All 328 living turtle species reproduce by depositing eggs. In most cases, as with yellow-bellied sliders (Trachemys scripta scripta), females deposit the eggs in small chambers, dug into soft sand or soil. Females generally produce clutches of about 10 to 12 eggs per clutch, and may produce two or three clutches per season. The size of the eggs, but not that of the clutch, tends to reflect the size of the female.
Yellow-bellied slider eggs are oval in shape, and feel slightly leathery. They are about 1 inch wide and almost 1 1/2 inches long. They are light colored, and sometimes have patches that are undercalcified and look slightly translucent. They swell slightly as they incubate, drawing water from the surrounding soil.
The gender of yellow-bellied sliders is determined by the temperature at which they are incubated -- a phenomenon called temperature dependent sex determination. Those exposed to temperatures in the low 80s -- approximately 81 degrees Fahrenheit -- become males, while those incubated around 86 degrees become females. Intermediate temperatures produce a mix of both genders.
- Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images