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Snapping Turtle Seeking Sandy Soil In Which To Lay Eggs

Monday’s Mystery Photo leaves no doubt that Naturally Curious readers are among the most informed nature interpreters out there. There were many correct answers, but congratulations go to Susan Cloutier, who was the first to identify the tracks and diagnostic wavy line left by the tail of a female Snapping Turtle as she traveled overland seeking sandy soil in which to lay her eggs. The turtle eventually found a suitable spot, dug several holes and chose one in which to deposit her roughly 30 eggs, covered them with soil and immediately headed back to her pond, leaving her young to fend for themselves if and when they survive to hatch in the fall.

Unfortunately, there is little guarantee that the eggs will survive. Skunks (the main predators), raccoons, foxes and mink have all been known to dig turtle eggs up within the first 24 hours of their being laid and eat them, leaving tell-tale scattered shells exposed on the ground. Fortunately, Snapping Turtles live at least 47 years, giving them multiple chances to have at least one successful nesting season. (Thanks to Chiho Kaneko and Jeffrey Hamelman for photo op.)

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3 responses

  1. Bill on the Hill

    Hi Mary & a happy 4th of July!
    I’ve heard snappers can live up to 80 years old. This has been my understanding for many years now. As a boy I used to catch these critters by the tail…
    Bill… :~)

    July 5, 2021 at 7:38 am

    • Alice

      …wondering if the snapper liked that at all? Maybe not.

      July 5, 2021 at 4:29 pm

  2. Gaylee Amend

    as ever, thank you for your addition to our understanding nature….”Why did the turtle cross the road” makes sense now.

    July 5, 2021 at 8:18 am

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