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Thread: Box Turtle Advice

  1. #1

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    Unhappy

    Does anyone have experience hatching box turtles?

    Last weekend an eastern box turtle decided to dig a nest in my yard. Because the yard is in the middle of being landscaped, it is not a safe place at all for little turtle eggs. After some research about eastern box turtles, I decided to dig up the eggs (8 of them!) and hatch them in a homemade incubator. After they hatch I plan to release them back into the woods behind my house so they can get ready for the winter and hibernation.

    I have them buried in peat moss with a little of the dirt they were originally in. The temperature ranges from 75 to 80 degrees, and I'm keeping the soil lightly moist and I check temperature and moisture levels daily.

    So I am wondering if anyone has any suggestions that will help me have success hatching these eggs, so I can release as many healthy turtles as possible back into the woods later this year.

  2. #2

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    I've not dealt with turtle eggs specifically before, but I've hatched snake eggs. Sounds like you're doing everything right, but I can offer one suggestion: Damp sphagnum moss. I'm guessing you've got plenty of it around for your CPs, so just soak it, then wring it out and put the eggs on it. It's great for moisture, the loose nature allows good airflow, and the natural chemicals in it prevent mold (though it will leave harmless brown stains on the eggs).

    Mokele
    \"With malleus aforethought, mammals got an earful of their ancestor's jaw.\"
    --J. Burns, on the evolution of auditory ossicles.

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    Iris keep up the good work. I would try to keep them closer to a constant 80 Give them 60-90 days and you will have babies. Just don't move them they are not like birds they will die if you rotate them.
    Phil

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    Hatched 4 Pituophis kiddies using barely damp sawdust, and a layer of damp grass on top. Everybody hatched, and my oldest boy got to watch it all happen. He was jazzed!! Good luck, Iris, with your little Boxes!!!!
    45 yrs. growin\'
    Founder NASC

  5. #5
    Send in the Clones Houstonherp's Avatar
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    Hi Iris -

    You have gotten some good advice from everyone else about how to get them to hatch, so I'll only offer one other thought...

    Baby box turtles are very prone to shell rot/infections if they are not given the proper conditions, and indoor terraria are most definitely NOT good conditions. I know you said you are going to release them, so all I am suggesting here is that you do so as soon after hatching as possible. This will give them the best chance of survival, AND allow them to do what they can to keep your local box turtle population going!

    Regards,

    Mike
    Mike Howlett

    "Leuc, I am your flava!"

    Now we know Princess Leah's last name: Wilkerson!!

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    Woodnative's Avatar
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    I have hatched Easterns. Keep the substrate moist. Also, make sure the eggs are NOT rotated, the side that is up must stay up. They will take about 70 days to hatch although the actual number of days will vary greatly. Be sure the new hatchlings do not dry out, they will need a very damp substrate and access to water before releasing. You may wish to spread the hatchlings out over a couple different area to help ensure the success of at least one. They do not need each other's company and it will be less likely for a predator to find them all. Good luck and great for being concerned. Eastern boxies are declining over most of their range due to cars, lawnmowers, increased predation by racoons, dogs, and people taking them. They have a strong homing instinct and a long life, so hopefully you will see mom and babies in your yard for many years.

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    I am keeping the soil moist, and I have tried very hard to keep them the same-side up as they originally were. How sensitive are they exactly to rotation?

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    All turtle and tortoise eggs are extremely sensitive to being rotated once the embryo starts to develop.

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