7. Reproduction of turtles
Turtles in captivity breed quite rarely. Breeding turtles is a painstaking and responsible work that only experienced specialists can do.
In order for the turtles kept at home to breed, you need to provide them with the proper conditions: proper nutrition, a suitable habitat and relative freedom of movement.
For successful breeding, in addition to observing all conditions of detention, it is desirable to place several individuals of the same species in one pen or terrarium. When forming a group, the correct ratio of the number of females and males is important, which contributes to the manifestation of elements of mating behavior in these animals. In freshwater turtles, this ratio is approximately 2: 1.
Only with proper maintenance, red-eared turtles can give birth in captivity.
In addition, when choosing animals, you need to take into account their age – you should select sexually mature, but not old individuals, which should first be checked with a veterinarian. The most suitable age for mating red-ear turtles is 5 years. Despite the fact that puberty occurs in them a little earlier, fertilization in too young individuals may not occur. Sick or weakened animals are also unlikely to produce offspring.
One can distinguish the gender of red-eared turtles by the length of the tail (in the male it is longer). In addition, the male on the plastron has a recess.
For a while, a group of selected turtles needs to be carefully watched to determine how ready they are for mating games and breeding. If a relationship has been established between heterogeneous individuals, the remaining turtles need to be moved to another place.
Usually, lovers breeding red-eared turtles in captivity contain males and females separately, and they are planted with each other exclusively for the period of mating. In this case, the male is best left on the territory familiar to him, and the female is placed to him.
It is interesting to watch the mating games of turtles both in vivo and at home. Turtles often during the breeding season manifest themselves on a completely different side than in ordinary life. So, males often fight among themselves, seeking the favor of their chosen female.
Offspring can give only healthy turtles that have reached puberty.
If you want the turtle to produce offspring, include vitamin E in its diet. It has beneficial effects on reproductive function.
Turtles, like other reptiles, after building a nest and laying eggs do not care about offspring at all, and small turtles appear already completely ready for independent life.
In preparation for breeding, it is important to correctly formulate a diet of turtles. Many experts recommend adding foods containing vitamin E (greens, vegetable oil) to animal feed. Vitamin preparations are also suitable.
During pregnancy, in the diet of turtles must be present foods with a high content of calcium and phosphorus.
During the breeding season, red-eared turtles need to create comfortable conditions: do not disturb them, exclude all extraneous noise and vibration, and try to touch animals as rarely as possible. In addition, you must take care of the place where the eggs will be placed in advance. Trash-eared turtles dig a nest in the ground, so in advance you need to put a small container filled with clean sand or peat in the terrarium (it should be poured with a layer of about 5 cm). Females can also lay eggs directly on the land plot arranged in the terrarium, and sometimes in the water. In the latter case, it is recommended to immediately remove the masonry from the water.
Tortoise laying eggs
For freshwater turtles to start mating, the water temperature in the terrarium or aquarium should be 22–26 ° C. Also, increase the duration of daylight and the intensity of lighting helps to stimulate mating.
After the female lays eggs, a container with them is recommended to be removed and placed in an incubator. The temperature in the incubator should be maintained at 28-30 ° C.
If you do not have an incubator, you can use a regular glass jar or aquarium filled with sand, which should be regularly moistened. Such an incubator can be heated using a conventional incandescent lamp. You can put the incubator next to the central heating battery.
The eggs of turtles, unlike birds, cannot be turned over in any case, therefore they should be transferred very carefully to the incubator.
The appearance of a baby turtle from an egg
Eggs laid by turtles are far from always fertilized. In order not to keep empty eggs in the incubator for several months, they need to be checked. To do this, you can build a primitive ovoscope: put a small light bulb in a small cardboard box, you can use a flashlight from your pocket, and cover the box with a lid in which an egg-shaped hole is cut, but a little smaller. To test an egg, you need to put it, without turning over, into the hole and turn on the light bulb. In the middle of the fertilized egg, dimming will be noticeable, and the empty one will transmit light evenly. When checking, you should remember that the longer the maturity of the eggs, the more accurate the result.
Newborn baby turtles, like other reptiles, have the remains of the yolk sac, which disappear a few days after birth, as well as a special egg tooth with which they dissect the shell. In addition, in the first days after leaving the eggs at the turtles on the plastron, you can see the transverse fold – a consequence of the bent position of the cub inside the egg.
After the female lays eggs, she should be kept away from other animals for some time. Female nutrition for several weeks should be enhanced, since during this period the immunity of turtles is weakened and they are more susceptible to various diseases.
If the turtle has cubs, you need to try to save them all. In no case should they be placed in the same paddock or terrarium with adult turtles, as these reptiles have no maternal instinct and can harm cubs. It is best to prepare a small separate terrarium specially equipped for their maintenance.
Small turtles need special care.
Small turtles feed in much the same way as adult turtles, with the exception of plant foods. They are suitable for both special ready-made food, and finely chopped raw fish or pieces of seafood.
For normal development, young red-eared turtles need ultraviolet radiation. The exposure time should be increased gradually, starting from 1-2 minutes, and soft light bulbs should be used for the procedures.