HOW DO YOU PROTECT A TURTLE NEST?
Q: A big
turtle crawled into our backyard in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and proceeded to
dig in the mud with her hind feet. I think it was a pond slider. She laid
eggs and then covered them up. When she was done, she did not even turn
around to look at the nest. She just quickly walked back down the hill,
headed in the direction of the lake, which is more than a hundred yards
away. It was rather a sight to see. From what I read, I need to build
a protective cage because raccoons and other predators can smell the eggs.
If I can protect them and notice when they hatch, I'll be able to put
them in a box and move them down closer to the lake. I was surprised she
would make a nest way up here in our yard on the hill, so far from the
lake. Three hundred feet seems like too far for a baby turtle to travel.
Do you have any tips on caring for a turtle nest and the babies?
If you want to know when they emerge from the nest, encircle the nest area with a hardware cloth fence (about six inches high) and check it daily if possible. Remember to remove the wire covering that was placed to protect the nest. A warm day after a rain in the fall or early spring is the most common time for emergence. Seeing the hatchlings will require that you check each day that seems like a good one for them to have come out, but the experience of finding baby turtles makes it all worthwhile. You can take them to the water yourself or let them find it on their own.
Q: We just captured an alligator snapping turtle in our neighborhood in Athens, Ga., and it is very aggressive. I am reluctant to release it on our farm because it might attack some of our chickens. I would appreciate your suggestion as to what to do with it.
A: The turtle
is probably a common snapping turtle rather than an alligator snapper,
which in Georgia is found primarily in the southeastern part of the state.
Many people confuse the two. Common snappers can sometimes weigh 50 pounds
and look enormous. On land they appear aggressive when someone approaches
them, but they are simply defending themselves, the way many animals do.
Once in the water, they will immediately swim away.
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