Do turtles lay eggs without Mating?

Do turtles lay eggs without Mating? 1

When you see animal eggs, in general, you will look for their mothers and fathers. The reproduction occurs between these two opposite sexes, even for turtles. that is the course of nature, and no one will not have any thoughts of any possible way to produce but that.

But what if one day, your turtle began laying eggs without mating or any encounter with a male egg? Is that normal? Does it really happen? Aside from these questions, you will then be thinking what will happen to the eggs. So, we’ll help you find out.

Do turtles lay eggs without mating?

The mating behavior of turtles varies with their species. For most semi-aquatic species, the combat for mating does not often occur as that of terrestrial species, so male species normally impose their dominance and may force mating. The terrestrial species have fewer males; thus, they need to establish dominance to have access to mating. There are also smaller males in fully aquatic species; they can mate with females by relying on courtship displays.

Relatively, copulation occurs with entwined tails; the male turtles force its tail to the females for them to vent together for insertion of the penis. This is the usual way of the turtles mating which subsequently produces turtle eggs. But is this the only way for turtles to lay eggs? No, turtle can lay eggs without mating. This must be surprising to you, but it is a fact. The female turtles ’bodies have eggs inside so they are capable of laying eggs without any male turtles.

Some female reptiles in captivity, like turtles, can lay eggs without the presence of the males; however, these eggs come out primarily as infertile. Thus, the tendency is that the egg might not hatch. Another reason for laying eggs without male turtles is that some of the female turtles have the ability to store sperm inside them and that their egg clutches can have multiple offspring.

Do turtles lay eggs without mating

Moreover, the turtles’ reproductive activity depends upon the season, and mostly it is in concurrence with the annual weather change. The egg-laying coincides with circumstances that are good for the development and emergence of hatchlings which is in times where there is an abundance of food or the perfect weather condition for the said occurrence.

How Do You Know If A Tortoise Is About To Lay Eggs?

Most turtles lay their eggs on land, and the mother of turtles does no more parental care over their eggs other than covering them or guarding their nests for a few days or weeks.

So how do you know when a tortoise is about to lay eggs? The following are the signs:

Do turtles lay eggs without Mating


The tortoise who is about to lay eggs will be moving around, often looking restless due to changes in its body. They would also show some signs of stress, lack of appetite, and agitation.


You will observe that the tortoise will regularly be rounding the area or pacing around to find a good spot for nesting. Tortoise is very much particular in choosing a suitable nesting site. This is for incubation purposes, so they will select an area that has enough sunshine and is dry.

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If you see your tortoise or any tortoise exhibiting the signs mentioned above, you will know that they are nearing laying their eggs. The laying season typically happens during summertime, between July and August.

How Do You Know If The Eggs Have Been Fertilized Or Not?

When the female turtle has already laid her eggs, will you then be automatically expecting baby turtles? You should first take a step back and ponder whether your turtle laid eggs after mating with the opposite sex. If female turtles cannot lay eggs even without mating, then the chances are that the eggs are not fertile.

To be sure if you are genuinely going to have hatchlings, you need to follow the following to know if the eggs have been fertilized or not. To wit:

1. Examine the egg

Do this by taking the egg to a dark room. You then have to put the flashlight below the egg, and if you see the turtle’s embryo, then you have a fertilized egg. If you do not see any, the reason may be that the process of the development of the turtles slows down so do this again after a week.

2. Check whether there is chalking on the eggs’ surface

This is the whitening of the egg, which will start with just a tiny mark until it completely covers the shell’s surface.

3. Check any color changes

The color of the turtle eggs when first laid is pinkish white; as the embryo inside it develops, the color becomes darker, thereby losing its pink color. If nothing like this happens, then the egg is not fertile.

4. Touch whether there are texture changes

Hold the egg and feel if the texture of the egg changed like it may become harder or rubber-like otherwise, the eggs are not fertile.

We understand that a lot of people may not want to waste their time waiting for a hatchling that will never come due to the eggs’ infertility, so if you have lingering doubts, its best to act on it. To guarantee the fertility of the eggs you might want to try the things that we shared.

Resource: You might be interested for the Resources.

How do turtle eggs look like?

Have you ever wondered how turtle eggs look? Do they appear like chicken or quail eggs?

Well, turtle eggs are tiny and spherical in shape. They, however, can be misshaped to be elongated. These ages resemble a golf ball as to its shape and size, but unlike the latter, it is softer. As to their color, it is white to cream. Its hardness depends upon the penetration of water from its environment. Also, as to texture, they have a rubbery or leather feel when touched.

Moreover, the production of eggs depends upon the size of the turtles. The smaller turtles’ deposit only a few eggs at a time, but the larger ones could produce many clutches in a season.

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Related Question (FAQ)

Can unfertilized turtle eggs hatch?

The unfertilized eggs which usually come from those female turtles who lay eggs without mating or those produced in the absence of male turtles will not hatch.

Can a single female tortoises lay eggs without mating?

Yes, a female tortoise can lay eggs without mating. Unlike other animals, even in the absence of a male tortoise, the tortoise’s eggs will still appear. The tortoise’s body already has eggs that are waiting for the mating time. So, whether mating happens or not, the eggs will still be laid since they cannot reabsorb eggs. The only issue is that the eggs will not hatch since it come out as infertile.

How do you keep turtle eggs alive?

Keeping turtle eggs alive is simple, but it requires some steps. After laying the eggs and covering them, the mother turtle will abandon the nest. Unless the eggs are in danger, you can let nature take over. If there is, however, trouble, you can safely remove the eggs from the nest. Candle them with a bright light in the darkroom to see the development of the embryo. Then build an incubator and place the eggs in it. You will have to wait for a certain period for hatching.

What age do tortoises start laying eggs?

The reproductive maturity of the tortoise depends upon its size, not age. The usual number of years for the tortoise to reach the size for being sexually mature and eventually to lay eggs is from 15 to 20 years. In contrast, those tortoises in captivity will reach this from about 4 to 5 years.


Eggs or offspring usually are the result of mating or copulation in animals. You will not really think that a standalone female animal can just get pregnant and lay eggs. But this is not new for turtles. They can lay eggs without any male turtles, and they can do it without mating! While this is unbelievable and might be fantastic to think about, the result might not be that good.

What can you expect from eggs that are not a product of copulation of turtles of the opposite sex? The eggs will come out as infertile and will not hatch. The turtles have no capacity to reabsorb infertile eggs, so they will have no choice but to expel them. The thing is that after hatching, turtles do no parental care and just leave the eggs at their nest. The problem will now be, what are you going to do with these unfertilized eggs? Now it is up to you.

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