Saturday, June 4, 2011

Little Mama

We were strolling around the barn searching for a nice sunny spot to plant a couple of tomatoes when suddenly The Kid stopped short and pointed.  And there she was.  A female Eastern Painted Turtle (I know these things...I Google), was busily laying her eggs in the mud on the little hill behind the barn.  She wasn't particularly happy that we had interrupted her work but she didn't budge from her spot on the hill.  Quietly inching my way closer I saw that she had already deposited several eggs into her little nest.  And you know me, I ran for the camera.  This had to be documented.  When I returned a the few short minutes later she was hard at work covering up her future off-spring.


I later read that turtles choose an open area to lay their eggs.  Mama then proceeds to urinate on the ground to soften the soil, making it easier to dig the nest with her sturdy back legs.


We watched as she worked for almost thirty minutes covering up her babies.  Scraping dirt into the hole and tamping it down.  The procedure continued until she deemed it done.


And then she said good-bye and good luck to her children and high tailed it back down the hill to the lake some 300 feet away, never to return.  I stood guard until she safely crossed our little lane and then The Kid and I marked the nest with a stake so we can find it again when hatching time gets closer.


I read that if the eggs survive until the scent of the urine dissipates the wee ones have half a chance of surviving.  It's been two days now and so far so good.  It doesn't appear that hungry marauders have disturbed the nest in any way.  And now we wait.  My source says it takes roughly sixty days for the eggs to mature and hatch.  You can be sure that on or near August 1st we'll be checking the nest frequently.  And of course I'll report back to you if we get hatchlings.

I've always wanted more grandchildren.

Link to Project 365.


Judy H. said...

That is exciting.

Anonymous said...

Love this post. You have a much better chance of seeing your turtle grandchildren than we do of seeing the ones laid in the middle of the path at Radnor.