Friday, October 16, 2009

Egg Shells

The reptiles must be doing well at Blue Jay Barrens. I’m constantly finding egg shells excavated from subterranean nests. Most of the nests are those of Eastern Box Turtles and, from a distance, I thought this shell had come from one of those nests.

But, there were too many shells for this to be a box turtle nest. Then I thought of the baby snapping turtle I found earlier and suspected this could be a snapper nest.

Snapping Turtle was ruled out when I discovered that the shells had been unearthed from an animal burrow running horizontally just beneath the soil surface. Snakes, especially Black Rat Snakes, like to lay their eggs in old burrows such as this, so these could be snake eggs.

I’ve not had much experience with native snake eggs, so it’s hard for me to make an exact guess at what species these eggs represent. The shape seems more ovoid than spherical. The condition of the shell suggests that they were hatched rather than opened by a predator. They also seemed old and may be a clutch that hatched last year and was only recently exposed.

1 comment:

  1. Wow Steve, this is pretty neat. It's always cool to unearth mysteries like this (pardon the pun).