Red-Eared Slider: Days From Hatching

“Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming, that’s what we do, we swim.” ~ Dory

Whenever we do a ‘spot check’ on the turtle embryos, we can’t help but sing Dory’s song as their little feet visibly paddle through the liquid with the introduction of bright light:

Hey Mr. Grumpy Gills!
When life gets you down,You know what you do?

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming
Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming
What do we do, we swim, swim, swim.

More than a month ago, we excavated nine eggs from the yard to bring indoors for incubation, protecting baby turtles from certain death by predation (skunk and racoon love eggs). Since then, they’ve been kept at near constant temperature and humidity under a heat lamp in the laundry room, which differs little from the inside of our house this time of the year.

Eighty-two degrees seems quite cool when it’s 94 outside.

Turtle Incubator

All Cozied In For A 2-Month Nap

Nine Eggs

78-82° F
70-85% Humidity

Occasionally, the clutch goes to the powder room where it’s nice and dark and, with a flashlight, their progress is checked. There are no duds as far as we can tell — all nine eggs are viable, live baby turtles. In the wild, they rely solely on their DNA blueprint to know what to do and where to go at hatching. Though no ones know exactly how, water turtles instinctively go toward the nearest water source, just like their ocean-going relatives, with no parents in sight or to offer assistance.

Turtle Embryo

Head to the right, his nickel-sized back is facing the camera phone.

We will post one last time on the saga when the turtles hatch and are released into the creek. Though the process of ‘bringing up’ a clutch of turtle eggs is not difficult, domestication of a living animal species is not exactly our cup of tea.

Wild is wild.

Stay tuned!

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