How Long Does it Take for Turtle Eggs to Hatch?

Turtle eggs will hatch between 45 to 90 days. Although it’s hard to determine the actual period when the turtle eggs hatch. It depends on different variables like the depth and temperature of their nest. This is also dependent on the environmental conditions.

The turtle eggs should also be well taken care of if they are in an incubator. Therefore, the hatching period of the eggs will vary. Some turtles can hatch earlier than others. It can take days or even weeks apart from the other turtle eggs. All you can do is wait for it.

Seeing them in a turtle tank is way different than seeing them in the wild. It makes you wonder how these creatures reproduce. Even in the harsh conditions of nature, they continue to lay their eggs. But how long does it take for turtle eggs to hatch? That question will be answered in this article.

turtle eggs

How Long It Takes for Different Species of Turtle Eggs to Hatch?

There are many different species of female turtles. They all have a variety of hatchling periods. For land turtles, their eggs usually hatch after 45 to 90 days. It’s recommended to check in the turtle eggs after six weeks. It takes a long time for those who want to see the hatchlings but it’s worth it.

  • Land Turtles – 45-90 days
  • Green Eggs – 45-55 days
  • Loggerhead Eggs – 45-55 days
  • Leatherback Eggs – 70-80 days

What is the Sea Turtles Hatching Period?

There are different types of sea turtle eggs. Some examples are green eggs, leatherback eggs, and loggerhead eggs. The green eggs and loggerhead eggs can take around 45 to 55 days to hatch. While the leatherback eggs can take a little longer than 70 to 80 days. It can take longer depending on the development of the turtle inside.

Once the incubation period is over, some hatchlings will come out of their shells as soon as an hour after. But other hatchlings may take days before they can get out. Many turtle eggs hatch between 9 PM to 5 AM. Turtle eggs may take a long time before they mature and finally hatch. So you have to be patient to ensure that the hatchlings will come out from their shells safely.

Why Do Some Turtle Eggs Take Longer to Hatch?

It’s only natural for turtle eggs to make sometime before they hatch. The baby turtles need to develop inside until they are ready to get out of the world. The exact duration can be determined by different factors. These are the type of turtle species, the size of the best, and the temperature of the external environment.

There are more than 300 turtle species around the world. They are categorized as sea turtles, freshwater turtles, and land turtles. Turtle species lay different types of eggs that come with distinctive features. These factors affect the length of hatching. Turtle eggs usually take some time to hatch.

Size of the Turtle’s Nest

The size of the turtle best depends on the clutch size and its depth. Depending on the turtle species the clutch size will vary. Leatherback sea turtles can produce around 110 eggs which means they have a big clutch size. The giant softshell turtle’s clutch size has 24 to 70 eggs. If the clutch size is big, it can lengthen the time before all the turtle eggs hatch.

Temperature of the Nest

Many turtle species need to have a temperature of approximately 85 to 90F. The temperature of the best can also affect the hatching period. If the temperature is too low or extremely high, it can take longer for the eggs to hatch. There is also a possibility that the eggs will end up damaged by that.

How Long is the Incubation Period of Sea Turtle Eggs?

The hatching day of the turtle eggs may vary. It’s not easy to predict the exact incubation for turtle eggs. It will depend on different variables such as the temperature or depth of the best. In the Maldives, the sea turtle eggs are incubated for around 49 to 62 days. But for colder regions, it will take 80 days.

Turtle nest incubation period can take from 40 to 73 days in Kenya before they hatch. It may also vary depending on the nesting seasons and the beaches along the coast. While on the northern part of the coast, the shortest incubation period has been recorded. While in the Gulf of Oman in Iran, it will take 61.7 days for turtle eggs to hatch.

How Turtle Eggs Hatch?

A lot of turtle keepers are surprised when their pet turtle suddenly lays eggs. Especially if the turtle is alone inside the enclosure. The reason for this event is because female turtles can keep the sperm of the male turtles in their bodies.

It can stay there for several years before the female turtle lays eggs. So what will you do when your pet turtle suddenly lays eggs? You can either take the eggs to a professional breeder or hatch them yourself.

In the wild, female turtles and tortoises lay their eggs on land. They dig a hole from the ground and place their eggs there. After they are done laying the eggs, the female turtles will go back to the sea or pond. The hatchlings will need to survive on their own once they are born.

How to Recover Turtle Eggs from Their Nest Safely?

Turtles lay their eggs on the best they dug up in the soil or sand. But if you plan to incubate the eggs inside, don’t move them instantly. Just leave the eggs in their nest between 2 to 3 days until they are already chalked over. Chalking over is when the shell of the eggs are whiter and stronger. That’s the time it will be safe to move them to another area.

Cover the nest with something like a cage if the best is outside. Make sure that the air can still pass through it. The nest should be protected by predators. When the eggs no longer have a bluish-white color, you can remove the eggs from the nest carefully. Don’t turn the egg in any way or it can harm the embryo since it’s still fragile.

