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A turtle showed up in my yard and started laying eggs


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#1 OneTwoThree

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Posted 28 May 2011 - 06:22 AM

Hello everybody!

I have never had a pet turtle or really done anything remotely turtle related, but now I have a turtle laying eggs in my garden, and I am not sure what to do. I am not 100% sure where it came from, but there is a creek kind of near by, which seems like it would be its home. I am also not sure what type of turtle it is, but the picture is below:
Posted Image
I have a few questions:
1- if it is successful in laying eggs, how can I protect them until next year and ensure that they make it to safety?
2- are there any organizations I can call which would help? (like the ASPCA or something like that? would they help return it to it's proper home?)
3- how long will it take to dig its hole?
4- What dangers might there be to it in a normal suburban environment, and how can I protect my new turtle friend?

thanks!

#2 OneTwoThree

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Posted 28 May 2011 - 09:19 AM

It finished and left. It made it to the woods where I think the creek is. It covered up the eggs.

How long will they take to hatch? How should I protect them from things that want to eat them?

#3 Baller77

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Posted 28 May 2011 - 09:39 AM

Looks like alligator snapping turtle to me. Where do you live?

#4 BoxTurtleLover

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Posted 28 May 2011 - 11:34 AM

It looks like you have had a female common snapper come up on the higher ground on your lawn to lay her eggs. She choose your area due to the soft ground and it being high and away from the water source. She went back to where she came from (the creek) when she was done. You can do two things - leave the eggs alone and protect the area from any digging by humans or animals (raccoons are notorious for finding turtle eggs and digging up nests) or you can contact a local herpetological association to see if someone wants to come and take the eggs and incubate them or contact your county wildlife rehabber who will either get the eggs or advise you just to leave them where they are. You can contact your county wildlife rehabber by (1) calling your county information line and obtain his/her name/phone; (2) call your state Dept. of Fish and Wildlife or Dept. of Natural Resources, or (3) call any area vet who should have the name/phone available. Someone getting the eggs may give them a better chance of survival but what you have have just experienced is not uncommon at all if there are creeks, rivers or other water sources around one's house, especially if you have a sandbox area or gardens. Our local paper did an article one time on snapper eggs hatching from the sand at the bottom of a slide at one of the area schools which is right next to a lake - they took the hatchlings down to the shallow side of the river and released them after finding them.

To protect them you can fashion a wire mesh covering that will cover the entire nest area and a bit beyond and anchor it into the ground. However, that still may not stop a hungry raccoon, skunk, fox or possum who will dig up anything to get a nest...if you have an electric fence that will help deter predators but probably the safest thing you can do to ensure their survival is to have someone experienced carefully dig them up and incubate them.

I have experience with snappers but not with incubation, etc. Those with some experience should chime in and give you some more advice.

By the way that is a great photo!


#5 OneTwoThree

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Posted 29 May 2011 - 09:40 AM

Thanks for the advice!

I put wire mesh over it, and secured it into the ground. It is pretty strong wire, but I didn't want to mess with nature too much so I didn't remove them or put an electric fence.

How will the baby turtles be able to get out though? Should I just remove the mesh after like 60 days, once it is close to hatching time?

#6 CLAWS

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 04:23 AM

I would leave the wire there until they leave the nest. Just make sure there is an inch gap underneath the wire so they can crawl out if the mesh is small. They will smell the creek and head for it after hatching.

Edited by CLAWS, 30 May 2011 - 04:24 AM.


#7 BoxTurtleLover

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 05:22 AM

Claws' posting is excellent and made me want to further indicate (which I didn't mention in my original posting and great catch by Claws) that as to the covering, there will have to be some space between the ground and the top of the covering so when the hatchlings emerge, they have a space to come out - you will need to monitor and watch...I am not certain as to the incubation time for snapper eggs outdoors but it is probably anywhere in the area of 60 to 90 days...box turtle eggs take about 90 days so start watching closely as the eggs approach 2 months in the nest. Do not cover the nest with shade as the turtle laid it in a prime location where instinct told her that is a great location. The sun heats the eggs.

I have used wire mesh/very small hole wire/screen covers as suggested in box turtle pens over nests to prevent other female turtles from attempting to dig a nest over an already laid nest and destroying the eggs in the ground.


#8 nirvanafr3ak

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Posted 07 June 2011 - 07:10 PM

Wow that is an amazing picture. It's really cool that your getting to experience this.

#9 paupiedequincey

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Posted 07 June 2011 - 08:04 PM

Wow that is an amazing picture. It's really cool that your getting to experience this.



yes I agree on both counts.. especially NICE photo!

did you have to resize that photo in photobucket? (by pixel or inch?)

Ive been uploading photos here the last few days but I have to make them so small and reduce the quality so much to make the work it really kills the details of the images..

#10 RonBlue99

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 08:30 AM

You could dig them up too and incubate them. We have many snappers around here and I've done that many times (in Ohio). Believe it or not I have dug them up, put them in damp paper towels in a plastic shoe box and kept them on top of a fridge and they hatch every time. Amazing little critters. I also hatch out beardies, ackies, corn snakes, kingsnakes, leopard geckos and other turltles using an incubator. For some reason the snappers are nearly indestructible. Chances are you won't see them hatch out and they will be gone before you know it.

#11 Sarahlei325

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 06:24 PM

I'm so jealous! What a cool thing to have happen in your backyard! If you get a chance to see any of them, please post pics!




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