Ask a Vet

Do Turtles Lay Eggs?

Photo of author
Updated on

The question of whether turtles lay eggs is a common one. It’s also a very interesting and complex subject. In this article, I will try to answer the most frequently asked questions about turtle eggs.

Turtle laying eggs

Turtles are fascinating creatures. They live in water, they eat fish, and they even breathe air. But did you know that they also lay eggs?

Do Turtles Lay Eggs?

The scientific name for a turtle is Testudo, which means “tortoise” in Latin. These reptiles are found throughout the world, from the tropics to the Arctic Circle.

There are over 300 species of turtles, and each has its own unique characteristics.

Turtles are slow-moving animals, but they are surprisingly agile. They can move their heads 360 degrees, and they can even turn their bodies completely around.

Their shells provide protection against predators, and they can survive in almost any environment.

Turtles have been around for more than 100 million years. The oldest known fossils of turtles date back to the Permian period, about 290 million years ago.

Today, there are two main groups of turtles: marine turtles and land turtles. Marine turtles spend most of their time in the ocean, while land turtles live on land.

It is known that turtles of all kinds lay eggs. However, there is much to know about the process, including how it is done, where these eggs are laid, when, and how many.

When Do Turtles Reproduce?

When it comes to when a turtle reproduces, this can vary depending on the individual turtle. Some turtles reproduce every year, while others only do so once or twice a decade.

Some turtles will lay eggs during springtime, while others wait until summer. For example, sea turtles usually give birth between May and July, and freshwater turtles may lay their eggs in June or July.

Some turtles will not breed at all unless they are stimulated by some sort of stimulus. This could be something as simple as being moved into an area with a lot of sunlight.

Because of this, you can find turtles reproducing at the start of their life, waiting as long as 50 years into their lifetime.

Where Are Turtle Eggs Laid?

There are different places that turtles use to lay their eggs. Some turtles lay them on the ground, while others hide them under rocks or logs.

Land turtles often use holes in the sand or soil and this is the same with the marine turtle.

Although sea turtles spend most of their time in the water, they will come to land to lay their eggs. Eggs will not survive if in the ocean for a long period of time.

One thing to keep in mind is that if a turtle does not want to lay her eggs, she will make sure that no one finds them.

If she feels threatened, she may try to push away anyone who gets too close. In addition, if she senses danger, she will retreat to a safe place.

If a female turtle wants to lay her eggs, then she must first find a suitable location. She will choose somewhere that is protected from predators yet still has enough food available.

Once she chooses a spot, she will dig a hole in the ground and cover up the entrance. She will also add extra soil to help protect the eggs from predators.

After laying her eggs, the mother turtle will leave the site and return home. She will then bury the nest again.

It is important for her to remember where she put the eggs because she needs to return to the exact spot later on.

What Happens To Turtle Eggs After They Are Laid?

Hatching turtle eggs

Once a female turtle lays her eggs, she will stay nearby to watch over them. However, she will not always be able to see what happens next.

Sometimes, she will have to go away for days or weeks before returning to check on her babies.

Once the eggs hatch, they will need to get out of the way of any predators. As soon as they hatch, the baby turtles will crawl toward the surface. They will then head straight to the ocean.

The mother turtle will follow behind her children and provide protection.

The mother turtle will continue to care for her offspring until they reach maturity. At this point, the young turtles will begin to look for a mate. They will search for a partner that will take good care of them.

How Many Eggs Do Turtles Lay?

It depends on which species of turtle you are talking about. Most turtles lay around 100 to 200 eggs per clutch. Sea turtles typically lay more than 100 eggs per clutch, while freshwater turtles will only lay 20 to 40 eggs per clutch.

How Do Turtles Mate?

Turtles do not usually mate during the day. Instead, they prefer to mate when it is dark outside. During mating season, male turtles will call out to females.

This is done so that he can attract her attention. He will then swim near her, and when she has made it clear that she is ready to mate, the male will mount himself on top of her.

Turtles are known for having long claws – the male turtle will use these to hold onto the female while they mate. However, this only makes the mating session very difficult for the female.

The female turtle has to swim, supporting the weight of the shell as well as the weight of another turtle on top of her. As well as this, she also needs to swim up for air in between.

With the male on top of the female, he will release semen into the cloaca. When he is done, he will continue on to find another to mate with.

For this female turtle, however, she will still need to be continuously mated with until she has enough sperm to fertilize her clutches.

What Season Do Turtles Lay Eggs?

Most turtles lay their eggs during springtime. In some cases, they may lay their eggs throughout the year.

Some turtles, such as land turtles which are kept as pets, may even lay their eggs all year round. This is because they have no set climate to be used to.

When the weather begins to warm up, the female turtle will start to feel the urge to lay eggs. She will then dig a hole in the ground and place her eggs inside.

