How Long Does It Take For Turtle Eggs To Hatch?

There’s nothing cuter than catching a glimpse of turtle babies as they come out of their shells.

But how long does it take for turtle eggs to hatch?

We’ll be discussing the hatching periods for different species of turtles in this article. Check it out.

It takes 2 months for turtle eggs to hatch. The exact incubation period will vary depending on the species of the turtle and the temperature of the nest, among other factors.

Now, that was pretty general, so let’s get more specific.

Are you ready to see how the incubation period changes amongst different species of turtles?

Then make sure you check out the extended guide below.

turtle coming out of egg

How Long Does It Take for Turtle Eggs to Hatch?

On average, turtle eggs incubate for 2 months before hatching time begins. This is true for most hatchlings, including sea turtles, freshwater turtles, and land turtles.

But the exact time it takes a turtle to hatch will vary depending on its species. So, let’s take a look at some of the most common species and see how long it takes for them to hatch.

  • Box turtles hatch within 2 months of incubation. Most box turtles hatch in the late summer to early fall.
  • Young Painted turtles emerge within 72 and 80 days. If they hatch successfully, they will emerge from August to September. If the Painted turtles are from later clutches, the hatchlings spend the winter in their nesting spot and emerge in the spring.
  • Freshwater hatchlings like the common snapping turtle will hatch after 80 to 90 days.
  • Aquatic turtles take 50 to 60 days to hatch.

How Long Does It Take For Sea Turtles to Hatch?

sea turtle egg fetch

A lot goes on in an aquatic turtle’s life between hatching and becoming a juvenile in the wild open sea. So, we’re going to have a closer look at the process step-by-step.

Building the Nest

Female turtles will only come onto land when it is time for them to lay eggs. They will usually come onto land at night to lay eggs in the sand.

Her nest will be a circular hole that is about 45 centimeters deep. It will take one to three hours for her to build the nest and lay the eggs.

She will usually build a number of decoy nests in the moist sand to confuse predators. 90% of baby turtles in undisturbed nests will hatch, however, less than 25% of the babies will hatch if humans or animal predators trouble the nests.

Incubation Time

Female turtles will lay 50 to 350 eggs per clutch. It takes 50 to 60 days for the turtle eggs to hatch.

Many species of sea turtles lay eggs all year around, but they lay the most eggs in the early summer months.

The incubation period can vary slightly depending on the following factors:

The Sex of the Baby Turtles

The sex of the sea turtles depends on the temperature of the sand around the eggs. Eggs in a warm environment are more likely to be female, and those in a cooler environment are more likely to be male.

Hatching Time

Most sea turtle eggs hatch during the night. Those that hatch at night have less exposure to predators and human activity and are more likely to survive.

Sea turtle eggs normally hatch all at once. They use their temporary egg tooth (carbuncle) to break through the soft eggshell.

After breaking through the shell, they begin to dig up and out of the sand. But this is no immediate process as hatchlings spend 3 to 7 days digging to get out of their nest.

The baby turtles at once scramble across the sand to the sea, where they will ride prevailing surface currents to deeper waters.


Larger sea turtle babies can move faster through the sand and are more likely to survive than smaller sea turtle hatchlings.

Larger baby sea turtles are not usually the main target of predators because they are too big for them to handle. Smaller turtles are very vulnerable.

Here are the most common predators to baby sea turtles.

  • Sea birds
  • Foxes
  • Raccoons
  • Ghost crabs
  • Wild dogs
  • Fish
  • Dingoes
  • Weasels

All 7 Species of Sea Turtles and Their Hatching Times

So, we’ve spoken about turtle babies in general, but the species of the turtle affects the time it takes for their eggs to hatch. That’s why in this next section, we will be considering every species of sea turtle and how long it takes for their eggs to hatch.

Are you ready to get to know the species better?

You’re about to find out more about the following:

  • Flatback turtles
  • Green turtles
  • Hawksbill turtles
  • Leatherback turtles
  • Loggerhead turtles
  • Kemp’s Ridley turtles
  • Olive Ridley turtles

Flatback Turtle Eggs

Let’s start the ball rolling by diving into the world of Flatback turtles.

How long do they take to hatch?

Flatback sea turtles have an incubation period of 50 days. The eggs will begin to hatch between December and March.

Here are some interesting facts about Flatback hatchlings.

  • Flatback hatchlings are larger than any other sea turtle hatchling. Their large size helps them to get to the shore faster and makes them less of a target for predators.
  • An adult Flatback sea turtle will nest every 2 to 3 years.
  • Nesting season is between November and January.
  • Flatback turtles lay fewer eggs per clutch than other sea turtles. They usually lay 50 eggs per clutch.
  • If the temperature in the nest is lower than 84°F, most of the baby turtles will be male. If the temperature in the nest is higher than 84°F, most of the young turtles will be female.
  • Flatback turtle eggs are 5 cm in diameter, the second largest of all sea turtles.

Green Turtle Eggs

Another type of sea turtle we’re fascinated by is the Green turtle.

How long does it take for Green turtle eggs to hatch?

Green turtle eggs take 50 to 70 days to hatch.

Here are some of our favorite facts about Green turtle eggs.

