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Eastern Mud Eggs: need quick advice!

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Posted by: seahorses4ever at Sun Aug 22 15:43:05 2010  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by seahorses4ever ]  

Sorry if this is wordy. It is my first post. If you don't wanna read much, in a nutshell, I have an eastern mud turtle who we thought was a boy...but she's not because she just laid egg(s)and we need some advice. Her habitat is outside but we'll have to move it inside. I've read that eastern mud turtles kind of care for their eggs so I don't want to just take them from her because she's made a nest and hasn't left it. What should I do?


My boyfriend and I *love* turtles. We live in the mountains of NC but I am from the coast. When I went to visit my family in June, my dad found a turtle and gave it to me. I kept turtles when I was growing up but I'm not sure what kind they were. Apparently I used to bring home all sorts of creatures so my dad just gave in and built a screen box habitat for me on the back porch and I could just put whatever I wanted in there. I had two baby turtles for the longest time, a garden snake, some frogs, minnows and crawfish. I always fed my turtles reptomin and they liked it. (Eventually they ended up eating the crawfish too.) I never had a problem caring for any of these animals and by the time I started middle school I'd let them all go so I figured hey, I can definitely take care of this turtle.

Anyway, my dad told me it was "a water turtle." They don't have the internet so I decided to take the turtle back with me and give it to my boyfriend for his birthday. I should've let it go but I didn't know if it was injured and I thought it'd be a nice, meaningful gift.

We named him Jack Kerouac because we found him On The Road (literary reference.) We made him a nice habitat with both dirt, rocks, and water and all he wanted to do was bury himself. We tried feeding him reptomin, earthworms, crickets, roly-polies (probably a regional term for those little grey bugs that live in rotten wood and roll up into little balls when you mess with them,) both raw and cooked chicken, and canned tuna. He wouldn't eat. I took him outside and let him walk around in the woods but he just tried to bury himself there as well.

We moved into a house about a week and a half after I brought him home and we were able to create a giant habitat for him. It has a shallow pool of water (about 2" and a deeper pool of water (about 6", gravel, aquarium rocks and organic potting soil. We planted a sweet potato plant which has since taken over the habitat so he has plenty of shade. He likes eating the leaves and roots. We filled it full of eathworms and he probably eats them too. I put feeder fish in there sometimes but he hasn't eaten one yet. The habitat is outside so there's a lot of bugs and other things (like slugs) living in it too. Recently he's been spending most of his time in the deeper water.

Two days ago I took him out so I could clean the water. It is distilled water and rainwater. We empty it and spray it out every couple of days because it does not have a filter since he lives outside. (We will set one up soon.) When I was cleaning it I found what I thought was a rock but when I picked it up I realized it was an egg! We're pretty good at researching things and we were both in agreement that Jack was a boy because of the shape of his shell and his tail and claws. Wrong.

I didn't know what to do with the egg so I took it out and placed it in a small container of rainwater and went inside and looked it up. After reading, we went back outside and buried the egg in her habitat. We cleaned the water and put her back in.

At first she got back in the water but then that night she got out and made a little nest where we'd put the egg. She's been in the nest for a day and a half. The top of her shell is visible but that's it. When she buried herself before, it was as deep as she could go.

The soil is very moist because it's been raining. The temperature this week has ranged from about 68*-85*. It is going to get cooler and her species is not native to this area. I feel guilty about not thinking it over before I brought her, and we were going to take her back in September on our vacation but now that she has eggs we think we'll move her inside. I know that the egg I found in the water will probably not hatch. I don't know if she has laid more eggs because I don't want to disturb her.

I read somewhere that eastern mud turtles kind of care about their babies and that's probably why she's nested. I don't want to take the egg(s) away from her as long as she's in her nest with them.

So, if she leaves, should I take them? Will it upset her? I know now to keep them in their original position and that they need moist soil and a temperature of around 85*. I know to put them in a box in a warm place. Does it need a lid? Do I need a reptile light for the eggs?

If there's more than one, should I take them all out or leave them all, or maybe do half and half? Should I just pick her up and see how many eggs I can find, or should I not disturb her? We'd really like for them to survive. If this happened we'd likely keep the babies until we could take the time to go to my parents' and set them free in their natural habitat when it's warm enough. We'd probably keep one of the babies if we could.

Advice, please.
Jack in her habitat
Jack in her habitat


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>> Next Message:  RE: Eastern Mud Eggs: need quick advice! - rick d, Mon Aug 23 22:22:52 2010