How do turtles mate and how often do they mate?

Written by Dr. Chan Eng Heng

Dr. Chan is a co-founder of TCS. She is a retired Professor who had spent more than 30 years studying marine turtles in the country.

26 Oct 2009

Turtles mate with the male mounted on top of the female. The male turtle wraps his tail around the female’s in order to inseminate her. The penis is not exposed and is kept internal at other times. The mating position in marine turtles can last up to 8 hours!! This is probably the reason why some indigenous people prize the turtle penis as an aphrodisiac. In marine turtles, males are polygamous and will mate with multiple partners during the reproductive season. The female similarly can be inseminated by several males, confirmed by multiple paternity of hatchlings from within a single clutch of eggs.

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  1. How do male turtles identify a female turtles prior to mating? This question has fascinated me ever since I heard about a certain volunteer or was it an RA that was actually erm.. mounted by an amorous male turtle off the shores of Chagar Hutang….

  2. LOL Lim, and she shouted “tolong, tolong,” as related by Adi. Mounting was attempted but unsuccessful I think.
    Its probably by pheromones (animal hormones), but when a rutting male is desperate, it may be less than discriminate :)

  3. i wish my daughter couldn’t mate till she was 20-30 lol but seriously how long is the average turtle’s life span ?

    • He he James. They have a long life span, upwards of 70-80 years, but many do not get to life out their lives because of the many hazards of today.


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