General Care Discussion :: Female YBS Egg Laying Issues

Taking care of your turtle's overall health.

Post Posted: Fri Feb 28, 2020 2:06 pm   Female YBS Egg Laying Issues

Hi, one of my turtles is having trouble laying eggs again and I was hoping you could help me troubleshoot.

I have two female YBS turtles, both around seven years old (I think) sharing a 130 gallon tank with an egg crate partition. There is no male in the tank. I raised both turtles from hatchlings, but one is now significantly larger than the other.

The smaller one has issues laying eggs. Her shell is around five inches long. Every year, she goes through long periods where she scratches at the side of the tank, kicks her legs, refuses food and generally struggles. She used to escape a lot. She'll repeat this process for two to three weeks, then she'll expel 3-5 eggs into the water and she'll be fine until a few more weeks have passed and this starts all over again. It can start as early as November and end as late as July. This year she hasn't laid any eggs yet that I am aware of. Last year I counted over thirty eggs (these are just the ones I saw). She often starts scratching at night. Sometimes she hurts herself when we're sleeping. She once managed to knock the heat lamp over on her turtle topper when she was in this state and the bulb melted the plastic side. I keep feeling as though that could have gone a lot worse.

The larger turtle never seems to have any problems and I've never actually seen her eggs (though I may have found some of her egg debris in the tank). I can never tell when she's in her egg-laying season.

I've tried a different things. I live in an apartment with no garden, so I made her a nesting box based on an online tutorial. I used top soil, I dampen it, I put her in there for a few hours at a time. Sometimes I clip the basking light on, sometimes I don't. I don't know which is better, I just know she makes a lot of use of the basking dock whether her light is on or off. She used to burrow into the soil more, but now I think she mainly just waits for me to put her back. I'm still using it (she's in there right now), but she has never once laid any eggs in the box, but I have known her to occasionally lay them in the water shortly after spending time in the box.

I have taken her out of the apartment and let her burrow outside, but it seemed to stress her out and she didn't lay her eggs. I also felt I easily could have lost her in the dirt, so I really don't want to do that again.

I upgraded the aquarium last year and built new turtle toppers. When she was in the old aquarium, if she was eggy, she would sit on the basking spot and use her hind legs to flap the makeshift ramp up and down. She'd do this for hours and she'd almost go into a trance. We think she was simulating burrowing. The new dock/ramp are pretty much the same, but she isn't lifting the ramp up and down any more.

It seems as though she always manages to lay all of her eggs in the water eventually and I'm pretty sure that will happen this year, but in the meantime I just feel bad for her. She seems uncomfortable and I don't know what to do to make her feel better or speed the process along.

Open to any suggestions!
TheMVB
 
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Post Posted: Fri Feb 28, 2020 3:25 pm   Re: Female YBS Egg Laying Issues

One thing is turtles are very picky on man made nesting areas. What they use one year is not what they are looking for a year later. Turtles ??
Back in my hay day I had females in my in ground pond I made an 10’x10’ nesting area. Over years had sections of it with different medium. Some would use it but my Minnie never would . She always came to the bench and made a nest on the side of it in regular soil. My more successful medium was one part vermiculite , one part sand and three parts top soil.
With the vermiculite it holds moisture better than wetting the soil without it being wet and for a longer time alone with being easier to control moisture level.
It’s just that turtles are very picky ! Some wild turtles go great distances to lay eggs from there pond.
No secret formula with turtles that fits all …
Being in an apartment get a large tote from the dollar store place your medium in it and place potted plants live or plastic all around it to make her feel more comfortable/safe , or cover all the sides , may work for her.
litefoot
 
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Post Posted: Fri Feb 28, 2020 4:24 pm   Re: Female YBS Egg Laying Issues

I forgot that I added sand to the soil about a year ago, but I'll look into adding the vermiculite and plants. I hadn't even considered plants, but that makes sense to me, thanks!

I did glance in and see her kicking the soil with her hind legs earlier, so that's something I guess.

Any other ideas? I'm still open to all suggestions.
TheMVB
 
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Post Posted: Sat Feb 29, 2020 12:34 pm   Re: Female YBS Egg Laying Issues

Have you felt for eggs to confirm? Since there is no male present and she's kept indoors, it's possible she doesn't have a schedule as to when she wants to lay them.

Also like to add that I also think moisture in the substrate is important. Good luck!
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steve
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Post Posted: Sat Feb 29, 2020 10:39 pm   Re: Female YBS Egg Laying Issues

I haven't felt for eggs, no, but I don't need to, I recognise the behaviour by now. I'll try adding more water to the soil.
TheMVB
 
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Post Posted: Sun Mar 01, 2020 3:49 am   Re: Female YBS Egg Laying Issues

That's where with the vermiculite you can control the moisture much better. It's prevents the ground from being too saturated but still has plenty of moisture and holds air too , acts like little sponges in the soil holding water and air. Takes a long time to dry out , moisture is always there.
Can be found at any big box store in the plant section , used for the special needs of some rare plants. "Not" the vermiculite used for a fire place's it's made differently.
litefoot
 
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