Study

Some options to induce oviposition in turtles

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Use hormones and/or other drugs during captive-breeding programmes to induce reproduction/birth

Action Link
Reptile Conservation

Relocate nests/eggs for artificial incubation: Tortoises, terrapins, side-necked & softshell turtles

Action Link
Reptile Conservation
  1. Use hormones and/or other drugs during captive-breeding programmes to induce reproduction/birth

    A replicated, controlled study in 1978–2006 in a laboratory in the USA (Feldman 2007) found that inducing eastern painted turtles Chrysemys picta picta with oxytocin did not affect hatching success when compared to eggs from natural nests, and that 13 turtle species could be induced using oxytocin and arginine vasotocin (AVT) on their own, or in combination with other drugs. Painted turtle hatching success was similar for oxytocin-induced eggs (57 of 62, 92%) and natural nest eggs (58 of 60, 97%). Across 13 turtle species, the number of turtles that laid all eggs after their first injection was 64–97% with oxytocin (0.7–4 units/100 g), 0–50% with AVT (5–50 ng/g), 33–90% with oxytocin and ketamine (<25 or 35 mg/kg), 50% with oxytocin and propranolol (14–38 µg/kg), and 57% with AVT and propranolol (11–14 µg/kg). Sixty painted turtle eggs were collected from wild nests, and 14 turtles were collected before laying and induced with oxytocin (1.4–2.5 units/100 g), yielding 62 eggs. All eggs were incubated in vermiculite. In total, 245 inductions of 13 species of turtle were carried out (1–42 individuals/species): 195 with oxytocin, 22 with AVT and 28 with a combination of drugs. Oxytocin and AVT was injected in to the abdomen and ketamine and propranolol were injected into the shoulder muscle.

    (Summarised by: William Morgan)

  2. Relocate nests/eggs for artificial incubation: Tortoises, terrapins, side-necked & softshell turtles

    A replicated study in 1978–2006 in a laboratory in the USA (Feldman 2007) found that when eastern painted turtle Chrysemys picta picta eggs from natural nests and from turtles induced with oxytocin were artificially incubated, most hatched successfully. Fifty-seven of 62 (92%) of oxytocin-induced eggs and 58 of 60 (97%) natural nest eggs hatched successfully, and there was no difference in the hatching success or incubation period (average of 58 days) between oxytocin-induced and natural eggs. Sixty painted turtle eggs were collected from eight wild nests, and 14 turtles were collected before laying and induced with oxytocin, yielding 62 eggs. All eggs were incubated in a 50:50 mix by weight of vermiculite and water. Oxytocin (1.4–2.5 units/100 g) was injected into each turtle using a syringe.

    (Summarised by: William Morgan)

Output references
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