Turtle laying eggs without mating? Why and What to do explained

Is your turtle laying eggs without mating? Are you wondering why this happens and what to do about it? 

Turtles may sometimes lay infertile eggs if they do not mate with male turtles. They will lay eggs once yearly as long as they are healthy. Laying eggs is an important part of the turtle’s life, so you should pay attention to how frequently your turtle lays eggs and the type of eggs they are laying. Even if it seems like they might not seem fertile, there is still potential that the eggs your female turtle’s eggs were fertile.

This article discusses how turtles lay eggs without mating, including why this happens and what to do when you find infertile eggs in your tank. Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about infertile eggs, like what to do with unwanted eggs. 

Can turtles lay eggs without mating and How Often?

Turtles can lay eggs without mating. Female turtles lay infertile eggs when they cannot find a male turtle to mate with.

It is critical that your turtles lay eggs yearly, or it can be fatal. In order to lay their eggs, they must be healthy and have a proper nesting area. Setting up a nest is an excellent sign that they will be laying their eggs soon. In contrast, if you notice that they are struggling to establish a nesting area, then you should assist them in cultivating a viable spot to lay their eggs. 

Infertile turtle eggs will not hatch

The major difference between infertile and fertile eggs is that infertile eggs will not hatch into babies. The eggs are not living and will not hatch later on. You can see this by holding a light to the bottom of the egg in a dark room. If the egg is infertile, you can see directly through the egg. 

No need for incubation

There is no need to incubate infertile turtle eggs because you are not trying to hatch a living animal. You only need to incubate fertile eggs because these eggs have turtle babies inside. Incubation keeps the turtles warm while they are in the development process. 

Infertile eggs have a difference in color

Infertile eggs are yellow or white, not red or pink like a fertile egg. The different colors make distinguishing the type of eggs easy. The main reason the colors are different is because of the contents inside of the egg.

They have different interior components 

Scan a light into the egg and see what you can find on the interior of the egg. The egg is considered infertile if you cannot see something in the egg when holding a light to it. When you can see the sign of an embryo or veins inside the egg, that means the egg is fertile. 

Why do turtles lay infertile eggs?

Turtles lay infertile eggs because they cannot reabsorb the vitamins and minerals created during their ovulation cycle. A large majority of female species have eggs that they use to reproduce. Turtles are no exception to this fact. The egg-laying process is different for turtles since they must lay their eggs to remain healthy.

At what age do turtles start laying eggs (fertile and infertile)?

Turtles will begin laying eggs once they reach maturity. The age of maturity varies for each turtle, ranging between roughly two and three years old. Their years of ovulation will then vary between ages two and fifty years. They will begin laying eggs and then continue laying eggs from that point for the rest of their lives. 

How do you know turtles are almost ready to lay its eggs?

You know turtles are almost ready to lay infertile eggs when they have developed a negative attitude and have finished nesting.

Change in behavior

You may also notice that your turtle is acting grumpy. When your female turtle’s attitude changes, they are closer to laying their eggs. They may be less social toward you and standoff-ish, staying in only one area of the tank where they have made a nest.

If your turtle lives alone

Your turtle will lay infertile eggs if they have never come into contact with a male turtle while mature. It is critical that you do not dispose of eggs until you confirm they are infertile, especially if you are uncertain whether your turtle has come into contact with a male while mature.

Female turtles can retain sperm in their bodies for several years, making it possible to produce fertile eggs even years after they have come into contact with a male. 

How to make the laying process more comfortable for your turtle

You can make the egg-laying process more comfortable for your turtle by maintaining the proper balance of salt in their bodies. They will cry when laying their eggs in the wild because they may bury their faces in the sand. They bury their faces in their sand while straining to lay their eggs. Crying also helps maintain the salt ions in their bodies. 

Is the infertile egg-laying process different than the fertile egg-laying process?

There is not a significant difference between the fertile and infertile egg-laying process. It takes a female turtle the same amount of time to produce and birth infertile versus fertile eggs. It can also take the same amount of time to produce infertile eggs compared to infertile eggs.

What to do with infertile eggs?

You can leave eggs in your turtle’s enclosure so they can eat them. It is a valuable source of vitamins and nutrients for your turtle. Turtle eggs are a valuable food source for your turtle, so it is essential that you allow your turtle to eat them.

If you are uncomfortable with feeding your unfertilized turtle eggs to your turtle, there are other strategies for getting rid of your infertile eggs too. You can dispose of your turtle eggs or donate them to a local breeder who will use the eggs.

Dispose of the eggs

Dispose of the infertile turtle eggs. After checking to confirm there is no living creature inside the eggs, you can carefully dispose of the eggs. You can simply dispose of the eggs in the garbage if you do not want them. There is no additional step necessary for disposing of infertile turtle eggs.

Can you eat your turtle’s infertile eggs?

You should avoid eating unfertilized turtle eggs since they differ from chicken eggs. Turtles do not produce eggs as quickly as hens have their eggs, so you should be more mindful of how you treat them. Plus, turtles can store sperm for several years before producing fertile eggs. Therefore, you should naturally dispose of the eggs instead.


Chris is a reptile enthusiast, breeder, and blogger from the Milwaukee, WI area. After breeding hundreds of bearded dragons to supply local pet stores and owning many other types of reptiles, he is now focused on sharing knowledge to help owners properly care for their little reptiles friends.

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