why do turtles dig holes in your yard

If you live next to a pond, lake, river, swamp, or other body of water, chances are you have turtle visitors in the late spring. With habitats shrinking due to land development, new roads, and even changing climate, turtles are traveling further, trying to locate a place to lay their eggs. More people are reporting turtles digging in their yards or along their driveways than ever before. So what does this all mean? First, CONGRATULATIONS, this is a real gift from nature.


Very few people get to witness such a miracle of life. You are witnessing an act that has been taking place for over 200 million years. That mother turtle is doing what her mother did, and in turn, her mother's mother did, all the way back through time, while dinosaurs roamed, and even earlier! The real miracle is that this humble turtle was never taught, never witnessed her mother, and yet she knows. Nest selection is a very special process.


That turtle in your yard chose your yard. Turtles visually look for a spot, then they sniff and rub their faces into the soil, and finally they dig. If something is not to their liking, they will keep searching, even if they already dug a deep hole. The turtle knows how important this act of nesting is for her species survival and so should we! Too many local populations are collapsing and it is all because that mother turtle, looking for a special spot, is unable to complete her task.
If you keep your turtle in an outdoor enclosure, youвll need to take measures to protect the nest from predators and keep the babies from escaping once they hatch.


A simple way to do this is to cover the nest with wire mesh. If you have an indoor turtle who lays eggs in her terrarium, you will need to remove the eggs and incubate them to prevent the mother from accidentally crushing the nest. A good method is to place them in a small plastic tub filled with vermiculite or potting soil and place the tub under a heat lamp.


Be sure to mist the eggs regularly with distilled water to keep them moist. Turtle eggs generally take between 75 and 90 days to hatch, and baby turtles spring from the egg fully equipped to feed and care for themselves. Their shells are soft, and they are easy meals for predators such as raccoons and skunks. They will need continual protection.

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