Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Turtle Eggshells

This is the most common time of year for finding evidence of reptile egg clutches. I’m always happy to see these signs that reptiles are successfully reproducing at Blue Jay Barrens. The trick is to figure out what species laid the eggs.

The shells look the way they should after a successful hatching. I’m assuming the odor of the hatchlings or the recently vacated eggs is what caused a predator to dig out the nest. I hope some of the little ones avoided becoming a meal.

There are way too many eggs for this to have been a box turtle nest. The shell is smoother than the snake eggs I found last year, so this may not be a snake nest.

The hole was enlarged some by the nest raider, but it’s hard to see inside. I can see that the cavity extends out of sight to the right. I guess there’s only one thing left to do.

Since I’m right handed, I thought it best to send my left hand in to check things out. Sticking your hand down a blind hole isn’t the wisest of moves, but I figured the chances of getting my hand bitten off were about equal to finding a gold nugget in there. My hand emerged unscathed. I found a chamber about the right size for a medium sized clutch of snapping turtle eggs. There’s a pond about a half mile from here and that’s well within the range of a female snapping turtle looking for a place to lay her eggs. This is also around the right time for the eggs to be hatching.

I was being circled by crows the entire time I spent investigating the nest. I get checked out by crows all the time, but it’s unusual for them to remain hanging over me for any extended amount of time. I wonder if they could have recently made a meal of some of the young snappers and were checking out the possibility of another feast.


  1. Ah, another fascinating post. I hope you catch up to some of the babies and get some pictures at least by Spring.

  2. Hi Steve...I'm still here ...You won't catch me sticking my arm in that hole!!
    You do find the most interesting things!
    Hope there is or was some survivors there and as for the crows ...I think they where looking at that other old Crow who might be getting all the goodies!! ; }

  3. Hi, Lois. The creek is a couple of hundred feet down hill from this nest, so I imagine some of the babies will follow that downstream to permanent water. That is when it starts raining and the water returns to the creek.

    Hi, grammie g. I'm certain a few babies survived. I'm not sure who this "old Crow" is that you are referring to. I looked the whole area over pretty thoroughly and I didn't notice any old Crows. There may have been a Crow with a lot of life experience, but I wouldn't call that old.