Reproduction Timetable of Hillary Sideneck Turtle (Phrynops hilarii):
Stage 1: Courtship and Mating (September - November):
- During this period, male Hillary Sideneck Turtles become more active in their search for females.
- Males may engage in courtship behavior such as head bobbing, chasing, and biting the female's tail.
- Mating takes place in the water, with the male mounting the female from behind and clasping onto her shell with his forelimbs.
- Mating typically occurs in September to November, although exact timing can vary.
Stage 2: Nesting (November - January):
- After successful mating, females will start looking for suitable nesting sites.
- Nesting usually takes place between November and January.
- Female Hillary Sideneck Turtles prefer sandy or well-drained soil near bodies of water for nesting.
- The female digs a hole with her hind limbs, typically 10-15 centimeters deep, and deposits her eggs.
- The clutch size can vary but is usually between 5 and 20 eggs.
Stage 3: Incubation (January - March):
- Once the eggs are laid, the female covers them with soil and returns to the water.
- The eggs are left to incubate in the warmth of the soil.
- Incubation typically lasts for about 70 to 90 days, depending on environmental conditions.
- The temperature during incubation plays a crucial role in determining the sex of the hatchlings. Cooler temperatures produce males, while warmer temperatures produce females.
Stage 4: Hatching and Emergence (March - April):
- When the eggs are ready to hatch, the hatchlings will use a specialized egg tooth to crack open the eggshell.
- Hatching usually occurs in March or April.
- The newly emerged hatchlings make their way to the surface and head towards the nearest body of water.
- They are vulnerable during this time and need to reach water quickly to ensure their survival.
Stage 5: Juvenile Development (April onwards):
- Once in the water, the hatchlings begin their journey as juveniles.
- They will spend their time swimming, foraging, and growing.
- The juvenile Hillary Sideneck Turtles continue to develop, gradually acquiring the physical characteristics and behaviors of adults.
- The duration of this stage can vary, but it typically lasts for several years until the turtles reach sexual maturity.
It's important to note that the specific timing of these reproductive stages may vary depending on the region, environmental conditions, and individual variations within the species. This timetable provides a general overview based on the known behavior of Hillary Sideneck Turtles (Phrynops hilarii).