#100happydays Day 28 Turtle Eggs
This morning’s run was kind of special; we came across a large snapping turtle laying her eggs. Now that’s not something you see every day!
Here is a little information on the snapping turtle from the Nature Ontario website.
In Ontario, females do not begin to breed until they are 17 to 19 years old. They dig a nest in late May or June in an open area, usually one with loose, sandy soil. The nest site is often the side of a road, an embankment or a shoreline, but the females will use almost any area they can excavate. A single clutch usually consists of between 40 and 50 eggs, which hatch in the fall. Hatchlings are two to three centimeters in length. The incubation temperature of the eggs determines the gender of the hatchlings.
Approximately 90 percent of their diet consists of dead animal and plant matter, and this species plays an important role in keeping lakes and wetlands clean. Adult snapping turtles have few natural enemies, but both hibernating and young adults are occasionally victims of opportunistic predation by otters and mink. Raccoons, foxes, skunks and opossums often eat snapping turtle eggs.
Unlike most other Ontario turtles, the snapping turtle has a very small plastron and cannot withdraw into its shell for protection when threatened. Therefore, on land this turtle’s only defense from predators is to snap repeatedly and scare them away. In water the snapping turtle rarely snaps at people or other potential threats and will simply swim away if threatened.
I found it hard to believe it is actually legal to hunt these animals even though their populations are in decline. We hope these little eggs survive.