How Do You Know If Your Turtles Are Mating?

How Do You Know If Your Turtles Are Mating
Written by Emma Watson

Turtles are egg-laying reptiles that breed through sexual reproduction. Though turtles can lay an egg without mating. however, only those eggs produce fetuses that are produced by the sexual contribution of both genders (Know more about turtles and tortoise laying eggs with mating and breeding)

 So, if you are interested in breeding your turtle, it is best to understand its mating behaviors and provide conditions accordingly. In this article, we are going to talk all about the mating of a turtle. Moreover, how can you recognize this behavior in turtles? So, let us continue.

While you may miss exact mating timing, it is easy to detect if the female has undergone the process.

“Insert your finger in the shell of your pet turtle for examining. If you feel lumps, then your female turtle is pregnant. These lumps will form eggs in the future.”

Mating Behaviours In Turles:

Mating in turtles requires cooperation because of turtles’ shells. Mating can only take place with the entwined tails. In the wild, usually, there is competition between male members of the species. The strongest and most dominant get the females’ attention.

While the mating behaviors vary from species to species, they all have one thing in common; impressing the female and making it ready to cooperate. For this, they may swim in front and side of females or brush their heads with their claws.

In some species, the behavior of the dominant male is aggressive to keep the female in the position and immobile during the process. It may sometimes also lead to an injury. However, in most pet turtles, the behavior is more subtle and cooperative by both partners.

Also, turtles may produce certain noises during mating. To know in detail about this, you may link to our article Do Turtles Make Noise? However, we will talk a bit about these sounds here.

Different Voices During Mating:

During the process of mating, you will hear different voices. Some people find these voices irritating, while others find them amusing. These voices are due to the male turtle’s lungs under pressure.

While mating, a male turtle rams his shell into the shell of the female. This can also make a cracking sound.

Age Of Mating:

Turtles mate when they are mature. There are approximately 356 species of turtles that are living on the land.  Different species have different ages of maturity. Turtles are usually matured during the age of 3 to 5 years. The best age for their mating is 5 years.

  1. Males get mature before females. (in 3-4 years)
  2. Females are matured after males. (5 years approximately)
  3. Different species of turtles will require different times to get mature.

Seasons Of Mating:

Turtles usually mate during the rainy, monsoon, spring seasons. They can reproduce both sexually and asexually. In the case of sexual reproduction, you have to keep them together for at least 8 weeks with appropriate temperature (close to room temperature 25C).

The difference between both of the reproduction is given below:

Sexual Breeding Asexual Breeding
Male approaches the female (Tickles her swims and rolls around her until she allows)
Females lay eggs on their own.
Can lay eggs from 2 to 12
Can lay eggs up to 12
These eggs will hatch
Usually, these eggs will not hatch

How To Take Care Of The Female Turtle After Mating?

If your turtle has mated successfully, you just need to shift the female turtle into another tank. This tank must have a proper UVB light and an area for basking. Shifting is compulsory to avoid her contact with other male turtles.


The eggs can hatch after several days depending upon the temperature. You can also hatch the eggs by using some artificial devices, for example, an incubator. The difference between natural and artificial hatching is given below:

Incubator Hatching Natural Hatching
Eggs will hatch in less than 50 days It can either be 20 days or 30 days
It will require 80 days to hatch
Maximum days will be 50
It can take 100 or more days
This method "can affect" the lifespan of the hatched eggs (Less than expected)
The lifespan of hatched eggs will not be affected

How Do Turtles Take Care Of Their Eggs?

Turtles bury their eggs in the soil. This can save their eggs from the attack of any predator. Since the eggs require the proper temperature for their hatching, a proper temperature is acquired by burying them. Another critical question that can arise in your mind can be:

If Turtles Are Semi-Aquatic Animals They Why Do Mother Turtles Lay Eggs On Soil But Not In Water?

The answer to this question is that the eggs are pretty sensitive. Moreover, they also require oxygen for breathing. The oxygen supply is inadequate even though we can say that the oxygen ‘cannot be supplied in water to the eggs. But outside the water, they can absorb oxygen either from the atmosphere or from the soil.

Why Do Mother Turtles Eat Their Eggs?

They eat their eggs because of the following reasons:

  1. The egg is not fertilized properly.
  2. If they do not find any place to hide/bury them. They feel threatened by the attack of predators, so they eat them.
  3. Turtles require calcium in their diet for living and mating. If they lack a calcium-rich diet, they eat their eggs.

Mating In Sea Turtles

The process of mating is a bit difficult for sea turtles. The female turtle has to carry the weight of both the male and the female/herself. In addition, she has to swim up to the surface of the water for them to breathe properly.

 If there is more than one male turtle in the tank, then the male mating turtle will stick to the back of the female. In this way, exposure of female turtles to other males is prohibited. At the same time, the male turtles will try to separate them either by biting or pushing him.

Multiple Mating

Multiple mating occurs when a female turtle has mated with more than one male turtle at once. In this case, the female has the ability/choice to store the sperm of other males to fertilize the eggs in the future. In this way, a large number of next generations which may be of different types will produce.

Why Do Female Turtles Require A Separate Nesting Area In Addition To A Tank?

Turtles always lay eggs on the soil and cover them. This is done to maintain the oxygen level for the eggs. For this reason, they require a separate nesting area for them to lay the eggs. If you are not providing your pet turtle a nesting area, this can cause some problems:

  1. She will either store the eggs inside her, which will be dangerous for her. This can cause several health problems.
  2. She will lay the egg in the water. This will be dangerous for the eggs as they are unable to breathe in water. So the eggs will die before hatching.


Mating in turtles is the natural process for producing offspring and species growth. For all the fellows interested in breeding their turtles, considering the mating pattern of turtles and their behaviors is essential to get the required results.

I hope this article helped you to have enough knowledge and understanding of breeding in turtles. In case of any further queries, drop down your comment or contact us. We would be happy to help.