How to Know If Your Turtle Is Getting Ready to Lay Eggs

By Nicole Papagiorgio

When breeding turtles, knowing how to tell if your turtle is about to lay eggs can help you prepare a nesting area or get the incubator ready. When turtles mate, the female can retain the male's sperm and impregnate herself with it years later, so knowing when the turtle was last bred will not always dictate when they will lay eggs. Telling when your turtle is going to lay eggs is moderately easy.

Observe the turtle's behavior. If the turtle is being kept in an aquatic environment, it may act like it is desperate to get out so it can dig a nest and lay eggs. It may look like it is trying to climb the sides of the glass in its tank. If the turtle is being kept in an environment where it has dirt and areas to dig, it may appear to be smelling the ground.

Hold the turtle firmly with both hands and place a finger in each gap between their top and bottom shell, above their back legs. If the turtle is getting ready to lay eggs, you should be able to feel round lumps with your fingers.

Fill a bucket half way with potting soil, turn it on its side and place it in the turtle's habitat. If the turtle has been sniffing the ground or acting restless it is because it is carrying eggs. It will lay eggs in this container because it's a safe and sheltered environment to create a nest. If your turtle is in an aquarium, move it to a drier tank with access to a nesting box, or give the turtle a large floating piece of wood with a nesting box on it so they can access it easily. If the turtle lays the eggs in the water, the eggs could drown.