Animals That Lay Eggs In Dirt
Many animals birth their youth by laying eggs in the dirt and allowing their young to incubate before hatching into their new lives! Crocodiles, snakes, turtles, and platypuses are examples of animals that do so, and they all have unique characteristics and habits of their birthing process.
Platypus are one of only two mammals who lay eggs, along with the echidna (However, echidnas don’t lay their eggs in the dirt). Female platypuses lay up to two eggs at time, and typically do so along rivers and streams. They dig a small burrow and fill it with soft, leafy material to lay the eggs on. She then lays the eggs and incubates them underneath her tail. After about 10 days, the eggs hatch, and the baby platypuses use their beak to break the shell. The mother nurses them for another three to four months. Platypuses produce milk through the ducts in their mammary glands, and the babies receive it through special patches of skin/fur as they mature.
Crocodiles are a reptile and they lay anywhere from 10-90 eggs at a time depending on species. The female crocodile digs a hole to lay their eggs, sometimes excavating multiple areas before deciding on a spot. After laying the eggs, she stays nearby to guard the nest during the incubation period which lasts been two to three months depending on climate. Once birthed, the mother crocodile will take her youth to the water and then allow them to go proceed to adulthood on their own. Alligators birth in similar fashion, laying 10-50 eggs and burying them underneath mud, sticks, and other foliage. However, unlike crocodiles, alligators typically stay with their youth for around two years before allowing them independence.
After mating, female sea turtles will go to a nesting beach, which is carefully selected and usually the same beach used the previous mating season. They crawl out from the ocean typically during the night time and proceed to a dry part of the beach and begin to create a “body pit” with their flippers. An egg cavity is then produced underneath the pit, where the turtle will lay anywhere from 80-120 eggs. Their eggs are extremely flexible which allows them to fit into the cavity and not break as they are laid. After laying the eggs, sand is packed down on top of the cavity and then the body pit is filled with sand. This helps keep the nest safe and disguised. Mother turtles never come back to tend to their nests. Incubation takes on average around 60 days but depends on the temperature of the surrounding sand. Baby turtles will break out of their shells and dig out of the pit as a group and make their way to the ocean, where they will face many obstacles to survival, in fact only about 1 in 1,000 turtles will survive to adulthood.
About 70% of snakes lay their eggs in the dirt, while the other 30% do some form of live birth [most viper snakes and water based snakes do live birth]. Snakes that lay eggs are of the Oviparous variety, and the female lays anywhere from 2 to 50 eggs per clutch based on species. These eggs are usually laid underground in loose dirt or soil, giving them natural cover, and over a period of 2 months are incubated.The female snake typically abandons the eggs to allow them to grow and hatch, but a few species physically incubate the eggs by coiling around them.
Sources: Sciencing, Snake-facts Weebly, National Geographic, Animals.Mom, Live Science, Defenders.org, American Museum of Natural History, Earth Touch News, Conserve Turtles.org, Nova Southeastern University