Saturday, July 18, 2009

Horseless Friday: Snapping Turtle Nursery

Recently I stayed home sick from work. I went out in the yard to sit in the sun. But look what I discovered! Two female snapping turtles were laying eggs in our lawn.

Our house is built in a pine swamp. Up until four years ago the woods went right up to the house. The previous owners cleared out four acres around the house to facilitate the sale. So I've surmised that these two ladies were probably born in the vicinity of our lawn, years back when it was a wooded swamp. Now they had returned to lay their own broods.

We also found this toad making tracks away from the snappers. He obviously did not want to be lunch. Can you see him?

There are two types of snapping turtles: Common, such as these two girls and Alligator such as my husband remembers from when he lived in Alabama.

Snappers can "snap" fingers and such. So I was careful around the girls. They came back many times over 5 days to lay more eggs. After they were finished we roped off the entire area to make a "turtle habitat". We didn't want the lawn crew to crush the eggs. Eggs incubate from 9-18 weeks.

A few days later we found a baby in the drive way. Obviously she was from an earlier laying. We brought her back into the swamp and she seemed right at home. Perhaps we'll see her again many years down the road.


whisper_the_wind said...

Where I live, those girls would have become dinner (or killed for spite)...Thank you for saving them. They are an ancient and fascinating species.

Grey Horse Matters said...

We used to live by a woods and lake and every year the turtles would come and lay eggs by the pool.
I like them but give them room, I'd hate to lose a finger or a toe. Thanks for saving them from the lawn crew, I'm sure your turtle habitat will flourish over the years.

angelandspot said...

I'm one of those crazy people who will pull over and stop to pick up turtle and get it safely moved across the road when I see them in the road. Too many people run over them just for the fun of it. :(

Kritter Keeper said...

our snapping turtles killed the tiny wood ducklings. i am not a fan of them and would rather them go elsewhere besides our pond! ours have smoother shells than yours...very interesting! thanks for sharing!

S. Lauren said...

Just like Kritter Keeper said of how the turtles harmed ducks, one snapping turtle killed one of my ducks in my family's small private pond. I love animals, and find those turtles interesting but wouldn't keep them around if you or any of your pets go where they live! We caught ours with a strong hook and chicken attached to styrofoam (sp?). I guess to the turtle it looked like a swimming duck and worked, we caught it and relocated it where it was away from people and in a safe place to live. The snapping turtles are cute as babies but watch out for the adults, they're pretty agressive and can get huge! I felt really sad about loosing my duck as I could really see a huge bite taken out of him :( and it scared me worse seeing the turtle looking up at me through the water (I didn't know what happened to my duck at first) and must say it is freaky when a large face like that is staring at you from the water!!

Fisher said...

We have never seen such a thing. Who would guess they would lay eggs on your lawn? Great excuse not to mow, I would think.