Eastern Box Turtle covering her eggsReptiles & Amphibians

Turtle nesting

Eastern Box Turtle completing nestDuring late spring, you’re likely to see more turtles crossing roads and occasionally digging holes in your yard. Around mid-May, most of North Carolina’s 15 turtle species (not counting five seaturtle species) begin to lay eggs. They usually pick open spots where sun strikes the ground for at least part of the day. Aquatic turtles may travel a hundred yards or more from a pond or creek to find a good spot. Eggs that aren’t gobbled by predators typically hatch in 60 to 80 days. Hatchlings laid after June usually remain in the nest cavity over the winter and emerge the following spring.

Yellow Slider turtle making nestAlvin Braswell Yellow-bellied Slider nesting: Females going onto land to lay eggs fill their bladder with water to help soften the soil so they can excavate a cavity for the eggs. Once the eggs are laid, the female scrapes the wet soil back in and over the hole, and actually packs the soil to some degree. Many females will then scrape some loose vegetation debris back over the nest to further camouflage it.

Q: "What should I do if I find a turtle nest?"

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