Snapping Turtle Tale
in the first week of June, I came home to a message on my
phone. "Call me. I have a turtle question." This was my
cousin Jeff, so I called back to see what was up.
east of me on 15 acres. He told me that he heard his dogs
barking and went out back to see what the commotion was. They
were barking at a very large snapping turtle that would not be
slowed down from her determined walk toward his house.
putting his dogs up, he went back to find her digging a hole.
It was then that he called me. When I called him back, he said
that she had been laying eggs and was trying to cover them up.
"She doesn't even care that I am watching," he said. We talked
for a while about how fortunate he was to have seen all of
I got out
my handy dandy reptile book and looked up how many days it would
take before the eggs hatched. The book said that incubation
took between 55 and 125 days. I suggested that he put something
protective over the area-a clothesbasket, plastic milk carton,
weekend of the 9, 10, 11 of September we had a family
picnic/camping trip in the Ozarks. Jeff was there and very
excited. He told me that he had circled a day on his calendar,
sometime between the 55 and 125 days of incubation. He could
not wait any longer when that circled day rolled around and went
to the nest, gently uncovering the clutch of eggs. There were a
few un-hatched eggs, a lot of empty shells, one dead baby and
five that were doing great.
up the live babies and carried them down to his creek only to
find that it had dried up. He knew there was a pond in a
field so he walked over with his hands full of babies. There he
set them down on the edge of the pond where they went right into
the water. What a kick it was to see a grown man as excited as
Jeff was about being part of something like this. His exact
quote was, " This was the neatest d.....thing I have ever seen."
(Story by a
Lakeside Volunteer. Photo Credits: Snapping turtle laying
eggs, Minnesota Herpetological Society, Photographer: Tony
turtle nest, Minnesota Herpetological Society, Photographer: Tony Gamble;
Baby Snapping Turtle from National Parks Service)