Female Musk Digging Tunnels to lay eggs.

Russian Rehab

Jun 26, 2018
Location (City and/or State)
Hello all.,

bellow i describe the nesting behavior i have seen from my female common musk this breeding season. I want to know if anyone else has noted similar behavior in their nesting turtles? I am particularly interested in why you think she might be doing this also. she is doing it differently than i have read about and i wonder if it is because the nesting box is not ideal for her.

The first clutch she laid was typical. At night she excavated a nest a few inches down in the soil with her hind legs laid the eggs covered it and left before morning.

the last 3 clutches she digs a tunnel and stays in it for up to 30 hours lays her eggs then digs her way out and returns to the water. her first clutch was only 4 eggs her second and third were 5 and her most recent clutch was 6.

Any ideas?


Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Jan 17, 2012
Location (City and/or State)
Sacramento, CA (Central Valley)
The N American musk turtles I am most familiar with are cryptic nesters. They tend to look for places under leaf litter, logs, tangles of vegetation, etc where it is nice and protected and moist. Some times they will barely dig much of a nest hole and deposit their eggs there. From what I have seen, they like to burrow under layers of vegetation and then deposit their eggs in very shallow depressions/holes they dig there. Without the option of a suitable thick cover of low vegetation, I would assume the "tunnel" you are seeing is a similar behavior.