Photo Credit Janice DiNardo

A Snappy Success Story

In early June, a female snapping turtle emerged from the wetland water to lay her eggs in the sandy shores of the Reserve.   However, this year, a couple females thought it would be easier to lay their eggs in the gravel pile.   Unfortunately, this gravel pile was designated to be used throughout the summer by volunteer groups for trail maintenance.  So Heckrodt’s awesome education team decided it would be beneficial to remove the eggs from that location to a safer location where they can develop.  After much research they discovered that snapping turtle eggs can safely be relocated. This must be done very carefully and only if it is necessary, like on construction sites.  So, the education team consisting of Maddie, Adam, and Andrea carefully removed the gravel from the top of the eggs like an archaeologist digging for bones. They then very delicately placed the eggs in a bucket.  The education team learned that Snapping turtle eggs cannot be rotated. You must place them exactly as they were laid.  If the eggs are moved wrong, it could detach the embryo from the inside the egg.  They carefully moved the nest to Erna’s Turtle Garden where they dug a six-inch hole and carefully placed the eggs inside.  They covered up the hole and placed a nest box to protect the eggs from predators. The whole process took them about two hours to carefully relocate the nest.  One nest contained 52 eggs while the other contained 45 eggs.

Three months later one crisp morning, a baby snapping turtle emerged from its nest.  It crawled out of the nesting box and started making its way to the wetland water.   Once in the water, they start the journey of hibernation.

Here is a facebook reel that Heckrodt’s naturalist Andrea took of snapping turtles emerging from a nest. It is pretty cool!