How Long Does It Take For Turtles Eggs To Hatch?

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

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If you provide a suitable habitat and nest spot for your female turtles, you should find them laying eggs at their mature age. As a new turtle owner, seeing your turtle eggs is quite exciting, no doubt. You probably have incubated the eggs to hatch them. Now, you may ask how long does it take for turtle eggs to hatch?

It generally takes 45 to 90 days for turtle eggs to hatch. There are different species of turtles living in fresh water and seawater. Thus, the incubation time for different species of turtles can vary.

From this article, you will know when different species of turtle eggs hatch. Before that, let us know when you can expect your turtles to lay eggs and how many eggs they can give. 

When Do Turtles Lay Eggs? 

If you have sexually mature turtles, you can expect them to lay eggs during the warmest months of the year. Depending on the species, turtles lay eggs between May to July. These months have the ideal temperature for the turtle eggs to incubate. 

Both salt and fresh water turtles lay eggs on the land. The female turtles come up on the shire and search for a suitable spot for nesting. They need moist sand or soil to incubate the eggs. Many turtle species dig fake nests to confuse predators. 

Turtles can take one to three hours to lay their eggs. Then they cover the eggs and leave the nesting spot. 

How Many Eggs Do Turtles Lay?

Turtles can lay 2 to 110 eggs in a clutch! How many eggs a turtle give depends on many factors, such as its species, age, and size. As mentioned before, the nesting season for most turtle species is between May to July. During this time, turtles lay their eggs in more than one clutch at 15 to 30 days intervals. 

For example, sea turtles can lay 2 to 9 clutches per season containing up to 24 to 110 eggs. The red-eared sliders can give 2 to 30 eggs per clutch. So, they may produce even 150 eggs per season. 

Now, there are a few exceptions, like the box turtles. They produce only one clutch per year containing 8 to 9 eggs. 

Again, the number of eggs depends on the species and size of turtles. Here are some popular turtles and the number of eggs they produce per clutch: 

Species of TurtleNumber of Eggs Per Clutch
Mud turtles2 to 5 eggs
Box turtles4 to 9 eggs
Painted turtles4 to 10 eggs
Red-eared slider turtles2 to 30 eggs
Snapping turtles20 to 40 eggs
Flatback turtles50 to 60 eggs
Green sea turtles75 to 120 eggs
Leatherback turtles100 to 110 eggs

As you can see, large sea turtles lay about 100 eggs per clutch. They have a large plastron size that helps them to hold many eggs. On the other hand, small size turtles like the box turtles and the mud turtles do not have much space in their plastron. Hence, they lay only 2 to 9 eggs per clutch. 

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How Long Do Turtles Stay In Eggs?

The incubation period of turtles varies from species to species. Also, it is not easy to predict the hatching date for turtle eggs. However, turtle eggs take about 2 to 3 months to hatch. 

Now, why do turtle egg hatching times vary? And why do they take so long to hatch? 

Sea turtles and freshwater turtles live in different environments. Hence, the temperature, humidity, and depth of the nest affect the hatching time. Turtle eggs require a temperature range between 80 to 90 degrees F. to hatch. If the temperature is warmer, the eggs will hatch faster. 

Also, the size of the nest is important to consider. The more the number of eggs in a nest, the longer it takes the turtles to hatch. 

For example, sea turtles such as the Leatherback turtles lay about 100 eggs in a single clutch. This large number of eggs takes 70 to 90 days to hatch. On the other hand, box turtles lay only up to 9 eggs in one clutch. Hence, it can hatch in 55 to 90 days. 

What To Do When Your Turtles Lay Eggs?

When you find the nest of your turtle, you have two options. You can get rid of the eggs or incubate them to hatch. 

If you love your turtles, you may want to hatch the eggs to extend your turtles family. Once you hatch them, you can keep them or send them to turtle shelters. 

If you have decided to hatch your turtle eggs, you have two options. Again, you can let the eggs naturally hatch or incubate them artificially to hatch them. 

Natural Hatching of Turtle Eggs

When you know your turtle is pregnant, you must have arranged a suitable nesting area for it to lay eggs. It can be your yard or a nesting box. Whatever you do, it should be safe for the turtle.

If your turtle has laid eggs, it must have found a suitable nesting spot to hatch the eggs. Turtles are serious about finding the best nesting spot. They will dig wet sand or soil for the nest. Then lay the eggs and bury them under the sand for incubation.

So, you can trust your turtle’s judgment and let the eggs hatch naturally in the nest. However, there are many risks of hatching the turtle eggs outside. You have to be aware of:

  • The changing weather 
  • Fluctuation of temperature 
  • Risk of getting damaged by intruders 
  • Getting attacked by predators

Therefore, you must provide the necessary protections to let the turtle eggs hatch naturally outside. You can put around a fence to protect the nest. But you cannot control the weather. Hence, most of the eggs can go infertile. 

Artificial Incubation of Turtle Eggs

The best way to make sure most turtle eggs hatch is by incubating them artificially. This way, you can also control the gender of the baby turtles. You can either buy a commercial incubator or make a homemade incubator to hatch the eggs. 

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If you decide to transfer the eggs to an incubator, you have to be very careful when you move them. The embryo of the eggs may have already formed when you find the egg.

