My family and I found a turtle crossing our street a few days ago. We took it in and are considering keeping it as a pet for the following reasons:
Firstly, we live in a suburban area of Massachusetts and there are quite a lot of roads where we live, so it doesn't seem like the safest area for a turtle to be wandering around in. Secondly, I looked online and identified it as a Red Eared Slider, which is apparently an invasive species in our area. So, I thought we might be doing the local ecosystem a favor by taking it in.
We don't have any experience of keeping turtles as pets; however, we are aware that this species is very commonly kept as a pet. It is possible it may have been someone else's pet in the past, which escaped or was released. However, it has clearly been in the wild for at least some time, as it seems to have a busted right eye and the back portion of its shell looks like something has tried to chew on it.
Anyway, a couple of days ago I saw it trying to dig a hole in the lawn with its claws. So, it appears to be a female that is trying to lay eggs. I did some reading online and I understand that if it has eggs then it needs to lay them, otherwise it can be bad for its health. So, going by a video on YouTube, I have tried to make a nesting box for it out of a cardboard box that I have filled with soil. Over the past couple of days, I have put her in the box and left her for an hour and a half several times, but I haven't seen any sign of her trying to dig into the soil. She seems a lot happier trying to dig in the middle of the lawn; however, our soil is quite firm and I'm not sure if she will be able to dig a good enough hole there.
So, to summarize, my questions are:
- What can we do to help/encourage this turtle to lay its eggs?
- Is it feasible to keep this turtle as a pet, or should we just release it? As far as I can tell, it doesn't seem stressed out and seems calm enough when one of us handles it.
Any advice would be appreciated!