How Long Does It Take For Snapping Turtle Eggs To Hatch?

How Long Does It Take For Snapping Turtle Eggs To Hatch

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Are you thinking about breeding your pet snapping turtles? If yes, then you better be prepared for the upcoming challenges. From arranging the perfect enclosure for breeding couples to hatching the snapping turtle eggs, you must know the ins and outs of everything.

This article will cover the hatching part of the snapping turtle eggs. Beginners often wonder how long does it take for snapping turtle eggs to hatch?

According to most sources, the snapping turtle hatchlings will hatch out from eggs within 55 to 90 days. In a few cases, the snapping turtle eggs may hatch with an extended period of 125 days.

Check out the full article to get all the details on snapping turtle egg care.

How Long Does It Take For Snapping Turtle Eggs To Hatch?

Generally, it takes not more than 55 to 90 days for the snapping turtle eggs to hatch. However, sometimes the hatchlings may take more than 90 months to come to the world.

The time frame of incubation depends on factors like incubator temperature, humidity, and the condition of the embryo to some extent. So, there is no way you can predict the exact date for the eggs to hatch.

If you are in charge of incubating snapping turtle’s eggs, keep a close eye on the clutch. After a month and a half, the babies will come crawling out of the nest any day.

Usually, each clutch contains 20 to 40 eggs, and there is a record of depositing 100 eggs in a single nest. Those eggs are about the size of a ping-pong ball and creamy in color. You can expect all the eggs to hatch within a day or two after the first hatchling makes it to the world.

Snapping Turtle Egg Incubation And Care

The gravid snapping turtles continue living in water after carrying the eggs. But when the nesting season approaches, the mothers walk on to look for a suitable place to drop the eggs.

Depositing eggs in the water is not a good idea. It is because oxygen can not pass through the eggshells underwater, and the development of the embryos gets hampered. There is no doubt why the snapping turtles roam from land to land, searching for the perfect place.

How to build an appropriate nesting area for a snapping turtle? I will discuss that later on in this article. First, let’s talk about egg care and the incubation requirements.

Female snapping turtles dig a hole and lay the eggs there. When the mothers are done depositing eggs, they cover the hole with dirt and leave the place forever.

In a wild habitat, the eggs will hatch on their own as nature provides a viable environment. But in a captive enclosure, leaving the eggs at the mercy of nature is the worst decision made by any owner. So, the first thing any breeder should do is to collect the eggs from the nest.

You can dig out the eggs either within a few hours or a few days after the deposition.

Snapping turtles bury the eggs deep inside the hole to hide them from predators. Hence you have to be careful while digging out the eggs. Any wrong move can ruin the whole clutch.

Use a paintbrush to move the loose soil and reach the eggs. Then use a spoon to scoop the eggs out of the nest carefully. The eggs will be covered in dirt and mud, and use the same brush to clean them up.

Experts suggest that rolling the snapping turtle eggs can mess up embryo development. The best way to avoid movement is to mark the top of each egg with a pencil or marker.

Now, your eggs are ready to get settled into the incubator. However, to minimize the movements, you can keep the incubator prepared beforehand.

Now the question arises of how to prepare an incubator at home. You can always buy a commercial snapping turtle incubator or build one by yourself. If you do not find a turtle egg incubator at the store, any reptile or chicken egg incubator will also work.

Consider yourself lucky as I am giving a brief discussion on building a snapping turtle egg incubator in this article. But first, let’s see how to use a commercial incubator,

  1. Before placing the eggs inside the incubator, you have to run the device for at least one to two days. Set the temperature and humidity, and test whether the incubator is in good condition or not.
  2. Set the temperature between 68 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. It is the suitable temperature range for the snapping turtle eggs to hatch.
  3. Carry the eggs from the nest to the incubator in a small box filled with soil. It will minimize the risk of bumping.
  4. Place the eggs in the incubator and ensure that the markings are facing the ceiling. Fill the incubator with sand or peat moss to secure the eggs. Many owners prefer wrapping the eggs with tissue papers or using small egg cups.
  5. A high humid environment is required for the snapping turtle eggs to hatch. To meet such conditions, you have to keep the water reservoir of the incubator full all the time. Water droplets forming on the device wall indicate excess water. Open the vents to let the vapors out of the incubator.
  6. You need to keep the eggs in the same position and maintain a similar incubator environment for the next 55 to 90 days or until the babies come out of the eggshell. Once the hatchlings are out, take them to their new home.

Homemade Incubator For Snapping Turtle Eggs

Is it possible to hatch snapping turtle eggs without an incubator in captivity? Of course not. But yes, you can hatch the eggs without a professional incubator.

