red eared slider nesting box

Red-eared sliders lay their eggs yearly, usually in the spring and summer. If you want your turtle to lay eggs, it is critical that you build a nesting box for your red-eared slider during this time. This article will discuss how to build a red-eared slider nesting box and why it is necessary.

What is a turtle nesting box?

Simply put, a nesting box is where your red-eared slider can lay eggs comfortably. It is meant to encourage a natural nesting site for your turtle, which means it should have damp loose soil to make your red-eared slider more relaxed.

Let’s get started on building a red-eared slider nesting box.

How to build a Red-eared slider nesting box

To build a red eared slider nesting box, you will need premium top soil, a large plastic container, and a spray bottle.

It is important that the plastic container is at least 25 gallons. To get started, you should fill the plastic container up with about 6 inches of top soil. It is important that your turtle has enough space to dig. This is a good plastic bin you could start with.

red eared slider nesting box

Next, lightly spray the entire surface area of the top soil. You want to make sure the substrate is wet, but not soaked. If you don’t have substrate already, I suggest this turtle nesting substrate that is made specifically for a turtle nesting box/eggs.

substrate for red eared slider nesting box

In order for a red-eared slider to lay eggs, she needs to feel safe and protected. To help her feel save, you should put the lid or towel over around 75% of the box.

If you keep your red-eared slider indoors, it is important that you put her in a room that is quiet and away from loud noise or other disturbances. If soil gets dry, you can spray it again to make it moist.

You should leave your turtle in the nesting box for 2 hours max. If they don’t lay eggs, you should return them to their tank or enclosure.

If they still don’t lay eggs, you can try putting their nesting box outside. The natural light and humidity might make her feel more comfortable.

If you’re not sure of the signs, you should check out my article on how to tell if a turtle is pregnant.

Nesting box inside enclosure

If you have an enclosure with ample space, you can build a nesting box inside your red-eared slider’s enclosure. Building a nesting box inside an enclosure is recommended because your red-eared slider can enter it at any time, and you won’t stress her out by constantly moving her to a separate nesting box.

If you have more than one female red-eared slider in the same enclosure, you’ll need to construct multiple nesting boxes.

You’ll need a large hide box, topsoil and sand for the substrate, and some rocks and logs.

  1. Choose a location, preferably near your red-eared slider’s basking area.
  2. Make a three-to-two mixture of topsoil and sand. Mist the substrate lightly and gently pour it onto the area. The depth of the substrate should be between 4 and 6 inches.
  3. On top of the substrate, place a hide box. This will make your red-eared slider feel more at ease, as most turtles prefer laying eggs when they feel hidden.

Below is an example of a hide box.

The only disadvantage of building a nesting box inside an enclosure is that it may cause your enclosure to become dirtier much faster. Because the nesting site contains soil and sand, your red-eared slider may move back and forth from the nesting site to the water, which can make the water in your tank cloudy.

When do red-eared sliders lay eggs?

A female red-eared slider will lay eggs once a year, even if she does not have a mate, just like chickens and ducks. They will begin laying eggs around the age of five, so it is critical to construct a nesting box during this time.

Symptoms of a pregnant red-eared slider

When a red-eared slider is about to lay eggs, they kick or dig with their back legs. They also become fidgety, lose appetite, and try to escape their enclosure. If you notice these signs in your red-eared slider, building a nesting box is a good idea.

What happens if your red-eared slider doesn’t have a proper nesting box?

Your red-eared slider may not lay eggs if she does not have a nesting box. If this happens, they may develop Dystocia or egg binding. This is a condition caused by an inability to lay eggs, and it is common in many reptile species.

Dystocia, or egg binding, can result in the death of hatchlings, scarring of the reproductive tract, decreased fertility, inflammation, and even the female’s death.


The key here is patience with your red-eared slider. If there is no other option, you may need to take your red-eared slider to a veterinarian for surgery to ensure that the eggs do not remain inside your turtle.

Hopefully, this article helped you figure out how to build a red-eared slider nesting box. A lot goes into caring for a red-eared slider, and as responsible owners, we must do everything we can to mimic their natural lifestyle. Good luck!