Painted Turtles have been engaging in intricate, underwater courtship (consisting of mutual stroking) and mating since March or April. Females can store sperm for several months, enabling them to delay egg-laying, as well as to lay several clutches of eggs. Nesting activity peaks in June and early July, when females leave their ponds to dig holes in sandy soil and gravel (lower left photo) in which they deposit 3 – 15 oval, white eggs. Note in the lower right photo, taken after the turtle had departed, that the turtle buries her eggs and tamps down the earth so effectively it’s hard to detect that the ground has been disturbed.
In August or September Painted Turtle eggs hatch and most of the young turtles head to nearby ponds. Occasionally, in northern New England, the young overwinter in the nest and emerge the following spring. (Photos by Jody Crosby)
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