggs.

Turtles go to great lengths, to find ideal nesting spots. But once they identify such spots, they tend to lay their eggs there every nesting season.

Note that the focus is on ‘every nesting season’, and not ‘every year’: because most turtles don’t nest every year. Instead, most nest every 2-4 years. But that is typically at the same spot.

Research suggests that they are able to find the spot using magnetic fields.

All in all, does turtles lay eggs in the same spot every year? The answer is mostly yes.

One may then ask: do turtles lay eggs where they were born? And the answer – especially for sea turtles – seems to be yes.

The turtles are able, through magnetic fields, to know where they were born. And that is around where they also tend to lay eggs.

Still, there may be interest in knowing, do all turtles lay eggs on land? And there is a categorical ‘yes’ answer – with the single exception of the long-necked turtle.

 

Do Turtles Lay Eggs Without Mating?

Turtles do lay eggs without mating. But such eggs are infertile, and incapable of hatching.

One may then ask, my turtle laid eggs without a mate, what should I do with them? And the answer is that you should throw or otherwise get rid of those eggs.

They are also eaten sometimes, though they do leave a musky after-taste.

But take note that her laying of eggs is a positive thing. Without it, there would be a risk of the eggs being stuck or impacted insider her, causing a great deal of harm. So if I have my pet turtle laying eggs, even without a mate, I would regard it as a positive thing.

 

How Long Does It Take A Turtle To Lay Eggs?

Sometimes, it takes as little as one hour. But it can also take as long as five hours. That is from when the turtle starts digging the nest to when it releases the eggs and onto when it covers the nest.

But some of the people who pose that question (on how long does it take turtles to lay eggs) want to know something else. They want to know how long, after mating, the turtles lay eggs. And that is usually 3-6 weeks after mating.

 

How Often Do Turtles Lay Eggs?

Most turtles go into nesting once every 2-4 years. But there are also those that go into nesting every year.

Within a nesting season, there are turtles that will only have one clutch. But there are also those that may have as many as 5 (or even more) clutches, with spacing of 12-36 days in between.

It is possible to calculate the answer to the how many eggs do turtles lay a year by multiplying the number of eggs per clutch with the number of nests the turtle makes in the year.

How many eggs can a turtle lay at once depends on the clutch size. So, in other words, that is the determinant of how many eggs do turtles lay at one time?

In most cases, if you ask, how many eggs do freshwater turtles lay, you find that the number is generally lower than for sea turtles. So that is, for instance, with regard to how many eggs do pond turtles lay? (Pond turtles are freshwater turtles).

Apparently, freshwater turtle eggs have better odds for survival than sea turtle eggs. That is why freshwater turtles can get away with laying eggs less often (and with fewer eggs per clutch).

 

How Long After Turtles Lay Eggs Do They Hatch?

In most cases, you tend to find that the turtle eggs hatch 2-3 months after laying.

 

My Turtle Is Laying Eggs – What To Do?

If your turtle is gravid, you first need to ensure that you provide her with a nesting box.

Secondly, ensure that she gets adequate calcium. This is because the egg laying can deplete her calcium levels.

Thirdly, you may place her in a tub of warm water (like 18 degrees Celsius), for like 30 minutes, then get her back into the nesting box. This often helps her in releasing the eggs.

 

Final Verdict – Do Turtles Lay Eggs

All types of turtles lay eggs. It is through the ages that they are able to propagate their species.

If a turtle mates, and proceeds to lay eggs, they are likely to be fertile – and therefore capable of hatching.

But if a turtle lays eggs without mating, they are likely to be infertile – and therefore incapable of hatching.

Do turtles lay eggs
Do turtles lay eggs?

If you think that your pet turtle is gravid and ready for reproduction, you need to ensure that you provide her with a nesting box.

Do everything you can to facilitate the egg laying. Otherwise you may end up with a turtle that has impacted or stuck eggs, which can be a bad situation to find yourself in.

As a pet lover, make sure to learn about pet more and give your pet turtle a good and comfortable life!

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