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May 30, 2016 / mws

2016 Garden Turtle

May 30, 2016 – Memorial Day

It was a quiet day for us, with just a community picnic planned.  Like many mornings, I strolled outside to check my newly planted garden in our back yard just next to the pond.

Back yard Garden - an extra turtle has arrived

Back yard Garden – an extra turtle has arrived

I have some perennials and recently planted a few annuals.  I also have some ceramic turtles in the garden.  When I first looked at the fenced in garden, I thought a neighbor was playing a joke.  I saw an additional turtle in my garden.  And then it moved!!

Burrowing to lay the eggs

Burrowing to lay the eggs

Along with the moving snapping turtle, I began to notice a lot of the mulch and dirt was disturbed. The turtle had burrowed into the mulch and was laying eggs!  It seemed to have a resting period and then the turtle would raise up and deposit eggs into the dirt.

crawling over the fence

crawling over the fence

After the egg laying process was complete, the turtle rested a bit, moved away, rested some more and then turned to depart.  My garden fence was in the way, but this turtle had no issues with getting over it. I did not see the turtle arrive, but she had to crawl over the garden fence to get into the garden also.

However, she was headed in a direction that would be a long crawl to the water.  Lance and I watched as the turtle repeatedly tried to climb through the metal fencing.

trying to escape thru the fence

trying to escape thru the fence

It was obvious that she could sense the water, but just could not determine how to get there!  After considering our options to help, Lance decided to offer an assist by moving the end sections of the garden fence so that the turtle could easily return through the garden, and she did!

The turtle walked through the garden, still making attempts at getting thru the fence, but sensing that she was closer to a different path to the water. The snapping turtle has a keen sense of smell and this turtle was intent on finding “home”.  She moved along the entire fence, rounded the corner and then moved through the grass to the water.

Almost there

Almost there

She would walk about 10 feet and then rest, with the entire walk taking about 1 hour.  The process of laying the eggs and returning to the water took about 3 hours.  Finally, the turtle made it back to the pond and could rest after her eventful morning.

Arriving at waters edge

Arriving at waters edge

Try to be like the turtle – at ease in your own shell…Bill Copeland

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