Water Turtle Hibernation and Breeding
Do not hibernate your turtles if they are unhealthy or sick!
We recommend not hibernating your turtles unless you are going to breed them. Besides, it’s not fun to watch a sleeping turtle, is it?
Sliders in the southern states can be kept outside all year round, in which they will hibernate on their own. That’s if you have provided them with a deep enough pond with a thick mud bottom for the turtles to bury themselves in.
Water Turtle Breeding
Ah, the subject of love and reproduction! Here are some basic steps of breeding your water turtles. However, if this is a hobby that you are interested in getting into, I highly recommend that you first research the subject for more extensive information. If you are willing and able to keep all the baby turtles, or able to find homes for these baby turtles, then it is okay to breed your turtles.
If you answered no to one or more of these questions, then I recommend not breeding your turtles and to destroy the eggs.
To begin, you need to have at least a pair of sexually mature turtles. That means the female is at least five years old, and the male is at least three years old. They must be healthy. If your turtles are new, wait until after you have had them for a year. Breeding usually starts in the fall. It is recommended that you cool the turtles that you want to breed. You do this to simulate the actual seasons of breeding. It also brings better breeding results.
January and February is the cooling period lasting 6 to 8 weeks long. To do this, turn off all the heating and keep the temperature around 50F to 60F degrees. It’s normal that your turtles will eat little or nothing at all. Let your turtles have their quiet time and leave them be. You want to feed your turtles well during this breeding season of love. Ensure that the female gets enough calcium and vitamin D3.
You must provide a nesting area. For this, you can use a box. It has to be easily accessible for your turtle. It must have about 12 to 16 inches deep of slightly moist soil, sand, or moss. Water turtles can lay several clutches per summer consisting of two to ten eggs. There are a few weeks between each clutch, and their laying usually takes 24 to 48 hours per clutch. After the eggs have been laid, remove the eggs. DO NOT TURN OVER THE EGGS! To help, you can mark the top of the egg with magic marker ensuring that you don’t turn the eggs over.
Have a box with moistened Vermiculite (equal parts water and vermiculite; by weight). You can get Vermiculite from most garden centers. Make small impressions in the Vermiculite and gently position the egg in. You can separate stuck eggs by gently pulling them apart. If they won’t come apart easily, leave them alone. Seal the container and make air holes. Inspect at least once a week, but not everyday. Keep the temperature around 82F degrees.
It has been said that the temperature around 75F degrees yields mostly males and around 85F degrees mostly females. Do not keep them too warm as temperatures around 100F degrees will kill them. Keep the eggs moist by spraying them carefully. Depending on the temperature, hatchlings can take between 60 to 120 days to hatch. After hatching, keep the babies separate from the adults and in shallow water. Feed them at least once a day. The babies are mostly carnivorous, but offer the fruits and veggies too.