Does she have eggs? Did she lay? what am I missing?

Rover15

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Tons of questions going through my head looking for all advice and opinions.

I have a female 3 toed box turtle named Rubber Ducky, and a Male named Bert. They have successfully Matted a few times (meaning they have been "stuck" together for lack of a better term) this was about 4 and a half weeks ago. near the beginning of May.

Since the first mating, she has been spending hours at a time outside in her pen, until the May 24 weekend in which she has been outside full time. I thought when I came home the one day that there had been an area that was covered in fur bark around the large water bowl outside a patch of the bark was in the water bowl and there was an area that looked like it was covered up with dirt. I dug about 6" down but found nothing.

There have been other area's she has spent time in where I thought maybe there was a nest but again no eggs found.

I'm looking for help, how do I tell if she has eggs? OR how do I tell if she had them and now doesn't?

Is there anything else I can add to her pen to give here an ideal place to lay her eggs?

Roughly how long would it take for her to dig a nest lay eggs and cover it up?

would she be more likely to lay at night or in the morning??

sorry for all the questions I've never breed box turtles but I'm super excited.
 

ascott

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Tons of questions going through my head looking for all advice and opinions.

I have a female 3 toed box turtle named Rubber Ducky, and a Male named Bert. They have successfully Matted a few times (meaning they have been "stuck" together for lack of a better term) this was about 4 and a half weeks ago. near the beginning of May.

Since the first mating, she has been spending hours at a time outside in her pen, until the May 24 weekend in which she has been outside full time. I thought when I came home the one day that there had been an area that was covered in fur bark around the large water bowl outside a patch of the bark was in the water bowl and there was an area that looked like it was covered up with dirt. I dug about 6" down but found nothing.

There have been other area's she has spent time in where I thought maybe there was a nest but again no eggs found.

I'm looking for help, how do I tell if she has eggs? OR how do I tell if she had them and now doesn't?

Is there anything else I can add to her pen to give here an ideal place to lay her eggs?

Roughly how long would it take for her to dig a nest lay eggs and cover it up?

would she be more likely to lay at night or in the morning??

sorry for all the questions I've never breed box turtles but I'm super excited.

Giving your thread a bump....ready, here ya go.
 

PJay

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Some people say they can use a finger to palpate between back legs and tail to feel for eggs. I've never had any success with that myself. Usually end up with a shell closed on my finger or poking at a hip bone and wondering if I can justify calling it an egg. During nesting season I weigh my females every day or two and keep a chart of the results looking for gradual gain over a few weeks (developing eggs) and significant loss in one day (eggs laid). Most females will begin nest digging in the late evening and continue until well after dark depending on how compact the soil is. Harder soil equals a more laborious and lengthy process.The laying process can take an hour or two, sometimes with practice nests dug and then abandoned in the days preceding actually laying the eggs. You can help by preparing an area with looser loamy and sandy soil that is easier to dig in. One year a wild box turtle dug a nest in my vegetable garden on an August evening the day after I had tilled the soil.
 

Rover15

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Some people say they can use a finger to palpate between back legs and tail to feel for eggs. I've never had any success with that myself. Usually end up with a shell closed on my finger or poking at a hip bone and wondering if I can justify calling it an egg. During nesting season I weigh my females every day or two and keep a chart of the results looking for gradual gain over a few weeks (developing eggs) and significant loss in one day (eggs laid). Most females will begin nest digging in the late evening and continue until well after dark depending on how compact the soil is. Harder soil equals a more laborious and lengthy process.The laying process can take an hour or two, sometimes with practice nests dug and then abandoned in the days preceding actually laying the eggs. You can help by preparing an area with looser loamy and sandy soil that is easier to dig in. One year a wild box turtle dug a nest in my vegetable garden on an August evening the day after I had tilled the soil.
Thank you, hit a lot of my questions with that, I always assumed they would lay early morning to mid day so they would have warmth and energy to lay.

I wish I had of weighed and tracked it like that. I have loosened a lot of soil just because I thought she had laid in these spots lol. She dug herself under her leaf litter pile which I dug up 2 days ago because I thought maybe she nested there as she used to go there every night but then stopped so I thought maybe she laid and didnt want to sleep where her eggs where, but she is back there tonight
 

PJay

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Thank you, hit a lot of my questions with that, I always assumed they would lay early morning to mid day so they would have warmth and energy to lay.

I wish I had of weighed and tracked it like that. I have loosened a lot of soil just because I thought she had laid in these spots lol. She dug herself under her leaf litter pile which I dug up 2 days ago because I thought maybe she nested there as she used to go there every night but then stopped so I thought maybe she laid and didnt want to sleep where her eggs where, but she is back there tonight
Box turtles surprise me with their ability to be active, energetic even, at what I consider to be unorthodox times for an ectotherm.

It's not too late to try weighing your female to determine when she has deposited eggs. Start a weight chart and look for a 20 gram or so decline in one day, then you will know to begin searching for a nest. She wont lay her eggs in the pile of leaves, she will look for an area that gets more direct sun to warm the nest. If you have a small bush or healthy tuft of grass in her enclosure she might lay near the base if it gets some direct light during the day.
 

Rover15

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The leaf pile is mostly composted down now, just a thin layer left. My whole pen gets sun, I'd say 10- 12 hours worth from about 630ish 8am-630 pm

The leaf pile is where the sun hits 1st. I have grass that was planted but that gets sun later maybe around 10am till 8pm, I'll attach a picture the whole enclosure seems to be overgrown but I feel in a cold way feel free to say other wise
 

PJay

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So why did you ask if it was the far left??
I was wondering if that was all that was left of the pile. I don't think it's thick enough at this point to keep a female from trying to excavate a nest there. I like the overgrown look you have, it provides lots of cover for the turtles. It will make them feel more comfortable and the female will be more likely to dig and lay. Good luck!
 

Rover15

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I was wondering if that was all that was left of the pile. I don't think it's thick enough at this point to keep a female from trying to excavate a nest there. I like the overgrown look you have, it provides lots of cover for the turtles. It will make them feel more comfortable and the female will be more likely to dig and lay. Good luck!
The worse part of the over grown look is my Male bert, looks very much like a Rock. I'm confident no one is escaping yet I like to he sure I see Bert every second day.

But yes the pile is more just a remnince of what used to be lol. I do have a maple tree in the front yard and a pear tree I the back which when the leaves fall will be piled back in that corner for hibernation(I will pick your brain near the end of August about hibernation lol)

I got my kitchen scale in and I will continue to weigh and track it every few days she is only 330, and Bert 334. They are roughly the same size so I am assuming either she has already laid eggs and/or I won't see eggs till maybe August ish September.

Thank you again for the help, opinions and advice
 

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