Here is how you can build a homemade incubator for snapping turtle eggs:

  1. Take a 5 gallon of a sturdy plastic container and fill it with 7 to 8 inches of substrate. Sand, moistened vermiculite, sphagnum moss, and peat moss are suitable incubation media for snapping turtle eggs. I have seen owners who avoid sand because they are the worst media of oxygen circulation.
  2. I have already mentioned that snapping turtle eggs requires a high humid environment to hatch. It also includes a damp substrate. Pour lukewarm water into whatever substrate you are using in such a manner that it does not overflow.
  3. For monitoring the temperature, place a thermometer 1 inch inside the media.
  4. Next, take a 10-gallon aquarium and place the 5-gallon container inside it.
  5. First, install a tank heater and then fill the aquarium with water. Make sure the water level does not cross the sand lining of the 5-gallon container.
  6. Set up another thermometer in the 10-gallon tank and switch on the heater.
  7. Collect a Plexiglas large enough to cover both containers. Drill 6 to 8 holes, each of around ¼ inches, and place it on the tank.
  8. The heater will keep warming up the water, and both the humidity and temperature of the incubator will be on track. 68 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit is the perfect temperature range for the snapping turtle incubation. Before placing the eggs inside the incubator media, test run the setup for at least 1 to 2 days.
  9. Burry the eggs into the substrate and make sure that the top marks are facing upwards and exposed.
  10. Monitor the eggs every day. Consult an expert before incubating and anytime you face a problem. Fill up the form at the bottom right to get an emergency vet list for your turtle.
turtle eggs

Incubation Temperature And Sex Determination

Do you know you can control the gender of the unborn snapping turtle hatchlings? I am not joking.

Scientists have proven that in maximum cases, incubation temperature decides the sex of the hatchling. It is because, at a stage of embryo development, the heat plays a game-changer.

Generally, lower temperatures of around 68 degrees Fahrenheit yield female snapping turtle hatchlings. High temperatures of 73 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit produce males. If you maintain the in-between temperature, the chances of male-female hatchlings are 50/50.

Snapping Turtle Nesting Care

Snapping turtle egg care is incomplete if you do not focus on the nesting of the pet. See, when a gravid turtle is in its native environment, it figures out everything with its intuition. But in captivity, the scene is different.

Generally, the enclosure for a snapping turtle includes ¾ water area and ¼ land area or dock. Habitat like this will not work for the gravid turtle. She will require an enclosure with a land portion where she can deposit her eggs. A commercial or homemade nest box stands on the necessities.

With a 25 gallon plastic container and around 30 to 40 kgs of premium topsoil, you can prepare a nesting site for the snapping turtle by yourself. Attach the additional box with the existing tank or build an entirely new setup for your gravid pet turtle.

Remember, nesting sites are crucial for the mother snapping turtle. If she does not get any suitable spot, she will deposit her eggs in the water or even worse. She will not lay eggs at all, which may kill the pet.

Before the nesting hour, the gravid snapping turtle will spend more time finding a suitable place. Once the mother gets the spot, she digs a deep hole and lays her eggs.

So, that’s the scene for your captive snapping turtles. But how can you help the wild gravid turtles?

You will often notice turtles crossing the roads or in your backyard around early summer or late autumn. In most cases, those turtles are on their mission to find a suitable spot for nesting. Instead of messing with them, help them cross the road or leave them alone.

Follow this article to get tips on how to pick up a snapping turtle and help them cross the roads.

If you want to know about the breeding and hatchling care of snapping turtles, click here.

Snapping Turtle Laying Eggs In My Yard! What To Do?

Experts claim that a clutch of snapping turtle eggs has a 1% chance of surviving. Can you imagine the number? Predators are mainly responsible for the low survival percentage of snapping turtle eggs.

Raccoon population is growing day by day, and feasting on a turtle nest is their favorite sport. Even though mother snapping turtles bury eggs 6 to 8 inches deep in a bottle-shaped hole, the predators always find the right spot.

What would you do if you noticed a snapping turtle nest in your backyard? Or stumble upon a clutch of eggs disturbed by the predators?

The best thing to do is to leave the nest alone. In the wild, eggs hatch all by themselves without any external help, and it is healthy. Again, in many states, relocating or damaging snapping turtle eggs is considered a punishable crime.

If you notice a disturbed or exposed snapping turtle clutch, carefully bury them with soil. If that is not possible, talk to any animal rescue authority.

You can build a fence around the nest to protect the eggs from predators. When the babies come out, release them near any water source. Well, fencing is only possible if the clutch is in your backyard or close to your home. You can not practice such an act in the wild.


It generally takes 55 to 90 days for the snapping turtle eggs to hatch. In some cases, the hatchlings come out on the 125th day. Of course, you can not predict the incubation period of the eggs, but you can ensure good care for them. Build a solid incubator and maintain the suitable temperature and humidity.

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About Author

Muntaseer Rahman started keeping pet turtles back in 2013. He also owns the largest Turtle & Tortoise Facebook community in Bangladesh. These days he is mostly active on Facebook.


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