Turtle egg report for Summer 2013

3 Dec

This past Spring, on May 1 to be exact, I reported that the momma Red-eared Slider (also known as  Banana) was outdoors digging a nest. When the sun went down that night it quickly became VERY cold, under 30 degrees F.  So I put the mother into a dry tub for the evening, where I hoped she would rest until the next day. But instead of resting, she laid her eggs in the tub. Then the eggs got jostled and stepped on. I still hoped they might survive. I put them in my homemade incubator but none developed. All of the eggs, 5 of them as I recall, quickly shriveled and/or fungussed.

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Two months later, in July, the momma was out wandering again and this time I saw her on three consecutive days. That can mean only one thing. She was looking to nest, but I never saw her digging. I searched hard for the nest, hoping to rescue the eggs, as my past experience of leaving eggs underground did not go well. Last year, a nest left to develop naturally was destroyed by several types of worms and grubs. So it’s possible there was a nest of turtles but with the drought conditions here I doubt the eggs ever developed or that the babies could even dig out. And if they dug out what would happen? Would they crawl to the pond only to be eaten by their parents?

During the entire month of August we had one measurable rain and it was only a few tenths of an inch.

Rain was so rare that I ran out and took a picture of the pond.

Rain was so rare that I ran out and took a picture of the pond.

One day in September I came home from work and Banana the Turtle was on land, hiding in the shade under some plants. The ground was very hard. I turned on a sprinkle of water, raining down gently over her, but within a minute or so she scampered (yes, turtles can scamper) back into the pond.

And that’s it for 2013. No eggs to be found.

I decided to construct a sand nesting area that the turtles can use next year.

I dug a hole...

I dug a hole…

...and filled it with exactly 100 pounds, or 45 kilos, of sand.

…and filled it with exactly 100 pounds, or 45 kilos, of sand.

A turtle beach!

She’s indoors now for the Winter, and I have a 55 gallon aquarium ready for her of she acts like she needs to lay eggs. I have about 6 inches of mulch in the bottom of the aquarium. I think I’ll just take her out of her water habitat every week or two and put her in the dry aquarium.

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Sometimes a pregnant turtle will lay their eggs in the water, where the eggs quickly die. Or the mother turtle may hold the eggs in and become egg-bound. That is not a good thing. An adult aquatic female turtle  needs a place to lay eggs. If you see a major behavioral change in your water turtle, and you suspect her to be pregnant, put her on dry land for a few days.

The behavior change you notice may be that she gets extremely active, trying to escape the tank she is in, or just the opposite, sitting on the bottom of the tank , fat and miserable, like Americans on Thanksgiving.

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4 Responses to “Turtle egg report for Summer 2013”

  1. Jenny R December 4, 2013 at 1:31 am #

    That is a super nice setup with the sand. I can tell you really care about your turtles. I like the last image of how the turtle is sitting just wondering what is happening next in it’s life hehe. You say the good photos were taken by a talented young lady and the bad ones by you haha. (on your sidebar) My first instinct is to think of that woman being your wife maybe..

    • fishtanx2011 December 4, 2013 at 7:52 am #

      Thanks so much! When I started the blog my son’s fiance’ came over and took some great photos and I used those early on. After that I used a Canon digital camera, and then, maybe 6 months ago, finally got an Android and now that’s all I use. I’m sure we’ll soon have little phones that stop action perfectly and the days of blurry fish pictures will be over.

  2. becomingcliche December 4, 2013 at 12:49 pm #

    I hope your nesting pit works well for you next year. The eggs in the tub should have been fine. I have learned that turtle and tortoise eggs are completely undeveloped when they are laid, so jostling them doesn’t make a lot of difference. I have some pics on my blog of snapping turtles whose eggs were harvested from a road-kill female. Eight or nine of them hatched. Could be this year Banana’s eggs were infertile?

    • fishtanx2011 December 4, 2013 at 1:28 pm #

      Maybe they weren’t fertile, and that might not be a bad thing!

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