SREL Reprint #1834





Prolonged Nesting Forays by Common Mud Turtles (Kinosternon subrubrum)

1Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, Drawer E, Aiken, South Carolina 29801 and
2Department of Zoology, University of Georgia, Athens 30602

ABSTRACT.-Previous research conducted at Ellenton Bay on the Savannah River Site near Aiken, S.C., indicated that gravid mud turtles (Kinosternon subrubrum) leaving the bay to nest remain in the terrestrial habitat for several days. We determined the time required to complete a nesting foray for 68 mud turtles. Nesting Forays ranged from 2-29 d (x = 8.7 d, SD = +5.9 d). To determine why the turtles require so much time to nest, 25 mud turtles were equipped with radio transmitters and followed through the nesting cycle. Gravid mud turtles buried themselves after exiting tile bay and most (86%) remained buried until a rainstorm occurred. The turtles nested during rainstorms. All turtles buried themselves after nesting. Most of the buried turtles (67%) then waited for another rainstorm before returning to the bay. The length of time between rains was the main factor influencing the amount of time the turtles required to complete the nesting cycle.

SREL Reprint #1834

Burke, V.J., J.W. Gibbons, and J.L. Greene. 1993. Prolonged nesting forays by common mud turtles (Kinosternon subrubrum). The American Midland Naturalist 131:190-195.

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