General Care Discussion :: Gravid turtle not laying eggs - help?

Taking care of your turtle's overall health.

Post Posted: Wed Apr 21, 2021 1:37 am   Gravid turtle not laying eggs - help?

Hello! I'm a longtime lurker here so excited to finally be making a post of my own :) :mrgreen:

I have a 16 year old ~8 inch female RES who hasn't laid eggs before so this is all very new to me! The past few weeks, she's been showing the signs of a gravid turtle but it has really peaked in the last week (acting extremely frantic, trying to get out of her tank, splashing the water aggressively, eating less). To help her with egg laying, we put together a nest. For her nest, we have a big rubber bin that has about ~6 inches of top soil (I've been cautious about adding more soil because I don't want to make it easier for her to escape, but I think I'll probably add a few more inches of soil and see if that helps).

We've tried putting her in the nest whenever she gets antsy and she doesn't like it! She's always trying to climb out and then she flips over which means we need to constantly check up on her to help her if she's flipped. She's so determined! I've left her there for an hour or two throughout the day and she doesn't love it. She just tries to climb out the whole time. Over the weekend, I left her there at night and kept her there overnight and she was surprisingly very calm (seems like she's very light sensitive if she's calmer at night/in the dark?). Although during the few times that she's calm, I'm 90% sure she's just hanging out or sleeping and not actually digging/laying eggs. Please lay eggs lol!

We've also tried letting her walk around the yard which she seems to like a lot more than being in her nest! She has a few favorite spots and funny enough, when I tried to tidy up those spots and add more soil for her egg laying, she seemed to gravitate towards other spots instead! She enjoys just crawling into certain spots and will just hangout there for 20-30 mins at a time. Sometimes even longer. I've also observed her trying to dig in parts of the yard where it's concrete? She's so silly because I know I could bring her to a nice patch of soil for her to dig in but she won't like it.

This has been going on for about a week but it's been very tiring and stressful - for both of us I'm sure! Even though outside is not ideal (because I have to set aside time to be able to supervise her from afar when she's outside), she seems to like it a lot more than her nest. If she prefers it and if she does indeed lay eggs from this, I will be very happy! But is it normal for her to just hangout/chill and not dig and lay eggs? Does it take time to get to that point? Should I try again with her nest? Are there other approaches I should try with her for being outside or for her indoor nest? Also, if this keeps up for another week or two, I will definitely take her to the vet. I don't want to take any health risks, but I do want to see what I can do for her right now. I would appreciate any help and guidance! Thanks so much! :)
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Post Posted: Wed Apr 21, 2021 11:30 am   Re: Gravid turtle not laying eggs - help?

I think I would find a way for her to get to lay the eggs in garden. The soil needs to be more than a few inches deep, and if she finds the right spot, she'll start right away. The soil should be damp but not muddy.
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steve
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Post Posted: Fri Apr 23, 2021 2:12 am   Re: Gravid turtle not laying eggs - help?

Thanks for the quick reply, Steve! I took her outside today and she wandered all over the yard but didn't settle on any spots. I guess I should keep taking her outside until she finds somewhere she likes?
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Post Posted: Fri Apr 23, 2021 4:20 pm   Re: Gravid turtle not laying eggs - help?

No, when she is acting restless is your best bet. Once the moment passes, she will be back to normal and you will have to wait for the next opportunity. Maybe have some hard/damp dirt mounds and bushes where this is cover... you never know what she might prefer.
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Post Posted: Tue Apr 27, 2021 10:44 pm   Re: Gravid turtle not laying eggs - help?

Got it! Side note: I noticed some slight scratches in her hind legs - I'm thinking it's because she was scraping her feet against the concrete while in the digging motion to lay eggs. And no eggs yet. :(

But also, the past two days she's actually been very calm and well-behaved. She seemed tired and was mostly relaxing and sleeping one day and the other day she's actually been basking! Also, she's starting to eat again! Maybe the rest of the week will turn out differently, but she's been behaving more like her normal self. What's going on? I should still be concerned and mentally prepared for her egg laying behavior right? I worry that she still has eggs still in her. I made a vet appointment for next week so I'm really hoping she'll be feeling better soon! Thanks for all the tips so far!
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Post Posted: Thu Apr 29, 2021 9:47 am   Re: Gravid turtle not laying eggs - help?

I wouldn't worry about light scratches. It sounds like the time for her to normally lay those eggs has passed. She will most likely (and hopefully) expel those eggs into the water or basking platform.
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