If there is no hole available, she will make one herself. Once she has laid her eggs, she will cover them with dirt and leaves.

As the seasons change, the temperature will rise. This means that the eggs will need to be buried deeper. It is at this time that the female turtle will leave her nest.

She will return after several months to check on her eggs. If they have hatched, she will remove the shells from the babies and then bury them again.

How Long Does It Take For A Turtle Egg To Hatch?

This varies depending on what kind of turtle you are talking to. Freshwater turtles tend to hatch faster than sea turtles. This is because freshwater turtles don’t have to go through the same process as sea turtles.

Freshwater Turtles

Once the egg hatches, the baby turtle will crawl out of its shell. After this happens, it will stay in the nest for a few days before it starts to explore the world.

By this stage, the baby turtle should already be able to breathe underwater.

Sea Turtles

Once the egg hatches, it will remain in the nest for approximately two weeks.

At this point, the baby turtle will begin to emerge from the shell. It will take anywhere from 3-6 months for the baby turtle to grow big enough to leave the nest.

Where Will You Find Turtles?

Adult and baby turtle on a rock

Although most turtles like to live in freshwater environments, they can survive just about anywhere. They may choose to live in the ocean or in rivers, lakes, swamps, marshes, ponds, streams, ditches, and other wetlands.

They may also choose to live in manmade structures such as pools, aquariums, and tanks. There are many different kinds of habitats where turtles can live. These include:

  • Wetlands: These are areas that contain both fresh and saltwater. They usually consist of grasses, shrubs, trees, and plants.
  • Swamps: These are areas that are full of water but not necessarily connected to any body of water.
  • Ponds: These are small bodies of water that are surrounded by vegetation.
  • Rivers: Rivers are large bodies of water that flow toward the oceans.
  • Lakes: Lakes are large bodies of water surrounded by vegetation.
  • Marshes: Marshes are wetland areas that are located near water. They are often found next to rivers or lakes.
  • Streams: Streams are smaller bodies of water that connect to larger bodies of water.

Turtles can live in almost every type of habitat. However, they prefer to live in more natural settings.

Some people believe that living in these types of environments helps their health. Others think that it makes them too vulnerable to predators.

How Do Newborn Sea Turtles Safely Make It To Sea?

Once a Sea Turtle has hatched and made its way out of its nest, the next step is to make it to the water. This is a natural instinct for every Sea Turtle, and because of this they will wait until night to make their way to sea.

They wait until night as this means less risk of predators catching them.

When newborn sea turtles hatch, they are very weak. As a result, they cannot swim very far. In order to help them get to the ocean, they must find some way to transport themselves.

The first thing they do is try to climb up onto land. Once they reach dry land, they will continue to move along until they find something to lay their heads down on.

Then, they will rest there until they feel strong enough to make it back into the ocean.

What Are A Sea Turtle’s Predators?

On their journey to the ocean, there are a number of predators that they need to look out for. These predators risk ending these newborns before they even have a chance of life in their natural environment in the water.

Some common land predators of the sea turtle include:

  • Crocodiles: Crocodiles are large reptiles that can weigh over 1,000 pounds. They eat anything that moves. They are known to attack young sea turtles.
  • Birds: Birds (such as Hawks) are one of the worst predators when it comes to baby turtles. They are known to swoop down upon nests and eat eggs/pick up and attack turtles making their way to sea.
  • Foxes: Foxes are another predator that attacks baby turtles. They will dig under the sand and then come after the babies when they crawl out.
  • Dogs: Dogs are another animal that has been known to kill newborns. They are known to chase turtles and catch them. If caught, they will drag the baby turtles away from the nest.
  • Other Animals: Other animals that prey on baby turtles include raccoons, otters, mink, rats, snakes, and other mammals.

Final Thoughts

The purpose of this article was to answer the question, ‘do turtles lay eggs?’. However, there is so much more that has been discovered.

Not only have we learned that turtles do lay eggs but also learned more about what makes these creatures so great.

This article has explained the nature of a turtle’s reproduction, how it works when it happens, and highlights what it is like for the eggs once they have hatched.

This included explaining what happens to the baby turtles when they hatch, the dangers they face during their journeys, and how they end up in the ocean.

Overall, there is much to know about turtles. After reading through the guide above, it is hoped that we have instilled some new knowledge into you.

Photo of author
About the author


Kerry White is an avid dog lover and writer, knowing all there is to know about our furry friends. Kerry has been writing for PetDT for three years now, wanting to use her knowledge for good and share everything she can with new dog owners.Kerry has two dogs herself - a German shepherd called Banjo and a chocolate labrador called Buttons. Kerry knows more than anyone how adjusting to new life with a puppy can turn your life upside down, and she wants to ease some of the burdens through her articles.