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Old 06-06-2016, 04:39 AM
 
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I think I have a snapping turtle laying eggs in our front flowerbed. While its kind of making a mess, I don't really mind, but what will happen as the weeks go by? Does the parent stay with the nest? How long before the babies hatch, and do they stay with the nest?

I'm in central New Hampshire.





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Old 06-06-2016, 04:46 AM
 
Location: LI,NY zone 7a
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Very cool! She lays her eggs, and then skidaddles. When the eggs hatch the babies are on their own. Not many will make it back to the safety of the water tho.
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Old 06-06-2016, 04:50 AM
 
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Originally Posted by LIcenter View Post
Very cool! She lays her eggs, and then skidaddles. When the eggs hatch the babies are on their own. Not many will make it back to the safety of the water tho.
OK good info.

So I've been watching the turtle now for a while, it is just digging holes, and then moving on and digging another one. I haven't actually seen any eggs being laid yet.
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Old 06-06-2016, 08:26 AM
 
Location: Not.here
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Originally Posted by Groundpounder View Post
OK good info.

So I've been watching the turtle now for a while, it is just digging holes, and then moving on and digging another one. I haven't actually seen any eggs being laid yet.
That's not unusual. Some do that until they find just the "right spot" to lay their eggs. Last year I saw a female urinating on the site before starting to dig the nest. This was at a nature facility in an area where the ground was a little hard. After she moistened things up, she dug up the nest and laid the eggs, covered it up, and left.
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Old 06-06-2016, 08:28 AM
 
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I kept an eye on the turtle, and after a while, she went around to the backyard, stopped in a few spots, and then moved out of my yard. None of the holes she dug in the flowerbed were covered up, and I carefully examined them for eggs, and saw none. I'm guessing she didn't find the perfect spot. Oh well, it was cool to see none the less!
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Old 06-06-2016, 08:31 AM
 
Location: Not.here
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Nice pics. Thanks!
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Old 06-06-2016, 11:23 AM
 
Location: Massachusetts
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IIRC, the eggs hatch in August. I think. The babies dig their way up from the nest, and start the trek back to the pond/lake that the mom came out of. Not many make it, and to be honest, most nests are usually raided before they hatch by predators, so if mom succeeded in laying eggs, you'll find out in the next few months if you see something else digging up the same spots.


I've seen babies taken by foxes, coyotes, hawks and anything else looking out for a meal. Car tires also take out a number of them.
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Old 06-06-2016, 11:30 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Groundpounder View Post
OK good info.

So I've been watching the turtle now for a while, it is just digging holes, and then moving on and digging another one. I haven't actually seen any eggs being laid yet.
She's likely digging what are called false nests. Nest predation is a significant threat to turtles. Raccoons, skunks, foxes, etc, will all dig up the nests and eat the eggs. If you keep a keen eye while out in the woods, you'll see dug up turtle nests with egg shell fragments around them in certain habitats. The mother turtle's strategy of digging false nests is to create some digs with her scent to confuse predators, making it less likely that they'll find the actual nest.


Although considered common, the numbers of snapping turtles is declining along with numbers in other turtle populations. This is most attributed to habitat loss, but habitat fragmentation by roads is also a major concern, as the female turtles, when gravid, will make their egg-laying journeys across these roads and many times will die on them. Since turtles take quite a few years to reach sexual maturity, the loss of just a few females can negatively impact turtle populations for good.


Completely up to you, but I'm sharing with you an idea that I had in case you come across freshly laid turtle nests; I have thought about getting some household ammonia and putting it around the nest if I find a fresh one. This would throw off the scent of the turtle to predators and would likely mimic the scent of urine to a predator-making it less likely that they'd bother the nest. I've also considered getting the predator urine that they sell at garden centers in locations where I know that box turtles lay eggs. Skunks, raccoons and foxes have to eat too, but in the case of an endangered or threatened turtle, I have considered trying to give it an edge. I have yet to actually do it.


I also know people who have found dead female turtles on the road and successfully hatched the eggs-I haven't done so, but it's interesting to hear about!
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Old 06-06-2016, 01:48 PM
 
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Wow, that is good sized.....could take a finger off easily.
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Old 06-06-2016, 02:32 PM
 
Location: Cape Cod
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That is a snapping turtle. They are really cool to see, (from a distance) they are like prehistoric creatures.
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