On September 1, we were walking on a mowed trail at Charles River Peninsula. We noticed something round and black in the grass– it was a baby snapping turtle. Its shell was about 1.25 inches long, and the pointy tail was about that long again. In another yard or so, we saw another… and another… and another… we counted 23 (!) little black turtle babies, all heading up over the hill, presumably going to the river to grow up. Why did their mama put the nest so far away? I hope they all made it. (Plenty of critters like to eat hatchlings. I know we have fishers, coyotes, foxes and hawks around here…)
The nests are dug in June or early July, with up to 75 eggs, but usually 20-30. The egg incubation period is 10-12 weeks. Apparently the temperature of the soil around the eggs determines the sex of the hatchlings. From October to April, they chill in mud at the bottom of ponds, slow areas of the river, etc.
It was rainy that day so I didn’t have a camera with me. This pic of a different snapper baby migration is by my talented brother-in-law Scott Robinson. Thanks!
Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentine)