We have a wild Red Eared turtle laying eggs in our yard. What can we do to keep animals from getting to their eggs?
We had a turtle to lay eggs about two weeks ago and the next morning, something had dug the eggs up and eaten them.
There are a number of considerations here, so getting educated is the first step in responding to the Red Eared sliders. There could be positive and negative effects.
Contact your local conservation department. They'll know how to proceed.
If the species is native, you might want to protect it from domestic animals. On the other hand, if you protect it from their normal predators, you might save the clutch of a mother who chose a poor location (or not), negating natural selection, and nurturing generations of turtles that don't choose good locations, thus saving a clutch to weaken the species.
If the species is invasive, it's competing with native species, and may drive them to extinction within your range. Would you want to fertilize kudzu in the southern U.S., or protect rabbits in Australia?
Are they a turtle that prefers to return to the site where they were hatched? In that case, it might be better for this clutch and the species at large if a conservation group could move the eggs to a more suitable location.
Now, assuming you want to build a nest cage, that would keep out many types of predators, and that might include the one you're dealing with. But, you don't know what you're dealing with. Conservationists can help you with that. If you have your own trail cam, you might be able to see what the predator is. You need to know what it is in order to combat it successfully.
As you can see, getting educated before acting is the most crucial first step in order to act for the best outcome for the environment as a whole.
My research has shown that a common technique used to protect turtle nest to build a nest cage over the nest.
A nest cage is basically just a wire/mesh cage without a bottom/floor that will prevent predators from accessing/digging up the eggs, while still allowing for the normal climate and weather (e.g. sunshine) to reach the nest - meaning don't build a solid wooden box.
I found this PDF here that explains the procedure and shows some pictures also.