The behavior of pregnant females
It is better to leave a pregnant female immediately from the male, since during mating, males are aggressive and can cause harm even to a pregnant female. Before laying, the females become restless, eat poorly, enclose their territory. Pregnant females of water turtles spend a lot of time on land, basking under a lamp. At this time, she may refuse to eat. Try to offer her a varied diet with good calcium supplements. Pregnancy lasts about 2 months, but if the female does not find a suitable place for laying eggs, she can continue to carry them for some time.
About 2 weeks before giving birth, you will notice that the female spends more and more time on land, snorting and digging around herself to find a place for laying eggs.
Organization of masonry
For land turtles, there is no need to make a laying place (if there is soil in the terrarium), as they often lay eggs wherever they want and where they can. But for water turtles, you need to make a tank with soil on the shore. The size of the tank should exceed the size of the turtle at least 2 times. Sand or vermiculite is recommended everywhere, but they are not very convenient, since they fall into the water, from where it is impossible to remove them later. Turtles are best offshore "exoterra jungle" (not "forest"), it is better to use an oblong, rather than round-square. Depth should be 2.5-5 cm, and best of all 10-30 cm. There should be convenient access to the shore. The female lays eggs in a hole in the ground, which is pre-wetted with liquid from cloacal vesicles.
Mediterranean turtles prefer to lay their eggs on gentle slopes with sandy soil on sunny days from noon to the end of the day. But red-legged prefer soil rich in organic matter, raw or wet mud. They lay their eggs at dusk during light rain.
The depth of the substrate into which the turtle will lay its eggs is also important. Some turtles refuse to lay eggs if they cannot bury them to a sufficient depth. The depth of the ground should be equal to at least the length of the hind legs plus 70% of the length of the carapace.
In captivity, turtles rarely reproduce, but sometimes they lay eggs in the spring. The hatchery of the eggs by the female lasts about 2 months, the incubation of eggs outside the body of the female takes the same amount. In nature, the female begins to lay eggs in the summer, and before the formation of the shell, they must be fertilized by the male in the spring. If the soil is hard, then digging a female pit can take three hours or more, with soft soil the work can be completed in 15-20 minutes. In the process of digging, the turtle turned from time to time, eventually making a complete circle, which is why the pit acquired the correct shape.
After the work is completed, the hind legs of the turtles remain hanging in the pit. After a few minutes of rest, during which the female remains completely motionless, egg laying begins. As soon as an egg emerges from the cesspool, the female joins the hind legs and bends them somewhat so that the egg gently slides along “into the hole.” Since the hind legs rest against the edge of the fossa, the egg always ends up with the edge, and not in the middle of the fossa. After a few minutes, the turtle turns in a circle and lays the next egg. The interval between the laying of two eggs may be longer — up to 20-30 minutes. After the last egg is laid, the turtle remains motionless for some time, and then with its hind legs pushes the dug ground back. When the pit is filled up, the female stomps for a long time and then lies motionless, then, rising and falling on the notes, as if ramming the loosened earth with a plastron. At this time, all three species of turtles often excrete urine and sniff the place where the eggs are buried.
The laid eggs must be put in the incubator, but only after the turtle has laid them, bury them (if necessary) and go about their business. The correct position of the eggs will help the carefully made numbering with a very soft pencil. It is also advisable to indicate the date of egg laying in order to calculate the incubation period from it. If the eggs are with embryos, then at least two months later the turtles hatch from them. If the eggs were laid in water and not pulled out for several hours, then most likely nothing will hatch from them. Tortoise eggs can be stored for several days in a box of cotton or dry sawdust at normal room temperature until incubated.
In addition to temperature, solar radiation plays a significant role. If the eggs of all three species can withstand cooling to 0 ° and heating to 40 °, then finding them for 15-20 minutes in the sun, even at low temperatures (18-20 °), leads to the death of eggs.
If it is necessary to transfer the eggs of sea turtles, then it is also necessary to mark their upper hand, if more than a day has passed after the start of laying the eggs. It seems like if you turn the eggs after moving it, then the turtle will dig in the wrong direction and will not be able to normally surface. According to other sources, after 5-6 hours after laying the eggs, they cannot be turned over, otherwise the embryos in the eggs may die.
If the turtle laid eggs in water, then if they are not removed within 1-2 hours, the embryos die due to lack of oxygen.
The number of eggs laid by turtles varies in different species from a few to a hundred. Many turtles have several clutches during the season.