General Care Discussion :: RES laying eggs for the first time

Taking care of your turtle's overall health.

Post Posted: Wed Nov 28, 2018 10:46 pm   RES laying eggs for the first time

I've got some turtle egg laying questions, but first a few details about the turtle. She was in a bad situation for the first four years of her life (no light, heat, small tank, etc..) and a someone at our school took her in and made her a school pet. We estimate now that she's about 7 years old. She was recently moved into a 75 gallon tank with a nice wide basking spot. The other day, she laid an egg in the water. She's never laid eggs before, but she definitely has more in there. I looked online and discovered how to make a nesting box using a large tub and top soil. I put her in today and put a basking light at one end (that was one of the suggestions). I left her in for an hour and someone else checked on her and then after 2 hours, I checked on her and put her back in the tank. We put the box in a quiet undisturbed place and she seemed content, but didn't lay any eggs.

How long can I leave her in the box? How many times should I try the box before we go to the vet? How often will she most likely be doing this? She lives alone, if that matters. Any advice you can give me would be appreciated.
annar
 
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Post Posted: Thu Nov 29, 2018 8:21 am   Re: RES laying eggs for the first time

Most manmade nesting boxes just do not work. They are very picky. Hard to predict soil mixture it wants. Making it as natural looking will help. Also in the quietest area will be best. Depending on what part of the world you live in ( winter's here ) an outside garden always work for me.

Read here and also click on links on bottom of that page for more how to prepare a nesting area. http://www.redearslider.com/reproduction.html
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Post Posted: Thu Nov 29, 2018 9:29 am   Re: RES laying eggs for the first time

Thanks. Unfortunately, we're in snowy winter right now, too. She was a little perturbed when I put her in the box, but by the time I took her out, she seemed okay with it. I'll give it a few more tries and hopefully, she'll get comfortable with the idea. In the mean time, I'm trying to figure out how to create an in-tank solution for the future. She lives in the school library, so I check on her during the day, but she's on her own in the evenings. At what point should I worry and take her to the vet?
annar
 
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Post Posted: Thu Nov 29, 2018 10:18 am   Re: RES laying eggs for the first time

Be working on a better nesting box. One 2-3x's as large as the turtle and substrate as deep as her carapace is long . Also as natural as she may find in the wild.

In tank solution ??? Not really. Some turtles ,may lay a few eggs in the water but most will retain them , not good , so nesting box. Egg retention ( dystocia ) will cause all kind of problems. On that link I gave you did you read the paragraph starting in (RED) caution .

Being your first time with egg laying I would be looking for a Herp Vet to be on the ready. Also being a school's pet turtle may find a vet that will treat / help free or even a nature center , spca , rescue centers … check all. Even post on schools bulletin board for someone in neighborhood that's experienced with turtles ( females / eggs ) for local hands on help. Female with eggs need's more attention than your daily checks being in a school. Thanks' for caring and helping her but being in a school you need help , hands on in house help , you can not watch her 24/7 alone. Try a different nesting box as above stated. Ask principal to make an announcement on the PA for others to help you being a school pet , teachers , students , parents .
Can school put a web cam on her so someone in school knows when it's time. May take more than one time with some turtles too. Will be a great educational experience for all . Ask the principal , can't hurt ! Ask principal to make it a school project ! With her being alone don't expect babies , the eggs will be infertile. Make sure all others / kids too understand that.

Safety // do not leave her in nesting box all the time or over the weekend will get dehydrated !
Also putting her in nesting box when "she's" not ready for it does not help. When she is going crazy to get out / escape is better time to put her in nesting box , that's her telling you she's ready to lay a few and or all of them.

Sure lots of kids will be affected if something goes wrong. For that reason "seek" vet.... help "before" problems show up , all will thank you. My school had a local vet that helped with all our school pets free. Some of us kids back then even offered to help around the vets place to help in return. Thanks for caring so much. If there's a next time for a turtle get a male , much easier , especially for in a school. I / we will be here to help too !
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Post Posted: Thu Nov 29, 2018 10:02 pm   Re: RES laying eggs for the first time

Thanks for all the advice. I should probably explain some things in more detail to allay some of your concerns. We do have kid helpers, in addition to teachers and custodians who are involved in her care. We've already explained to the kids that these are like chicken eggs that you eat. There won't be any baby turtles. In the library, she has eyes on her all day and after school the custodians are there until 11 and come in again at 7. They often give me the first reports of anything they've noticed about her. I was just doing the hourly checks when she was in the box.

I have a RES at home, which is why I jumped in on taking care of her. I did most of my RES education with him (with a lot of advice from here), but the egg thing is new to me. Because of my little guy, I'm very familiar with an excellent herp vet in the area. Vets around here don't treat school pets for free, anymore, but we have a turtle fund that will cover her. I was actually going to make an appointment with them today, but then I saw on their website, that they gave instructions on how to make and use a box, so I thought I'd give their recommendations a try first. The tub/box we made is exactly as you and the vet described it. When I said in-tank solution, I just meant that I've seen people make boxes that are either in the tank or on the side of it that give the turtle the option to go there on her own when she's ready.

I know all about the dangers of retained or bound eggs and I was thrilled when mine started growing those tell-tale front claws. Little did I know she'd fall into our laps. I know a lot of people have said that with boxes, you might have to put a RES in there several times and that's IF she lays in the box at all. I'll call the vet tomorrow and find out how long I can safely try it before taking her in.

Thanks for all your help! I'll let you know how it goes.
annar
 
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Post Posted: Sat Dec 01, 2018 5:49 am   Re: RES laying eggs for the first time

That is anecdotal, but if she's starting to expel them into the water, I think the period of time where she will want to make a nest has passed. You can certainly try nesting boxes if she still shows signs of wanting to lay them.
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Post Posted: Mon Dec 03, 2018 9:21 pm   Re: RES laying eggs for the first time

steve wrote:That is anecdotal, but if she's starting to expel them into the water, I think the period of time where she will want to make a nest has passed. You can certainly try nesting boxes if she still shows signs of wanting to lay them.


I hadn't thought of that, but it certainly makes sense.


Update: I took her to the vet and she passed all her eggs with the help of oxytocin. She needs some calcium supplementation for 30 days and they recommend she come back in a month for another x-ray to make sure she's still clear. Apparently, they can have back to back clutches.

Thanks for your help, guys!
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Post Posted: Tue Dec 04, 2018 12:36 am   Re: RES laying eggs for the first time

Thanks for the great update. It's true some girls once they start they keep them coming. Me being old now is why it's a males club only , less work.

Bet the school kids are happy she's Ok. Any photo's of her ?
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Post Posted: Tue Dec 04, 2018 4:42 am   Re: RES laying eggs for the first time

Did she nest right after the oxytocin or just laid them on the spot? As for back-to-back clutches, yes it happens often. If mating is involved (especially if she's stuck with a male in the tank) then it can happen year round. There are also instances of females with overactive ovaries. This can be a problem if she's having difficulty laying them.
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