Friday, June 7, 2013

Turtles Are Finally Laying Their Eggs

Snapping Turtle on the move.
Snapping Turtle resting next to the foundation.

The turtles are finally on the move.  I think they are a little late this year.  We usually see them in the yard during the month of May, but this has been a very unusual year as far as the weather.  They travel quite a distance from the water to find the perfect place on land to lay their eggs.  They lay lots and lots of eggs because the mortality rate is very high.  This is a snapping turtle in the process of laying her eggs.  She digs into the dirt and backs into the hole.  Sometimes it takes a long time to find the right spot and then lay the eggs. 

Snapping Turtle laying eggs.

When she is finished, she covers up the spot.  Sometimes they leave a small hole, but most of the time they cover it completely.

This time she must have left in a hurry.  This hole is a dead giveaway to predators.  The next morning this is what we found.  There are at least sixty turtle eggs that have been dug up and eaten, probably by a raccoon.

Destroyed turtle eggs dug up and strewn around.

It is sad but again we have no control over the balance of nature.  Every now and then we will see a little turtle making it's way across the lawn.  How they know the direction to the river amazes me every time.  This is a little snapping turtle.  You can see how small they are.

Baby Snapping Turtle less than three inches from head to tail.

This little guy didn't make it, he was the size of a quarter.

Not only do we have the snapping turtles coming up to lay eggs, we also see these turtles.  I think they are painted turtles but we always called them mud turtles.  I will have to find out exactly what they are called.  Here is one I saw on Wednesday.  It was raining out, but she didn't care.  She had a job to do.

Mama turtle laying some eggs on the side of the driveway.

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