box turtle

 Scooter the Box Turtle
When we acquired Scooter we were not sure of gender but later discovered Scooter is actually a female. She does not mind her name and we chose not to change it.

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Snapping Turtle Laying Eggs ~ What Should You Do?


laying eggs


The short answer is nothing! Leave the turtle be. She’ll dig her nest, maybe dig several test nests before finally laying her eggs and covering the nest, but once she lays her eggs she’ll wander back where she came from and not look back. Note, a nesting turtle digs with her back legs.


This is a very dangerous time for our Common Snapping Turtle ~ Chelydra serpentina ~ for this is when they leave the confines of their natural habitat of the pond and wander for the best spot for laying their eggs. It doesn’t always seem to be the best spot in our minds because we often see them crossing roads or entering yards, crossing parking lots, etc. to lay their eggs and too many find themselves on roadways in the process. In our busy world motorists are not paying attention to what is in the road in front of them and many of our precious turtles, our Snapping turtles, the New York state reptile, is struck by the vehicles on the roads. No fault of the turtles, we have encroached on most of their habitat, not leaving them much room to find the ideal location to lay their eggs. This not only goes for our Snapping turtles, but for all of our turtles and other wildlife.


We are often contacted by people when a Snapping turtle is spotted in their yard digging nests, most people in a panic, thinking their children or pets are going to be eaten by the turtle. Believe me, the turtle is not their looking to eat, she just wants to lay her eggs. Besides, their preferred meal is back in the pond. They do not attack and will only ‘snap’ when provoked. They are actually quite frightened and would much rather run back to the pond than be confronted by any human, but if poked, prodded or picked up, they are going to try to defend themselves with the only things they have, their snap and their claws. So if you find you have a Snapping turtle in your yard, leave it be. If you have children or dogs just keep them in the house for awhile so the turtle can lay her eggs and be on her way. If you really absolutely can’t have the turtle lay her eggs in your yard, very carefully pick up the turtle by the back of the shell or slide gently into a tote and bring back to the nearest pond you think she came from so she can begin again to find a good spot. If you’re a truly good natured person and don’t mind having this wonderful experience of having hatchling turtles on your property, protect that nest. Humans are not the only ones harming these beautiful turtles. Predators like raccoon’s are out on the prowl looking for these nests and will dig them up and eat every last egg. You can place something like a milk crate


over the nest and place a heavy block on top so it’s not easily moved. In about 10-12 weeks depending on weather, the little hatchlings should start to emerge, usually after a good rain. They by nature will find their way to a pond, of course encountering many obstacles on their way, so if you want to help them, by all means just place them on the ponds edge and release them. There will be birds like seagulls awaiting them and those raccoon’s again as well as the challenge of getting across any roads they may have to cross.


If the turtle has already laid the eggs and for some reason the nest needs to be moved, do not just dig up the eggs!!!! Once laid, the eggs CANNOT be rotated. They MUST remain in the position they were laid. If the nest needs to be moved because of construction or landscaping then each egg must carefully be marked prior to being moved from the nest so you know where the top of the egg is and the position will not be changed during the move. If it is, the embryo will detach killing the hatchling inside. If this has to be done it would be best to contact a wildlife rehabber to dig up the nest and have them incubate the eggs.


They come into this world totally independent and have been on their own for over two million years and do just fine, but with a little help from us just may be around for two million more! Be kind, welcome the turtles, enjoy their visit and be thankful for the opportunity to witness such a beautiful experience. As a spokesperson for the turtles, I thank you!

eggs


 

 



 



 
 




 

 

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PO Box 359
Centereach, NY 11720.

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