Turtles & TortoisesPetsTurtles And Tortoise Breeding & Incubation

Softshell Turtle Eggs Help

Reader Question: 
I had a Florida softshell turtle lay eggs in my yard on may 22nd. Well about 1 month ago I had a coyote come into my yard in broad daylight and start digging it up. I was able to chase him off since he was in my yard,where my kids play. I have 16 eggs all with babies in them, he only ended up getting 6 eggs. Today is day 65 and there are still no babies, but i candled one last night and they’re alive! Has anyone ever hatched softshells if so how long did it take?

Answer 1:

Egg hatching varies so much with the temperature that it is hard to say.  They should be getting ready to hatch.  Do not rotate the eggs as they need to stay in the same orientation as they were laid.  The coyote could have moved some so they may never hatch, but since you have candled them, you know they are alive. It’s a good idea to put an X or a dot on the top of the egg so you know how to put them back into the incubator without rotating them.  Keep the eggs moist but not wet so they don’t dry out too much or grow mold if they get too wet.

You might want to get a nursery set up for those who do hatch.

An animal rehabilitator in your are can be of great help with specifics about softshells.  They may be rare, and most of the turtles are best left in the wild, but since they are so small, they probably will need special help to survive.  Contact a vet in your area to locate a rehabber or google to find one.

So many people do rescue eggs and shelter them in a hatchling state. That’s great that you did this.


I use to have a neighbor that bred and sold turtles so i know quite a bit about the incubation process. They stay at 80-83 degrees and 80-90 humidity, none have been turned, i just wasn’t sure about hatching time as all articles i read said 59-60 days i guess they just need some more time. There are 3 that are flaking or peeling and almost all the rest have cracks but no piping. Thank you for your reply! 

Answer 3:

I do think that since the eggs are changing in the positive with flaking, peeling and cracks, that you have live babies.  I understand that some turtles actually take about 1 week to completely hatch.  Then, they still have the egg sac under their belly/plasteron which cannot be disturbed since the little guys use this as a food pack for about another week.  Then, they might start actually eating.

I would love to see pics of the baby softshells.  Don’t know much about these kinds of turtles, but you can google “care sheets” for softshells and should find lots of info.  This web site home page does have care sheets.  austinsturtlepage.com is also a good site.

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