Do Turtles Have Nipples? Do They Produce Milk?

Nov 17, 2021

Do Turtles Have Nipples

From making transatlantic journeys to breathing through their butts, turtles have surprised everyone with their peculiarities. These super animals walked the earth before dinosaurs, outlived them, and have survived five mass extinctions. 

So, will turtles surprise us one more time? We will be discussing how strong their maternal instincts are. Do they have mammary glands? And how do they rear their babies? 

Without further ado, let’s begin.

Do Turtles Have Nipples?

No, turtles do not have nipples. None of the 356 species of turtles have nipples. So, they do not breastfeed their babies. In fact, they do not care for their babies at all. Instead, they will simply leave the nest after laying eggs. 

Do Turtles Have Breasts?

Turtles do not have breasts, nor do they breastfeed their hatchlings. They just lay eggs and leave long before the eggs hatch.

So, How Do The Turtle Hatchlings Get Their Nutrients?

Credits: Nicholas Petrone (CC License)

Turtle hatchlings get the required nutrients from the embryonic egg sac. They will feed on the yolk, which provides them with much-needed energy for the first few days. 

Once the yolk supply is exhausted, they will make their way towards the water.

Fun Fact

Credits: Bex Walton (CC License)

Did you know that turtle embryos can communicate among themselves when they are inside the eggs?

This way, the less advanced embryos increase their development rate to hatch simultaneously as others. 

Hatching at the same time increases their survival rate. 

Once they are ready to venture out into the wild, they will wait for the night to fall to avoid predators.

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Should You Feed Dairy Milk To The Baby Turtles?

No, you shouldn’t feed dairy milk to baby turtles. Turtles are lactose-intolerant and should not consume any dairy-related products. 

Can Baby Turtles Drink Soy Milk?

Yes, baby turtles can drink soy milk, as it has no lactose in it. It is made from soy and has other nutrients necessary for baby turtles. 

Since soy milk comes from plants, it is free of cholesterol and has a low saturated fat content. However, they are an excellent source of protein, calcium, and potassium for your turtles.

Do Turtles Look After Their Babies?

No, turtles do not display maternal behavior towards their babies. They will leave the nest after they lay eggs.

Turtles search for dry places to make nests. After finding a suitable spot, they will dig a pit, lay eggs and bury them.

There have been reports of some turtles caring for their eggs for a few weeks after laying them. However, they must be anomalies. Nurturing isn’t something that comes naturally to turtles.

Mother turtles do not dig just one nest. Instead, they will dig multiple nests and choose only a few of them to lay their eggs in. 

Turtles are intelligent reptiles. They do this to fool predators into digging the wrong nest and keep the actual nest safe. 

So, I guess we cannot call turtles totally heartless.

Reproductive Organs In Turtles

Female turtles have reproductive tracts in their anteroposterior – they have ovaries, oviduct, and cloaca. 

The oviduct has five organs; infundibulum, uterine tube, isthmus, uterus, and vagina. 

Male turtles have a penis. Their penis is relatively enormous compared to their body. A turtle’s penis can be as large as half its shell length. 

The reason behind this is that a female’s vagina lies in an inconvenient area underneath the cloaca. 

So, a larger penis helps a male turtle to reach the inconvenient vagina.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Turtles Breastfeed Their Babies?

Turtles do not have breasts or nipples, so they do not breastfeed their babies.

Do Male Turtles Have Nipples?

Neither male nor female turtles have nipples. 

Are There Any Animals That Lay Eggs And Breastfeed Their Babies?

Five animals lay eggs and also breastfeed their babies. The most popular is the Platypus, and the rest of the four species are collectively called Echidna.

Do Tortoises Have Nipples?

No, tortoises do not have nipples. Therefore, they do not nurse their eggs or newborns.

Can Turtles Produce Milk?

The production of milk is only limited to mammals. Reptiles do not have breasts or the milk-making system in their body.

Do Reptiles Care For Their Babies?

Crocodiles, alligators, and certain species of snakes and lizards care for their babies.

Final Words: Do Turtles Have Nipples?

Turtles are reptiles, and none of the reptiles have mammary glands like nipples or breasts. Hence, they cannot produce milk to provide nutrition to their babies. 

Also, turtles do not nurse their babies like some reptiles; alligators, crocodiles, snakes, and lizards do. 

However, the eggs they lay have enough protein in the form of yolk for the hatchlings to survive on for several days. 

Recommended Readings!

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rohit gurung author at urbanfishkeeping

About Rohit Gurung

My never-ending love and fascination with Aquascaping started when I received a red-eared turtle for my 10th birthday.

Apart from researching and writing, I spend hours gazing at my 3 turtles. And yeah, I bask alongside them too.