This morning I found a female snapping turtle that was laying a clutch of eggs in a hole that she had dug on the shoulder of the road. I have learned to look for disturbed soil where a snapping turtle may have laid eggs at this time of year. Snapping turtles are also easy to mistake for large rocks when they are stationary. However, I walk this road nearly everyday and knew that there should not be a rock at this location.
With today being Memorial Day, I was able to sit in the road about eight feet away from her. I wanted to be at the turtle’s eye level. On a normal Monday morning, this would be an incredibly risky thing to do because there is a steady stream of large trucks using the road. I was very careful to approach slowly so as to cause her stress or disturb the process. I also kept my time with her to a minimum.
A few days earlier, I had found a clutch of snapping turtle eggs nearby. They had already been dug up and punctured by a predator. It is amazing to me that any snapping turtles reach adulthood given the shallow depth of these nests. The predation rate also seems very high. At least the snapping turtles are providing meals for other animals nearby.