Thursday, September 6, 2012

Song of the Turtle

"The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land" (Song of Solomon 2:12)

A lovely quote from the King James Bible referencing the soft cooing of courting doves in the Spring.  Although each morning we are greeted by the songs of mourning doves, we are also well aware of the sounds of other critters in the bush. 

A few weeks back, female snapping turtles made their way out of their cool damp homes to seek out protected places to dig a hole and lay her eggs. One female can lay as many as 20 eggs however three to five is not uncommon.  Just after the last full moon of August or the first full moon of September, the hatchlings emerge.  They feed on slugs, earthworms, grasshoppers, and other tasty bits as they make their way to the safety of moister places near the creek and wetland.

These little guys were still covered in the mud they dug through as they burrowed out of their eggs and made their way to the surface.  Turtles are self reliant and are ready to feed and defend themselves as soon as they emerge.  Although they look cute, those heads are armed with jaws ready to nip the end of a finger or the tip of an inquisitive puppy's nose.  We rounded up those that had ended up close to the house, carefully scooping them into a small container, and relocated them closer to the woods yet protected by high grass.  Ravens, foxes, raccoons, and even older turtles, would enjoy a hatchling snack so we take care to put them someplace safe. 

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