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Turtles/RES nesting


how do i make a nesting place for my red eared turtle?? i have a good size piece of floating wood in my tank. does she just lay them on that or do i have to make something specific? and also not sure of their age but will they try to breed even if theyre too young? right now they wont leave each others side.

Hi Jamie,

I really need more information so I can give you better advice.  Can you post back and let me know how big/old your turtles are, the size of the tank, general setup (type of filter, temperatures, UVB lighting, diet, etc.)?

To answer your question, turtles lay in nests they dig, so you would need a provide a nesting area/box of earth or similar substrate so she could dig a nest and lay.  Eggs laid in the open will not hatch.  However, it sounds like your turtles may not be old enough to breed anyway (and may not be old enough to sex, either).  A female will not be able to develop eggs until she's old enough to carry them--for RES, this would be around 6-7".

You may want to reconsider breeding RES.  For one thing, RES need very large tanks anyway, and a breeding pair need even more room--realistically about 200 gallons, and even that may not be big enough.  Males often will harass single females to the point where the female will not eat and will hide all the time.  Obviously, if this happens the female may become sick.  So having plenty of room with hiding areas is vital.  The female also requires a really good diet, because laying takes a lot out of them.  The other issue is that RES are very prolific breeders, and there are way too many of them.  Rescues are crammed full of them, and they're considered an invasive species all over the world.  It is very hard to find good homes for a turtle that requires so much room, and if you produce babies, you're responsible for either finding them homes or keeping them all yourself (which is not very practical).  I don't know anyone who's involved with turtle rescue who would recommend breeding RES.

For more information, see

Update:  I took your email address out of the subject line, since it would show up where everyone could see it, and you probably don't want that!


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Questions regarding husbandry of Russian tortoises and other Mediterranean species, sulcata, and redfoot tortoises; general tortoise and turtle care; box turtle care. If I can't answer a specific question, I can provide sources for further research. Disclaimer: My advice is not a substitute for vet care. If I think your tortoise/turtle has a specific medical condition or injury that warrants a vet visit, I'll tell you so, and if possible I'll help you locate a vet. It is neither legal nor ethical for me to provide veterinary advice.


I have kept and bred Russian tortoises for over ten years and have other Mediterranean species plus redfoots and box turtles. I've worked with other tortoise and turtle species while doing volunteer rescue work; mostly sulcata but some leopards, California desert tortoises, yellowfoots, all box turtle species, red-eared sliders, etc. I don't personally keep aquatic species, but have access to a wealth of information and research to help you with any questions you might have.

My knowledge is based on hands-on experience keeping, breeding, and working with tortoises and turtles.

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