Snapping Turtles on the Move

Posted on May 31, 2022 in color, photography, wildlife
Snapping Turtle near a nest of destroyed eggs
Snapping Turtle Near a Damaged Nest – Keene, NH, May 2022

This morning I encountered five different snapping turtles along the mile and a half stretch of road that I walk. My first encounter was on the return leg of the out and back loop. I did not see this turtle or the damaged nest on the out leg of my loop. The turtle was surrounded by a destroyed nest with several of its eggs pierced open. Did this turtle accidentally damage another nest while digging her own? Or was this the sight of a grieving mother, having discovered that a predator had damaged her nest?

Snapping Turtle in the grass
Snapping Turtle in the Grass – Keene, NH, May 2022

Moving ahead, I found the second turtle around the bend in some grass. There were no obvious signs of disturbed soil around the turtle. This one appeared to be on the move, looking for that perfect spot.

One-eyed Snapping Turtle laying eggs
One-eyed Snapping Turtle – Keene, NH, May 2022

Continuing on, I spotted the third turtle on the side of the road near a large pond. This turtle had clearly dug a new nest hole in the roadside dirt. The turtle was straining somewhat as it laid a new clutch of eggs. I noticed that the turtle’s left eye was missing. I wondered if it had been born with only one eye, or what may have damaged its eye.

Two Snapping Turtles on a dirt banking
Two Snapping Turtles on a Dirt Banking – Keene, NH, May 2022

Near the end of my walk, I found turtles four and five on the side of a dirt banking across the street from the Keene Airport parking lot. The first of these turtles had already dug into the banking and had a good covering of dirt on her head. The second more adventurous turtle headed for the top of the banking to discover what lies beyond.

Snapping Turtle with dirt partially covering its head and neck
Snapping Turtle Covered With Dirt – Keene, NH, May 2022

Was this a male/female parting ways while the female laid her clutch of eggs? Was this two females laying their eggs? After pondering these new questions, I crossed the road to my parked car and ended my outing.

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