So, when you transfer the eggs to the incubator, you cannot change the orientation of the eggs. You can mark the top of the eggs to make sure the orientation does not change. 

An incubator gives you the option to choose a temperature for hatching the eggs. If you incubate the eggs below 80 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit, you will get male turtles. When the temperature is above 85 degrees, you can expect to get female turtles. When the temperature fluctuates between these temperatures, you will get a mix of male and female turtles. 

Do Turtles Sit on Their Eggs? 

Yes, turtles lay eggs, but they will not sit around protecting the eggs. As soon as turtles lay eggs and bury them in the sand, they leave the spot.

However, it does not mean they do not care about their eggs. They choose the best nesting spot for the eggs. In the wild, the turtles dig their nest in a well-hidden ground. The nest is deep enough to keep the eggs hidden. Also, the depth ensures the right temperature to hatch the eggs. 

Why Won’t Turtle Eggs Hatch? 

You might have incubated the eggs for 45 to 90 days but end up not getting the number of turtles you expected. There are many reasons your turtle eggs can get infertile

  • First, you must know that a sexually female turtle can lay eggs without mating with a male turtle. But these eggs are infertile. Naturally, you cannot expect baby turtles from these eggs. 
  • The eggs will go infertile if the temperature goes below 80 degrees F or above 95 degrees F. 
  • Also, if you mess up the orientation of the eggs while transferring them to the incubator, it can kill the embryos in the eggs.
How To Care For Map Turtle Eggs

How To Know If My Turtle Eggs Are Infertile?

You may not know whether the eggs you have found in the nest are fertile or infertile. For that, you can do a simple test. 

  • Pick up the turtle eggs from the nests without changing their orientation. Put them in a container full of wet sand or vermiculite. 
  • Next, take them to a dark room. Pick each of the eggs one by one. Then illuminate them with an LED flashlight to examine the inside of these eggs.
  • If an egg is fertile, it will have a red circle forming inside. The egg will also have visible veins. 
  • Fertile eggs also change color and texture. In the early stage, the eggs of some turtle species are pinkish-white with soft-shell. But with time, the color becomes a bit darker. The eggshell also becomes harder than the early soft-shell. 

You may not know when the eggs have been laid. So, wait for a week before throwing them away if they do not show the formation of embryos. After that, you should check the eggs again. If there is no embryo this time, get rid of the eggs because they are infertile. 

How Long Do Box Turtles Eggs Take To Hatch? 

Box turtles get to procreate almost right after their hibernation period. They become pregnant after about a week of mating. If your female box turtle has reached sexual maturity, it can lay eggs between May to July. A box turtle becomes sexually mature in 5 to 10 years. 

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They lay about 4 to 5 eggs or even 9 eggs per season in one or two clutches. Depending on the nest size and temperature, the box slider turtle can take 50 to 90 days to hatch. So, you can expect baby box turtles hatching in August to early October. 

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

Snapping turtles are nocturnal, and they prefer to spend most of their time underwater. However, when it is time to lay eggs, snapping turtles will make a nest in the sand close to their habitat. They lay about 20 to 40 eggs in a single clutch which is quite a number of eggs compared to many other species. Hence, the eggs take about 80 to 90 days to hatch. 

Snapping turtles can start laying eggs in early April. If the temperature and other conditions of incubation are right, you may see the eggs hatching from early to late July to early October. 

How Long Does It Take For Red-Eared Sliders Eggs To Hatch?

Female red-eared sliders mate with their male partners in spring to early summer. They get pregnant within a few weeks. So, you can expect to see them giving eggs from May to July. As they take 60 to 90 days to hatch, the baby sliders will come out from late July to late September. 

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

There are various species of sea turtles. Some species can lay eggs all year round. Sea turtle eggs usually hatch between June to early October. Again, some of them can produce up to 120 eggs in a single clutch. So, the incubation period can vary. 

Sea turtle eggs can take 45 to 75 days or even 90 days to hatch, considering the temperature and humidity of the nesting area. The ideal temperature for sea turtle egg incubation is 82 to 88 degrees F. 

How Long Does It Take For Turtle Eggs To Hatch In Florida? 

Every year, over 100 thousand female sea turtles of various species come to the beaches of Florida to make their nests. So, the beaches of Florida are well protected from March to October, as these months are nesting periods for sea turtles. After 45 to 75 days, baby sea turtles come out and start their journey toward the sea. 

When it is time for the nesting period, very few places in the USA are as well-protected as the beaches in Florida. The sea turtles swim to the shores of the Atlantic Gulf every year to lay their eggs in Florida. 

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission staff tries their best to protect the turtle nests during the incubation period of the eggs. So, visiting some spots of Florida beaches can be restricted. 

However, you can plan a visit to Florida to see the baby turtles making their way to the sea. For that, visit Florida between June to November as baby turtles of different species hatch during this time. 


So, how long does it take for turtle eggs to hatch? By now, you know it takes about 60 to 90 days for different species of turtles to hatch. Most baby turtles emerge from their nest in late summer or early fall. 

If you have a pregnant turtle, make sure to check for nests during the turtle nesting period. With proper care and an incubation process, you can hatch baby turtles to expand your turtle family. 

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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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