We tested the hypothesis that handling turtle eggs decreases embryo survival in a well-studied population of midland painted turtle (Chrysemys picta marginata) by comparing embryo survival in handled and nonhandled natural nests during 3 nesting seasons. All nests were protected from mammalian predators. Upon excavation of the nests in the following spring, we found no differences in survival between the 2 treatments, suggesting that the benefits in knowledge gained from nest excavation far outweigh the possibility of a small increase in mortality that could arise from handling the eggs.

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