When Do Turtles Lay Eggs?

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

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Can turtles mate and lay eggs at any time of the year? Or do these reptiles breed and nest only in specific seasons? I understand your confusion. Why don’t we talk about turtles’ nesting season in this article?

Turtles lay eggs in warmer seasons, from late Spring to early Summer, when the mothers can find enough food. Leatherback sea turtles are an exception, as they sometimes nest in Winter. Freshwater turtles need soft ground to nest. Sea turtles, on the other hand, lay their eggs on sandy shores.

Does the nesting season vary from species to species? Find out below.

Key Takeaways

  • Turtles lay eggs from March to August.
  • Generally, turtles mate after Winter in the early Spring.
  • Sea turtles migrate to their birthplaces to lay eggs.

Turtles Lay Eggs in The Nesting Season

More or less, all turtle species around the world nest in the warmer season. That will be during the late Spring or early summer.

Female turtles can delay the fertilization of their eggs. They allow the development of the clutches only if abundant food is available. Usually, after the harsh Winter, mother nature rejuvenates in the Spring and summer. Therefore, these months are suitable for nesting.

In the West, March to May and June to August are celebrated as Spring and Summer, respectively. You will find your pet turtles and reptiles in your locality searching for a nest during this time.

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In fact, turtle killings in road accidents are common around these months. These gravid turtles are often on a hike to find a suitable nest for their eggs.

While most turtle species lay eggs in the warmer months, the leatherback sea turtles show some exceptions. For instance, these reptiles will nest during Winter and the following summer.

Here, take a look at the nesting season of different turtle species,

Turtle SpeciesEstimated Nesting Period
Red Eared SliderMay through early July
Painted TurtleMarch to mid-June
Map TurtleMay to July
River CootersLate April to Mid July
Mud TurtleThroughout the year
Musk TurtleApril through early May
Snapping TurtleBeginning around April
Softshell TurtleLate March to July
Box TurtleMay through July
Bog TurtleLate April to Early June

N.B. You turtles may nest earlier or later than the mentioned months. When the turtle will lay eggs totally depends on its mating time and the available foraging grounds nearby.

Turtles usually nest annually. Some species will deposit eggs twice in the same season. Again, there are turtles who nest throughout the year.

Turtles Generally Lay Eggs Inside Loose Soil

Believe it or not. Turtles are very picky about their nesting spots.

They search for soft and loose soil that can trap enough heat and moisture. A nesting ground on an uphill position facing south is just perfect. It can retain heat from the sun, which promotes healthy hatching.

Freshwater turtles usually move from one place to another, searching for a nesting spot. The mother turtles will leave the nest right after the egg deposition. Turtle egg nests are usually more common near water sources.

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Sea turtles have a distinct pattern for nesting. These marine turtles travel hundreds of kilometers to their birthplace before laying their eggs. Call it an instinct or whatever. No sea turtle will fail to follow this migration ritual.

When Do Turtles Mate?

Turtles usually lay eggs a few weeks after they mate. So, if you know their breeding period, you can easily guess the nesting season. Right?

Generally, turtles mate after coming out of hibernation. It means these pets will get involved in copulation in the late Spring and summer. Well, there are species that mate in Winter and rainy seasons, too.

Before You Go

A perfect nesting site is crucial for both wild and captive turtles. While the wild reptiles can make an egg chamber for themselves, the options are limited for the captive turtles. Hence, as a responsible owner, you should provide the gravid turtles with a suitable nesting box. The attached article talks more about DIY and commercial nesting boxes for turtles.

How to Make a Nesting Box for Turtles?

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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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