Or, Where Have the Eggs Gone? “Sophie” was the first of four snapping turtles in early June to lay her eggs in the same hole just outside my window (see my two previous posts). She started the ball rolling about 11:30 am on the first day of June. I took this photo discreetly from my window, so as not to interfere with the proceedings.

Later on, about 4:30, I went out and took a picture of the laying hole. First, though, I gently probed around with a small stick. I can say for sure there were no eggs. They are big enough that I couldn’t have missed them. And below the top inch or two of loose soil, the earth was hard-packed, quite undisturbed.

Incidentally, I know the times because my digital camera automatically keeps a record.

So “somebody” came around and took the eggs. We don’t usually see skunks in broad daylight, and racoons are rare here. By a process of elimination, I’m forced to point the finger at our resident family of groundhogs. These cute rodents are formidable diggers, as you know.

Another possible suspect could be a muskrat. Occasionally, one comes up from the pond to eat the grass. But I think it’s an unlikely scenario.

Interestingly, several days later, I looked out and saw that the hole had been dug much deeper. “Whoever” did it came away empty-handed -pawed, I’m sure.

There’s another, remote possibility, that despite her heroic efforts, Sophie didn’t lay any eggs at all. But four turtles failing to lay? Again, unlikely.

In all the years I’ve lived here, I’ve seen not a single turtle egg. Next year, I’m determined to go out quickly, as soon as each turtle leaves, and take some photos.

Comments are welcome.

 

One Response to Turtle Mystery

  1. Hardy Pond Grandma says:

    I had two turtles lay their eggs off my property (on the opposite shore from Ron). One of them does as she has for a few years, “hide” her nest among some shrubs closer to my home. I did not see her lay, but saw her on the way back to the water. The other one (whom I did not see laying) laid them closer to the shoreline. I came home to see a furry dark shape hunched near the water. I found a raccoon (I have never before nor after seen one, although my next-door neighbor had trouble with them until she got a raccoon-proof trash can). He ran away, but he had already dug down about four inches. I chased him away, and he was back about 20 minutes later. By now, it was dusk; there were at least two empty egg shells on the ground. I took the extreme step of hastily replacing the dirt and placing a large paving stone over the nest, thinking that would deter the raccoon while I thought about what to do next. Early the next dawn, the dirt around the paving stone had been dug up, and I counted about ten empty egg shells.

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