Turtle Mating – Why Does the Male Turtle Flutter Its Claws?

Turtle mating-have you ever wondered how these slow-moving and serene animals procreate?

Thanks to the substantial information that is now available regarding turtles and their anatomy, physiology, quirks and oddities, we now know quite a lot about how they mate.

The languid turtles have limbs that are comparable to those of tortoises, but the turtles’ feet have elongated claws. Their long claws serve them in mounting logs in order to bask in the sun, an activity that they seem to enjoy, and which is essential to their thermoregulation. Their long claws also come in handy when they move or clamber from one place to another on land. Did you know, however, that these long claws also serve a purpose in mating?

Before the actual mating happens, male turtles will usually fight over a female. This “courtship stage” among the competing males can last up to forty-five minutes. The bigger male would normally be aggressive, and display its dominance towards the other turtles by fighting and clawing at their faces. There are also some classes of turtles, such as the Red-Eared Slider, which mate underwater. When the dominant turtle finally establishes its superiority among the other male turtles, it will then scuttle over or swim towards the female to mount her and begin mating–that is, if the female is receptive to him! If not, she may become aggressive towards him. Turtle mating ranges from ten minutes to several hours.

If the female accepts the advance of the dominant male, the male will use his long claws in a seemingly odd manner. Just prior to mounting the female, the male turtle will begin to flutter his claws in a vibrating motion on the female’s face. Sometimes the turtle will also do the same waving gesture on the female’s head. Generally, it is the back side of its claws that the male turtle uses during this behavior. A turtle owner, who had personally witnessed this behavior, added that after the male had asserted his dominance over the other males, his biggest male turtle began stroking the female’s nose using its claws. Within minutes, the female turtle had allowed the male turtle to mount her for mating.

Some experts claim that male turtles do this in order to stimulate the female for mating, while others state that this behavior is the male’s natural manifestation of excitement.