Recover eggs from injured or dead reptiles
Overall effectiveness category Awaiting assessment
Number of studies: 2
Background information and definitions
When gravid female reptiles are killed, for example as a result of harvesting or as road collisions, it may be possible to collect eggs from carcasses for incubation in captivity.
Studies that discuss artificially incubating reptile eggs collected from wild-laid nests are included under Relocate nests/eggs for artificial incubation.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A replicated study in a laboratory in Illinois, USA (Tucker 1995) found that after incubating eggs recovered from road-killed red-eared sliders Trachemys scripta elegans, more than half of the eggs hatched successfully, and hatching success was higher for eggs from turtles found with intact shells compared to those with open shells. Forty-three of 67 (64%) eggs hatched successfully, and hatching success was higher for eggs recovered from turtles with intact shells (30 of 35, 86%) compared to those with open shells (13 of 32, 41 %). Of 32 turtles that were found on a road having been hit by a vehicle, nine contained 2–21 unbroken eggs. One turtle survived and was later released after laying eggs. Unbroken eggs were transferred to a laboratory and partially buried in perlite incubation medium in plastic containers (32 x 19 x 10 cm), with aluminium foil layered under the lid. Clutches were incubated separately. A road was searched for turtles hit by vehicles at least twice daily during the nesting season (months not given).Study and other actions tested
A replicated, controlled study in 2005–2006 in one wetland and two riverbank sites in northern Columbia (Correa-H et al. 2010) found that hatching success of Magdalena river turtles Podocnemis lewyana was similar for eggs recovered from harvested adult turtles compared to eggs from relocated nests and natural nests. Hatching success was statistically similar for eggs recovered from harvested turtles and buried in artificial nests (21%) compared to those from relocated nests (58%) and natural nests (41%). In 2005, seven clutches of eggs were recovered from turtles that had been harvested by local people and incubated in artificial nests that were dug into the riverbank. In 2005–2006, a further 24 nests were relocated higher up the beach away from rising river levels and 22 nests were left in place. All nests were covered with wire mesh cylinders (1 x 1 cm) that were 40 cm wide and 50 cm high, with a 3 x 3 cm plastic mesh on top. In February–May 2005–2006, beaches were searched daily, with the aid of dogs Canis lupus familiaris, to locate turtle nests. All nests were inspected daily and excavated after hatching, or after 74 days of incubation.Study and other actions tested