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Snapping Turtle Eggs Hatching

Every fall, roughly 3 months after they’re laid, snapping turtle eggs hatch. The hatchlings’ gender is determined by the temperature at which they were incubated during the summer.   In some locations, they emerge from the nest in hours or days, and in others they remain in the nest through the winter.  When they emerge above ground, the hatchlings often do so within a few hours of each other.  Somehow (questions remain as to exactly how) they navigate to the nearest body of water, which can be up to a quarter of a mile away, and once there, seek shallow water .  Look for young hatchlings in small brooks near ponds that are known to have adult snappers.  (White object is part of the egg shell that surfaced with this hatchling.)

2 responses

  1. Aww, I found one this morning, but, unfortunately, it didn’t quite make it to the very large pond that my backyard borders. It didn’t look like anything had injured it; in fact, I didn’t see any external damage to it at all. I’m going to be keeping my eyes peeled for more of them. We have some huge snappers, and I saw a pair mating earlier this year. Your post came along just in time, Mary. Thanks, as always!

    September 5, 2012 at 6:24 pm

  2. Laurie S

    We were so excited to discover a miraculous undertaking in our backyard tonight. The marching of baby snappers in an almost perfect beeline towards the pond about 30 yards away. We were fascinated as we searched the grass and uncovered yet another successful hatchling for a total of 7. We also located the nest that had successfully avoided predation nestled close to a walkway.
    Coincidentally, I had just finished your article in the Valley News on The Courage of Baby Turtles and was so fascinated about these little guys, I had saved it for my family to read!
    What a great way to end the work week. Thanks for the article.

    September 28, 2013 at 12:46 am

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