  • A female Green turtle will lay 85 to 200 eggs per clutch.
  • The female will return to the beach every 2 weeks to nest.
  • The eggs are white, round, and about 4.5 cm in diameter.
  • Lower nest temperatures of 82°F or cooler produce more male turtles.
  • Higher nest temperatures of 88°F or warmer produce more female turtles.
  • Nest temperatures that constantly fluctuate produce a mix of both male and female hatchlings.

Hawksbill Turtle Eggs

Hawksbill turtles live in oceans all over the world.

But how long does it take for their eggs to hatch?

Hawksbill turtle eggs hatch at night after an incubation period of about 2 months.

Here are some interesting things about the Hawksbill turtle eggs.

  • Hawksbill hatchlings are dark-colored when they emerge from their eggs.
  • In the Caribbean and Florida, Hawksbill turtle egg nests contain about 140 eggs.
  • Hawksbill turtles lay eggs on 60 beaches around the world.
  • The hatchlings have heart-shaped carapaces.
  • These female sea turtles lay 3 to 5 nests each season.

Leatherback Turtle Eggs

Leatherback turtles are the largest turtle species. It takes 2 months for their turtle eggs to hatch.

Are you ready to get to know the Leatherback turtle a little better?

Then here are some fun facts about their young turtles.

  • Leatherback turtles, unlike most turtle species, might choose a different beach from the one they were born on to nest their eggs.
  • They have very delicate shells, so they usually lay eggs on the softest beaches. Their shells harden as they get older.
  • Because these turtles have poor night vision, females will usually lay their turtle eggs to hatch on beaches with large, dark forested areas. The contrast between the dark forested areas where they lay their eggs and the bright sea helps them navigate better.
  • The average clutch contains 110 eggs.
  • Young turtles are 5 to 8 cm long.

Loggerhead Turtle Eggs

The Loggerhead female turtle will position her nesting sites close to the sea to help the hatchlings escape animal predators. The reptile eggs hatch within 2 months.

The Loggerhead turtle is really interesting. Here are some of the most fascinating facts about this turtle family.

  • The prime time for most Loggerhead turtles to begin laying eggs is between April and September.
  • A mother turtle lays 100 to 120 eggs per clutch.
  • Most baby turtles are brown or black and then develop red and yellow colors as they get older.
  • Hatchlings in the middle of the nest tend to be the largest.
  • If the temperature range of the sand surrounding the laid eggs is around 82°F or cooler, more males hatch.
  • If the sand surrounding the turtles’ eggs is around 90°F or warmer, more females hatch.
  • Nest temperatures around 86°F produce a mix of both male and female hatchlings.

Kemp’s Ridley Turtle Eggs

The Kemp’s Ridley turtle is the most endangered species of sea turtle in the world. Let’s find out a little more about their eggs.

A Kemp’s Ridley turtle’s eggs will begin to emerge from their nesting burrows after 50 to 55 days of incubation.

Here’s everything we love about this unique turtle species.

  • Hatchlings that reach the sea spend time living in floating seaweed beds during the first years of their lives. They use the floating seaweed as a place of refuge and rest. They also use it to feed on small animals.
  • Female mother turtles arrive in large groups of hundreds or thousands to lay their eggs on the Rancho Nuevo beach in Mexico.
  • Nesting occurs between April and August.
  • This is the only species that nests mostly during the day.
  • There are about 100 eggs in a clutch.
  • The hatchling turtle’s body weighs about 14g.

Olive Ridley Turtle Eggs

Olive Ridley turtles are the second smallest species of turtle in the world. Let’s get to know this little guy and the hatching process a little better.

The Olive Ridley turtle’s egg clutch will spend 45 to 65 days incubating before the hatchlings emerge.

  • The mother turtle might lay her clutch on her own, or she might join mass nesting.
  • Hatching time may delay if the weather conditions are not adequate.
  • If the temperature in the nesting box is between 88°F and 90°F, only females hatch.
  • Temperatures under 82°F at the nesting site cause only male turtles to hatch.
  • If the temperature in the birth nest is between 84°F and 86°F, a mixed batch of males and females will hatch.

A Turtle Egg In Artificial Incubation

Many turtle species are vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered. Because of this, artificial incubation of turtle eggs takes place to conserve the threatened turtle populations.

During the incubation, the turtle eggs are kept in a dark room to mimic the dark surroundings of their normal hatching habitat. For the few weeks of their incubation, they are kept at the right temperature to ensure their healthy development and increase their survival rates in the wild.

The Timeline of an Incubated Turtle Egg

Incubated turtle eggs go through a lot of changes from when they are laid to when they hatch and are ready to release into the wild. Here’s what you are to expect.

  1. The eggs when first laid, have a blueish-white hue.
  2. After 2 days, the eggs will become a chalky white color. Aquatic turtle eggs might have a chalky white stripe on them.
  3. When you hold the egg over light, in time, you will be able to see the blood vessels in the egg.
  4. Some eggs will take longer to hatch than others. The time the egg takes to hatch will depend on the species of the turtle.

A Rundown on Hatching Baby Turtles

babies turtles

Baby turtle eggs that are in a suitable nesting area have a higher chance of survival. This article has helped us to see that most turtles will hatch within 2 months of egg laying.

The incubation period may alter slightly depending on the size of the clutch and the species of the turtle.

Did you find the information in this article interesting?

At Oddly Cute Pets, we are always striving to provide you with the best articles about turtle eggs, bird eggs, and other baby animals. For more guides about turtles and other animals, check out our website.

Thanks for reading!

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