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Turtles/soft shell turtles


Today is June 13, 2013

I think a fresh water soft shell turtle just layed eggs in my yard.  How long does it take to hatch the eggs, and what can we do to protect them. This is my own private property.

Hi Debra,

The incubation period is anywhere from about 60 days up to 90 days, possibly even longer.  It all depends on environmental conditions.  If you saw the female nesting, and you know exactly where the eggs were laid, you could construct a protective wire cage around the nest, making sure there is enough space for the hatchlings to get out.  Otherwise, it's best to let nature take its course, because you won't know exactly where the nest is anyway.  Turtles hide their nests very well.  If you have dogs, keep them away from the area just in case.  It will be difficult to protect the hatchlings because of the wide range of possible hatch dates, and they won't necessarily all hatch at the same time.  Just keep an eye out, and discourage predators if you can.  


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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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