Breeding season 2019 Preparations

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Flaviemys purvisi

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Hi all, I know there's not too many folks on here that are into turtles but nonetheless I will share the activities of my day thus far with you all. I rarely take days off work, usually no more than 6 a year for the last 16 years but today I needed a day off to get some things done here at home as I was pleasantly caught off guard with more gravid turtles than what I was anticipating this season, including Flaviemys purvisi.

So my mission for today was to create a new outdoor nesting/egg laying area for a few specific gravid turtles that are kept indoors in aquariums that I believe will not take to laying in one of my regular 50 litre storage tubs turned into nesting boxes.

I hit Bunnings Warehouse at 6:30am and picked up an easy to assemble raised garden bed for $99.
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It has decent dimensions, 2 metres long by 1 metre wide by 41cm high.
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I took a gamble and assembled it indoors in my reptile room (hoping I wouldn't have to then disassemble it to take it outside) - I didn't have too. :D No tools, no screws... ah man I love that!
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Threw in the little kiddy pool to see how much space it would leave me for the actual nesting area, pretty much 50/50 so that's fine.
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Took it outside and positioned it in the garden bed in a location that's got some decent foliage coverage on both ends and on the approximate angle I need for the afternoon setting sun to hit the nesting area. Then I had to rake up all the debris off the surface, shovel it into a wheelbarrow then start digging up the red clay like soil to break it up and soften it. I dug the kiddy pool into the western side and leveled it off (roughly... No need for perfection.)
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Next I jumped in the car and headed about 1 km down the road to the local landscape supplies joint for half a cubic metre of natural coarse river sand. I need to mix the sand into the prepared earth to make the nesting area of a better consistency and more desirable for the turtles. This trailer load of washed river sand cost me $10
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In hindsight I only needed half of this amount but hey, better to have too much than not enough... I'll user the excess to level out a few uneven spots in the back yard and top dress it.
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Heaping about 4-5 wheelbarrow fulls of sand into the enclosure and laboriously mixing it with the earth with a shovel until I get the desired consistency.
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Progress has been slow and steady... Had to stop for a beer, then a couple more.
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It's high enough that my jack Russell Terriers walking past it cannot see over it and disturb/disrupt the turtles.
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Filled the pool by bucket... a small oversight, none of my 2 garden hoses would reach this position... Was annoyed about that but the walking was therapeutic.
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Grabbed a watering can and filled it from my rain tank and wet down the entire nesting area than walked over it heavily in thongs to compact it all down nice and firm then took a temp reading with my laser thermometer... 28 degrees, absolutely PERFECT.
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Grabbed a pair of gravid turtles from inside, an Eastern Long-neck and a Manning River turtle and placed them in the pool. Give them the day to poke around and sus things out... on dusk is when they'll be looking to exit the water as they've been trying to get out of their aquariums now for about a week. It still could be too early, never got my first clutch last year until November 9th but we'll see what happens.
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I need to continue this thread in a separate post as I've reached my upload limit for this post... to be continued...

The turtles poking around, the dense foliage at either end of the enclosure gives me good camouflage from which to observe/spy on them without alerting them to my presence.

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Took a final orientation and I'm really happy with that, The nesting area on the eastern side will be warmed by catching the afternoon sun setting in the west. It's time for me to get showered, see how sunburnt I am and have another beer. Was a productive morning. I have a pair of 4ft fluoro light reflectors to set up over the nesting area later on to light the egg laying area up after dark... providing light can help them focus as the enter their trance-like state when nesting commences - I may or may not use them yet... Will just see what the turtles want to do.
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Hope everyone is having a productive breeding season. All the best!
 
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Bl69aze

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is the tree for the turtles to climb and bask ontop of?



(its sarcasm, if anyone reading doesnt realise)
 

Flaviemys purvisi

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is the tree for the turtles to climb and bask ontop of?



(its sarcasm, if anyone reading doesnt realise)
Hehehe... I could have maneuvered things so it was outside the enclosed area but it proved a useful handhold for me whilst I was working away inside it. And I figured I could use it to mount a camera...
 

Flaviemys purvisi

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Darkness has fallen and there's movement at the station but the weather is not on my side tonight. One of the turtles has been out onto the nesting area and has returned to the water, (evident by the sand that's been dragged back in), it's a little fresh and there's a breeze blowing. I looked at the 7 day forecast and from this coming Thursday I have a stretch of above 30 degree days including Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday so that may be when anything happens. Nonetheless, they'll have some time to get used to and explore this setup over the next few days.
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