Recover eggs from injured or dead reptiles

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
    not assessed
  • Certainty
    not assessed
  • Harms
    not assessed

Study locations

Key messages

  • Two studies evaluated the effects of recovering eggs from injured or dead reptiles on their populations. One study was in each of the USA and Columbia.



  • Reproductive success (2 studies): One replicated, controlled study in Columbia found that eggs recovered from harvested Magdalena river turtles had similar hatching success compared to both relocated and natural turtle nests. One replicated study in the USA found that 64% of eggs recovered from road-killed red-eared sliders hatched successfully.


About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. 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
  2. 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
Please cite as:

Sainsbury K.A., Morgan W.H., Watson M., Rotem G., Bouskila A., Smith R.K. & Sutherland W.J. (2021) Reptile Conservation: Global Evidence for the Effects of Interventions for reptiles. Conservation Evidence Series Synopsis. University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

All the journals searched for all synopses

Reptile Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Reptile Conservation
Reptile Conservation

Reptile Conservation - Published 2021

Reptile synopsis

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