Painted Turtle Eggs: Here's How To Hatch And Take Care Of Them

Supriya Jain
Sep 01, 2023 By Supriya Jain
Originally Published on Nov 15, 2021
Edited by Sarah Nyamekye
Eastern Painted Turtle

After an incubation period of around 72 days, the painted turtle produces 4-15 white eggs, but have you ever wondered how to hatch and take care of them?

Mother-painted turtles generally prefer sandy ground with plenty of direct sunlight for their nesting site, which is excavated with the turtles' hind feet and are generally within 656 ft (200 m) of bodies of water.

The turtle’s nest is not that deep, and the females typically deposit 4-15 oblong, soft-shelled eggs in some kind of a flask-shaped hollow in the soil.

If alternative options are unavailable, many painted turtles also can lay their eggs in water; the difficulty in this process is that they might not do it in a condition safe enough for the eggs to develop or survive.

Painted turtles get their name from their vividly colored skin, which can oftentimes have green or yellow strands. North America's most common native turtle is the painted turtle.

From southern Canada across northern Mexico, ranging from the Atlantic across the Pacific, it may be found in slow-moving freshwater ecosystems. The painted turtle is the only living member of the Chrysemys genus, which belongs to the Emydidae family of pond turtles.

The painted turtle (Chrysemys picta) lived 15 million years ago, according to fossils. During the last ice age, four geographically based subspecies emerged: eastern, mid-land, southern, and western.

Aquatic plants, algae, and tiny water wildlife such as insects, crabs, and fish fall in the diet of the turtle. Even though rats, canines, and reptiles like snakes regularly eat them as eggs or hatchlings, the adult turtles' have a strong shell to defend them against numerous predators and aggressive animals.

The painted turtle is solely active throughout the day, basking for hours atop stumps or rocks, relying on the warmth of its habitat.

The turtle hibernates in the wintertime, generally under the muck at the depths of marine waters or lakes. In the spring and prior to winter, painted turtles breed to produce eggs, and consequently, hatchlings. Sometime between late spring to the middle of summer, females construct terrestrial nests and deposit eggs.

How can you hatch and take care of a turtle egg? Read on to know more about painted turtle laying eggs and how to take care of the eggs. Afterward, also check out salamander eggs and insect eggs.

When do painted turtles lay eggs?

The natural size of the nest varies depending on the size of the female and the available site, but it is approximately 2-4 in (5–10 cm) deep.

It is natural for females sometimes to revert back to the same nesting sites for several years in a row, but if numerous females build nests adjacent and around each other in nature, the eggs become quite highly susceptible to predatory animals.

From May through July, mother-painted turtles construct nests and lay eggs for future hatchlings. Females can make nests in warm temperatures, away from water, in flask-shaped holes filled with layers of mud.

The typical clutch size varies from 4-15 white eggs. Eggs are laid in May and June.

Female painted turtles prefer locations with plenty of light from the sun and a quick dig – sandbanks, gravel pits, lawns, or even mowed grassy grounds are ideal. A female turtle unearths a 4 in (10 cm) deep cavity with her hind feet in which it lays soft, oval-shaped eggs.

The turtle then covers the nest with dirt, removing all traces of its presence. In late August and also early September, the baby turtles hatch. The eggs might overwinter in the nest. The eggs hatch the following spring in northern regions.

The ideal body temperature for a female painted turtle to dig her nest is about 86 °F (30 °C). It postpones the task until later in the evening if the weather is unsuitable.

Once, due to a hot dry spell in Virginia, painted turtles had been witnessed waiting for up to three weeks to lay their eggs.

How To Take Care Of Painted Turtle Eggs

The offspring of these green or yellow striped painted turtle species are tiny and convenient to care for, even by young children.

You may find eggs laid anywhere around creeks, ponds, lakes, waterways, or a river on a soft, sandy ground surface.

Although turtles have been observed to lay eggs in the back gardens of residential neighborhoods, it is far more common for them to be in regions of comparative wilderness with a warm temperature.

In the wild, these turtles prefer to flatten the areas where they lay their eggs, but besides, they leave some obvious signs such as urine deposits on the eggs as well as small areas of dug soil.

It is best to not move the eggs and leave them as they are in the nest; but if you find the nest disturbed or at a great threat from predators, you can take it upon yourself to see that the eggs are safely hatched.

Following the discovery of painted turtle eggs, there are a few things you can do to care for them.

Buy a few plastic containers with lids. Six to seven eggs should be incubated for each container.

Make multiple holes in the upper edge of each container with a strong hole puncher to enable water and gas circulation for the development of the eggs.

Organize the containers wherein the eggs will be incubated until they hatch. The ideal substrate would be a soil-like combination that retains and discharges water, as contrasted to normal dirt, which can harbor fungus or even viruses and endanger the growth of the eggs.

Buy vermiculite from your neighborhood plant shop and soak it in water until it becomes soggy, and after that squeeze out the excess moisture.

When relocating each egg to the container where it would then be incubated, remember to keep it right-side up. Bring a small felt tip marker with you on the turtle search so you can mark and keep a record of how the painted turtle eggs were originally kept.

Incubate the loaded egg containers with gently secured lids for two and a half months at 77°-86° F (25°-30° C). While a few painted turtle eggs have been identified to overwinter in the soil surface, if maintained at the right temperature, eggs should hatch in 67-72 days of incubation.

Even so, in some cases, upon a month and a half or even less of incubation at the right temperatures, several young painted turtles might very well hatch.

Remember to check the containers frequently to see if your baby-painted turtles are about to hatch, however, try to avoid opening them too frequently, as this can alter the temperature and distress them while they incubate.

How many eggs do painted turtles lay?

Every year, the painted turtle can lay between 4-15 eggs, with an average of 5-6 eggs per year.

Annually, a female painted turtle can produce up to five clutches; they lay up to two clutches on average.

Surprisingly, between 30%-50% of turtles in the wild do not lay eggs yearly. Whenever the numbers of females are marginal in nature, an adult female tries to generate more eggs for every clutch.

Furthermore, based on the subspecies as well as temperature, the size of the clutch most often will differ.

How big are painted turtle eggs?

In her oviducts, the female keeps the sperm that can be utilized for up to three clutches and can last for about three years.

There could be multiple fathers in a single clutch. The eggs measure 0.5 x 1.3 in (1.2 x 3.3 cm).

The female painted turtle proceeds from the sand to the near water after covering the eggs in the dirt. Painted turtles do not stay with their eggs and they leave the nest soon after laying eggs.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for painted turtle eggs then why not take a look at frog eggs, or painted turtle facts.

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Written by Supriya Jain

Bachelor of Commerce, Master of Business Administration specializing in Marketing

Supriya Jain picture

Supriya JainBachelor of Commerce, Master of Business Administration specializing in Marketing

As a skilled member of the Kidadl team, Shruti brings extensive experience and expertise in professional content writing. With a Bachelor's degree in Commerce from Punjab University and an MBA in Business Administration from IMT Nagpur, Shruti has worked in diverse roles such as sales intern, content writer, executive trainee, and business development consultant. Her exceptional writing skills cover a wide range of areas, including SOP, SEO, B2B/B2C, and academic content.

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