When Do Box Turtles Lay Eggs?
Box turtles are native to the United States, typically laying eggs in the late spring and early summer months. These turtles lay their eggs in shallow pockets that they construct; they dig the shallow pockets during mating season and the mother will lay eggs ranging in the range of 3-9 inside them.
Each type of turtle will have a specific egg-laying cycle, but a box turtles’ is typically after mating. It’s believed that mating can happen as early as April. The eggs are typically laid on land, often in hidden areas like under logs, stumps or in dead vegetation during early summer.
Why Do They Lay Eggs on Land?
Box turtles are terrestrial. They typically do not live in water like some other turtles, so they lay their eggs on land in order to provide the best protective environment for their eggs. The mother will choose a safe, secure area for her eggs that’s close to an area rich in plant matter and moisture; this will aid the development of her eggs. Once the eggs are laid, the mother box turtle will abandon her nest and her eggs to fend for themselves and will not have any involvement in the development process.
How Long Does It Take for the Eggs to Hatch?
Once the eggs are laid and abandoned, it can take anywhere from 2-3 months for them to hatch. The eggs will typically hatch in the late summer months, and the baby box turtles will be around 2 inches in length.
Tips for Caring for Your Turtle Eggs
If you come across a female box turtle who is laying eggs there are a few tips will help ensure a successful hatching:
- Keep the eggs moist by misting them once every two days – This helps keep the eggs from drying out and will encourage a successful hatching.
- Do not move the eggs – Once these eggs are laid and abandoned, keep them in their current spot. Trying to move the eggs can lead to the eggs either cracking, or the unborn turtles expiring.
- Keep predators away – There are plenty of animals who are willing to eat vulnerable turtle eggs, and predators like raccoons, foxes, and skunks can ruin a successful hatching.
Overall, box turtles will typically lay eggs in the late spring and early summer months, and the turtles themselves typically abandon their eggs soon after they are laid. It’s important to remember to never move an egg once it’s been abandoned and to ensure the eggs remain moist to ensure a successful hatching process.