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Friday, June 27, 2008

Turtle Eggs!

OK - so my kids have a turtle fetish. Actually, they are completely enthralled with tiny turtles and spend a good chunk of a summer day trying to catch them. Both of the girls have become quite the experts on finding, stalking and then catching turtles.

Turtles are surprisingly elusive. They love to sun themselves on logs in the middle of a pond - but they keep a careful eye out for predators and are quick to sprint off the log and disappear into the water. But if you are very, very patient and move very slowly (with waders and a long net), you can catch one before they flip themselves into the water. The kids have caught 31 so far this year (they are keeping count) and 9 of them have been about the size of a tennis ball. Small enough to live the "good life" in an aquarium for a few weeks before being released again.

Lately, the turtles have been scarce, which led us to presume they are off laying eggs. Sure enough, today we actually happened upon a painted turtle digging a hole by a driveway. She paid no attention to us as we watched her dig a long tube of a hole with her back legs. Excavating dirt with one back leg, and then reaching in with the other to pull out another paw-full. Then she laid 4 eggs in the tube-shaped hole (4 soft-shelled, oblong eggs) and then proceeded to cover them with dirt.

We marked the location of the nest with popsicle sticks so we can watch for the baby turtles to emerge. What a great summer day for the kids - they were so excited to actually see a turtle laying eggs and they have high hopes of seeing the hatchlings emerge.


Susan said...

Those baby turtles are *beautiful*!!


Jori said...

That is so cool! I hope they get to see the babies hatch and all!
DTE 02/19 either x2