After you uncovered the eggs, don’t turn or topple them. The change in the orientation may kill the embryo. Put them in an egg holder that’s surrounded by moist sphagnum moss. Make sure that it’s the right size for the egg not to be damaged. Brush off any dirt from the shell using a paper towel.

Once it’s done, you can write numbers on the top of the eggs. Use a pencil to mark the eggs to remember the right side up for the egg. The numbers will also let you track their progress. After that, the eggs are ready to be moved to the incubator. It’s time to wait patiently until the turtles finally hatch.

How to Build Your Own Incubator?

It’s important to set up the perfect incubating environment for the turtle eggs to be incubated properly. This has to have the right temperature as well as the humidity level. It’s a lot easier to replicate these conditions thanks to the new technology. But if you want to build your own incubator, it can be complicated to do it by yourself.

There are some incubating setups that have been used before. They were able to incubate the turtle eggs successfully and hatch them. What you need to master is about getting the perfect balance of temperature and humidity. The turtle eggs need to receive the right amount of heat and moisture. If not, they will take longer to hatch or fail to do so.

If you have water turtle eggs, they need to have a more humid environment. Terrestrial turtles don’t need a kit of humidity. For turtles from the dry desert, they have adapted to produce even in higher temperatures and humidity conditions. So make sure to learn more about what type of turtle you have.

For new turtle breeders, it’s recommended to use a professional egg incubator instead. These incubators already have a built-in thermostat installed. It can provide the perfect balance of temperature and humidity. This will help you maintain these conditions throughout the incubation period. Fill the egg containers with moist sphagnum moss and mist regularly.

What’s the Best Turtle Egg Incubators?

Incubators can hekonthe eggs to mature since it provides the appropriate humidity and temperature. The embryo might die if the right conditions are not available. The eggs will never hatch anymore if that’s the case.

Incubators can ensure that the embryo will grow and have a stable temperature. The best incubator will help the turtle eggs to be ready to hatch. That way, it can survive once they need to go back to the water. It will provide them with the right amount of energy to survive the world outside.

Zoo Med ReptiBator Egg Incubator

Zoo Med Laboratories - Reptibator Egg Incubator - RI-10

$142.98  in stock
6 new from $142.98
as of 12/02/2023 9:21 am

It’s one of the best incubator brands around. Zoo Med offers different reptile cars products. That can range from food, hearing lamps, and incubators. It also has a lot of positive feedback from its customers. This incubator is digitally controlled and made for reptile eggs. It controls the temperature because of the pulse proportional thermostat.

This incubator can be manually operated as well. You can regulate the temperature and see that from the LED heat indicator light. The temperature range it has is from 15C to 40C. While the humidity is between 10%-95% relative humidity. It can perfectly incubate the turtle eggs with the right temperature and humidity.

It’s a lightweight and medium-sized incubator. That means it’s portable and can be moved anywhere once the eggs are hatched. The built-in programmable temperature alarm is also a great feature. The alarm will be activated when the temperature changes. The transparent lid will let you monitor the eggs easily. It’s recommended for those who want to ensure the turtle’s eggs will hatch successfully.

Happybuy Reptile Incubator

Happybuy Reptile Incubator Scientific Lab Incubator 25L Automatic Incubator Cooling and Heating 5°C to 60°C 12V/110V Reptile Egg Breeding Hatchery Work for Snakes Wall Lizard and Turtles

$149.99  in stock
as of 12/02/2023 9:21 am

Another incubator for turtle eggs is the Happybuy reptile incubator. It comes with cooling and heating functions. This incubator supports temperatures between 36-140F or 5-60C. You can incubate turtle eggs and also let the turtle hibernate indoors. It allows you to control everything since it has a glass door and a big temperature display.

It’s a good choice since it’s a 2 in 1 device. Aside from incubating turtle eggs, your turtle can also hibernate in this. Whatever egg incubator you choose, don’t keep it away from direct sunlight. The temperature may fluctuate if it’s located in a dark area. That can damage the egg and fail to hatch. Just be meticulous about choosing the right incubator.

Can You Build Your Own Turtle Incubator?

Yes, you can build your own incubator if you want to do it. But it’s not a simple process and can be tedious. Unlike the automated incubator, you will need to constantly check the temperature for this one. But you can build an incubator if you like to do that. Below are the steps on how to build your own turtle incubator.

  • Prepare the aquarium and fill it with sand and sphagnum moss.
  • Bury the eggs carefully in the sand without turning them.
  • Avoid digging too deep since the eggs don’t have to be far from the surface.
  • Put a thermometer beside the eggs to allow monitoring.
  • Add a cup with water to act as a humidifier and mist the sphagnum moss regularly.
  • For the thermostat, use an aquarium bulb or a gooseneck lamp to keep the temperature at 84F.
  • Always check the temperature and ensure it’s distributed evenly since too much heat can damage the eggs.

How Long Should You Wait for Turtle Eggs to Hatch?

There are many different turtles and tortoises around. The eggs require different conditions and times to hatch. For land turtles, their eggs take around 45 to 90 days before they hatch. When they are in the wild, the external weather conditions significantly influence the time frame on how long the turtle eggs hatch.

