Saturday, May 28, 2011

Nature is awesome

On our morning walk with Locksley this morning we came across something pretty amazing.

Behind our apartment is a little woodland area with paved trails that lead to a playground and recreation area. I always tell Sam he's flattering it by calling it a "forest" because it's really more of a "woods" in that it's just a scrap of wilderness. But even so we get some pretty great visitors--fox, birds, deer, snakes, and so on so I'm really grateful to have it so close to home. It's my favorite place to walk the dog.

So we're on our morning walk when all of a sudden we come up on this:

Can you see it? I spotted her first and even when we stopped to observe Locksley was pretty much oblivious. Which is good because you don't really want to annoy a snapping turtle.

I knew immediately what was going on, she was digging a hole to lay eggs! As we stood quietly watching she gave us kind of a dirty look and went on with her business.

Digging with her back legs, a pile of earth behind her.

Watching the turtle reminded me of the turtles that we had growing up. My dad when he was a boy would go out into the woods and find Eastern Box Turtles. They'd keep them for the summer and then let them go in the fall. So when my sister and I were young we did the same. One year we even had a turtle lay eggs, though I don't think they hatched.

Sam's mind was blown from coming across this turtle. It was definitely an educational experience! And it made me really grateful that I had lots of experiences with nature as a kid.

We didn't want to make the turtle too uncomfortable with our presence so we didn't stick around too long. She was doing important stuff, after all! I hope that her choice of a nesting spot is a safe one and that the eggs get a chance to hatch.

I looked up some snapping turtle information and apparently they can lay anywhere from 10-30 eggs! The sex of the eggs are determined by temperature. And they can hatch anywhere between 55 and 125 days later. You can learn more fascinating stuff about snapping turtles here and even more nerdy stuff here.

Also, we managed to get a video where you can actually see her plopping some eggs into the nest:

Nature is awesome! Thanks and Godspeed lady snapping turtle!

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