Did you know that turtles have almost similar reproductive organs to humans? Not only do they have ovaries but also uterine tubes, vagina, and uterus. Because of this, you may wonder if they have periods.
Do turtles have periods? No. Turtles don’t have periods because they don’t undergo a menstruation cycle. Instead, female turtles usually lay unfertilized eggs yearly for several weeks when they don’t mate. However, these eggs don’t hatch.
But are turtles the only animals that don’t have periods, you ask? In this article, we will discuss all that you need to know about turtles having periods.
Do Turtles Have Periods?
No, turtles don’t experience periods like us humans. Like other reptiles, female turtles undergo a reproductive cycle instead of a menstruation cycle. As it turns out, these creatures have a reproductive tract comprising cloaca, ovaries, and the oviduct. On the other hand, the oviduct consists of a uterus, vagina, and uterine tube.
During each reproductive cycle of a female turtle, an egg develops and is released via the oviduct tube and then the cloaca. However, there is no lining that forms in the uterus of the turtles like it is with humans. Therefore, the turtles don’t bleed during the nesting season and their entire lives.
Instead, adult females usually lay several clutches of fertile or infertile turtle eggs until their reproduction cycle is complete. However, unlike humans, the reproduction cycle for female turtles is different in many ways, including:
- Only occurs once every year and not every month
- The process lasts several weeks and not days
- Turtles don’t bleed during the cycle
Rather than having periods, turtles usually lay unfertilized eggs in their nesting sites, almost equivalent to menstruation. However, these turtle eggs don’t hatch, which is a way of controlling turtle populations. That said, some turtles may take longer than others to lay all their eggs during the breeding season. This is because of factors like:
- Turtle’s health
- Availability of a balanced diet
- Type of environment
- Presence of a mating partner
In the video below, you can see a female turtle laying multiple egg clutches in its breeding ground via its cloaca:
How Do Turtles Conceive Without Having Periods?
It happens through mating once the female turtle has reached maturity. Female loggerhead turtles can preserve the sperms for several months in their body after mating. This occurs until the turtles can fertilize all of their clutches of eggs before they begin nesting. However, in most cases, the eggs are usually fertilized by multiple male turtles.
Also read: Can You Overfeed a Turtle?
Why Do Turtles Bleed If They Don’t Have Periods?
If you see your turtle bleeding from its cloaca, it is not because your pet is on her period. The bleeding could be because of other reasons like:
This happens when a marine turtle has an egg stuck inside the oviduct. If the condition is not addressed, it could lead to rupture of your turtle’s reproductive tract, bleeding, and even death.
Cloacitis is simply a chronic inflammation in the cloaca region of a marine turtle. A bloody discharge from the cloaca usually accompanies this infection.
Sometimes, your captive turtle may experience internal or external injury in their cloaca, causing bleeding.
Many infectious parasites could infect a green sea turtle, including flukes, nematodes, flagellates, and tapeworms. These parasites may lead to blood in your green turtle’s droppings.
Slight tear on the ovipositor
When your nesting female turtle lays many eggs over a short time period, you may spot blood on the eggs. This happens because the ovipositor is overworked, thereby experiencing a slight tear.
What Other Animals Don’t Get Periods?
Nearly all animals don’t have periods, including mammals. Instead, some mammals, such as dogs, whales, cows, and horses, undergo estrous or heat cycles. The cycle involves the uterus reabsorbing the endometrium, which is different from what adult sea turtles have. However, during these periods of time, dogs do bleed but not like humans.
Now, besides humans, other primate species that have periods include:
- Three to five species of bats
- Old world apes and monkeys
- The elephant shrew
In the section below, we will respond to frequently asked questions about female sea turtles not having periods. Check them out.
No, just like other reptiles and turtle species. Rather than having periods, red-eared sliders usually lay multiple clutches of unfertilized eggs that don’t hatch once a year. During these periods of time, they don’t bleed as humans do, but you may spot a discharge.
Yes, all reptiles reproduce by laying eggs. So, when a nesting female turtle mates, it lays fertile eggs that hatch. Typically, a green turtle will lay its first set of fertilized eggs on land between three and six weeks after mating.
Related: Can You Paint a Turtle Shell?
All reptiles, including female loggerhead turtles, don’t have periods. So, you should not expect to see your adult turtle bleeding or menstruating every month like humans. Instead, these animals lay infertile eggs yearly, which can be likened to having periods.
That said, sometimes your turtle may bleed from the cloaca, making you think it has periods. However, the cause of the bleeding is usually due to infections, egg binding, injuries, or even ovipositor tear.