One example it’s the box turtle eggs. The ones that are laid in the late autumn will not match before spring. The hatchlings will hibernate their shells. Once the weather becomes warmer, they will start to break their shells and come out. Sometimes, the eggs are infertile so they will not hatch anymore.

How long does it take for different turtle species eggs to hatch? Below are the most popular pet turtles and the amount of time their eggs hatch. It includes information about their clutch size as well as the ideal temperature and humidity level for their incubation.

1. Box Turtles

  • Clutch size: 4-6 eggs
  • Time to hatch: 45-90 days (maybe significantly longer over the winter months)
  • Humidity: 80%
  • Ideal incubation temperature: 84F (29C).

It means that if you are incubating box turtle eggs at 72F, you will get all males and at 88F, you will have all females.

2. Red Eared Sliders

  • Clutch size: 2-30 eggs
  • Time to hatch: 60-110 days
  • Humidity: 80%
  • Ideal incubation temperature: 82F (28C).

If you are incubating red-eared slider eggs at around 72F, you will get all males, and above 86F will become all females.

3. Painted Turtles

  • Clutch size: 4-10 eggs
  • Time to hatch: 65-75 days
  • Humidity: 80%
  • Ideal incubation temperature: between 77F (25C) and 87F (30C).

The higher temperature will produce all female hatchlings. A temperature of around 84F (29C) is recommended if you want to have male hatchlings.

4. Musk Turtles

  • Clutch size: 1-3 eggs
  • Time to hatch: 60-125 days
  • Humidity: 80%
  • Ideal incubation temperature: between 77F (25C) and 87F (30C).

The lower temperature will produce all-male hatchlings. We recommend a higher temperature to have higher temperatures to produce female hatchlings instead.

5. Russian Tortoises

  • Clutch size: 1-5 eggs
  • Time to hatch: 50-90 days
  • Humidity: 75-80%
  • Ideal incubation temperature: 88-89F (31-32C).

6. Wood Turtles

  • Clutch size: 5-15 eggs
  • Time to hatch: around 90 days
  • Humidity: 80%
  • Ideal incubation temperature: between 82F (28C) and 86F (30C).

How to Know If the Turtle Egg is Fertile?

Turtle species have a lot of different characteristics that are unique for their eggs. The texture of the eggshell depends on what turtle species it belongs to. There is some chalky or bland eggshell texture. Some are even soft and wobbly for some species.

Two days after being laid, the turtle eggs will have a bluish-white color. It will come off naturally once the shell is more harder and opaque. This will change into a whiter tone after some time. That means it was chalk over which happens with aquatic turtle eggs and even semi-terrestrial turtles as well.

The development of the turtle eggs can be checked by using a flashlight. It will illuminate the egg and make it translucent. The beam of light will make the yolk and blood vessels visible under it. The yolk is located at the bottom of the egg initially.

After some time, the blood vessels and other parts of the egg can be figured out. Leave the egg in the incubator and give it time before checking it again. If you don’t see the blood vessels, there’s a chance that it’s an infertile egg. But it’s best to give it more time to develop and check it again afterward.


1. What Turtles Do After They Hatch?

Hatchlings will use their temporary egg tooth which is called caruncle. It will help them to crack and open the shell so they can get out of it. This will take 20 minutes or even longer before the hatchling is free from its shell. In 2011, the University of Western Sydney made a discovery. Some freshwater turtles can communicate with other embryos.

The other embryos will increase their development rate. It will help them to be harsh within the same time as others. After that, hatchlings will take 3 to 7 days to dig and reach the surface. Their embryonic egg sac will provide them with the nutrition they need.

It can last for a few days until they can find their own food. They usually emerge from the nest at night to avoid predators. When the night falls, they leave in groups and head for the water. Box turtles have a different way which is, leaf litter.

2. What Do Freshwater Turtle Hatchlings Do When They Hatched?

Freshwater turtle hatchlings will immediately feed once they reach the water. They will eat water plants, algae, insects, small fish, and crustaceans. As eggs, they were preyed on by rodents, snakes, and other animals. When the eggshells harden, they will look less attractive to predators.

Most of them will be basking in the sun and climbing on logs and rocks. When the winter comes, some will go into hibernation. But the young painted turtles will return to their nest instead. That’s if the hatchling survives the swimming frenzy and manages to avoid the predators in the water.

3. What Do Marine Turtle Hatchlings Do When They Hatch?

Sea turtles will rush to the ocean once they reach the surface of their nest. It’s a dangerous journey to the sea where predators are waiting for them. One in 1,000 hatchlings may survive to become an adult. The hatchlings that make it out to the sea will be floating in seaweed to find some food.

When they rush to the ocean, they also imprint their orientation on the magnetic field of the Earth. That’s why female turtles can go back to the same beach where they were born. Even if 30 years or more had passed, they can always find their way. But the bright lights on the beach will disorient the turtles and lose their way.

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