Whenever we imagine a turtle, we imagine a hardy, ancient creature. One thing we don’t know, though, is that all turtles lay their eggs on land. Yes- even sea turtles. So, what do you do if a turtle lays eggs in your yard? And how do you take care of it?
Turtle mothers hide their eggs for protection, which is why you may find them on your lawn in the first place. But this often isn’t enough. In a natural setting, this may be a predator’s fault.
This isn’t the case for turtles in an urban environment, though. Here, the perpetrator isn’t a balanced food chain but rather a neglectful passer-by or an oblivious mowing machine. But not to worry. Here we’ll guide you on what to do if you find turtle eggs in your yard.
How to Identify a Turtle Nest?
First of all, you’ll need to identify the nest. Here are a few crystal-clear characteristics that will help you quickly identify it.
A turtle egg is usually characterized by its off-white color and round proportions. And because turtle mothers instinctively rely on concealment to protect their off-springs, they often dig into the ground to hide them from predators.
So, if you see several golf-ball-sized spheres surrounded by disturbed sand, dirt, or vegetation, then there is a sure chance that this is a turtle nest.
Why Do You Have Turtle Eggs in Your Yard?
There are many reasons you can find turtle eggs on your property. One reason is the favorability of the soil of your yard.
Turtles like to lay their eggs on sandy or moist soil, making some residential yards a good refuge. It’s also important to mention that most turtles’ habitats have been increasingly shrinking in the past decades. This leaves many turtles displaced and without safe nesting sites.
Your location, of course, is also a significant factor. Aquatic or terrestrial, all types of turtles lay their eggs on land. So, if you live near a coast or some woods, you’re more likely to have a visit from these amiable creatures.
So, it’s essential always to keep them in mind when mowing, planning, or renovating your yard to prevent further displacement.
What to Do if a Turtle Lays Eggs in Your Yard?
If you find turtles in your yard, you have two options. One is calling your local wildlife alert number to remove them from your lawn and to have experts deal with them. The other is taking matters into your own hands and taking care of the eggs on your own.
If you choose the second option, you might be overwhelmed with the idea that a sentient life depends on you. The good news is that caring for turtle eggs isn’t that difficult once you’re sure of what you’re doing.
7 Tips on How to Take Care of Turtle Eggs in Your Yard
In these few steps, we’ll help you save the eggs and protect your lawn from unwanted predators in one swoop.
- Identify the nest.
- If their location isn’t ideal, only move the eggs in the direction they are facing. Disorienting the eggs may cause them to stop developing.
- When in doubt, call your local wildlife alert number or a local expert on how to move the eggs. Take their approval on the re-location before taking any further action.
- Pinpoint and protect the nest. You can place a small shelter over it to prevent people from stepping on them or mowers from grazing over it.
- A wire basket is the best cover. As the eggs take 60-90 days to hatch, it’s important to choose wiring big enough for the turtles to walk through once hatched and small enough to protect them from predators.
- The more vegetation you add, the more you’ll keep predators out of your lawn and away from the vulnerable eggs.
- Monitor the eggs regularly and be ready for hatchlings.
How Do You Take Care of Baby Turtles?
If you wish to look after these amiable hatchlings, here’s all you need to know about it.
6 Tips on How to Take Care of Baby Turtles
- Stop using pesticides. They can prove harmful to the baby turtles and deprive them of their main diet as infants: insects.
- Place a brush pile (which is a dense, secure mound of small branches and logs) and extra vegetation. This will provide a safe habitat and hiding place from predators such as raccoons, skunks, crows, and bullfrogs.
- Place a shallow dish or birdbath for the baby turtles to hydrate and soak themselves. Make sure it’s shallow enough for them to climb out of easily.
- If you have aquatic turtles, adding aquatic plants that reside in their natural habitat to the shallow dish can provide plenty of hiding space.
- Keep your pets inside during this phase, especially those with a high prey drive.
- Light pollution in coastal areas can distort aquatic baby turtles ready to head to the sea. Make sure to turn the lights off at night or place them in a nice dark place before setting them free.
How to Look Out for Future Turtle Eggs in Your Yard?
Female turtles lay their eggs anytime from May to October, but August, in particular, is the turtle hatching season. So, if you’re going out for a late summer or early fall lawn-cutting spree, make sure to check the lawn thoroughly before dragging your mower out!
It’s also wise to keep an eye out a few weeks after that for turtle hatchlings that may come across your yard from surrounding nests.
Turtles aren’t just harmless, amiable creatures, but they’re essential for the eco-systems they reside in. Some research even proves that they can restore lost ecosystems. However, with their natural habitats and population numbers shrinking, it’s high time to share awareness on how to care for them.
So whether you’ll call your local wildlife expert or take care of them in person, learning what to do if a turtle lays eggs in your yard is essential for their survival, the surrounding habitat, and, arguably, your peace of mind.
So if you’ve stuck with us this far, you might just be one step closer to helping restore your home’s natural habitat and the little green-shelled creatures living in it.
I have two Associate’s degrees, one in Medical Assisting and the other in Computer Technician, and I am roughly five classes from a bachelor’s degree. Though I never ended up working in the medical field, I have five and a half years of experience in IT. I recently became a stay-at-home mom to my two young boys and also have two dogs and two cats. I grew up with pet dogs, cats, hamsters, budgies, cockatiels, and fish and also love horseback riding. In my spare time, I love to bake and read pretty much anything I can get my hands on.