Bernie the turtle and hatchlings ahoy!

On June 9th, I went out the front door to do my morning run. I stopped just as I was about to step off the deck. A big black snapping turtle was in our walkway. I got Chris and we debated what to do. We decided it may be best to put it back in the wetlands behind our house, where there was a brook. So I went to pick up the turtle and man! They have long necks! And do they ever snap.

Chris got his gloves, I got a box and he scooped the turtle up (who I'd named Bernie by this time) and put it in the box. He looked at it and mentioned it looked like Bernie had been in his bark mulch pile by the garage. We couldn't imagine how long it took Bernie to walk from the other side of the house, up the front lawn to the front door.

We put Bernie out by the brook and didn't think twice about it.

Then two days later, Chris was in his shed getting things ready to mow some lawns and he called my name. I went to the window and looked down. I asked "What?"

He stood just outside the garage door with his back to me. He pointed to his left.

I ran downstairs. And there, in the bark mulch pile, was Bernie.

Can you see her?

Here's a better photo:

And a close-up of Bernie with her "party hat" on.

And a short video I took.

Chris needed the bark mulch for a client, so I called the animal control officer (who we know here in town). He came over with a dog crate and noose on a stick and placed Bernie in the crate. He said he took all the turtles he got calls about to Mt. Agamenticus. Sounded good to us.

When Chris came home, he called for me to come downstairs again. He was kneeling over the bark mulch pile and look what he found:

Yep. Eggs. So I called the wildlife folks and they asked if we could just keep the eggs. Chris needed the mulch and they began giving me instructions on how to safely bring the eggs to them. I got off the phone, Chris and I debated on what to put the eggs in, then he sighed. "You're the animal lady in this neighborhood, why don't we just leave them here. I can get more mulch."

I called the wildlife folks back and they said just to make sure the eggs were covered and they'd hatch mid to late September.

All summer we'd keep an eye on the pile. Chippy planted some sunflower seeds at the bottom (and yes, they bloomed). Chris put the plow blade in front of it for our wedding reception so that no one would disturb the pile. Mid-September came and nothing happened. We'd walk up to the pile and say, "Come on babies - hatch!"

They finally did, starting on September 27th. We checked online and since our backyard is very big, we found we could safely pick up the babies and help them get to water faster (and this increases the chance they'd make it to adulthood). So we'd take turns picking them up and carrying them to the bank of the brook.

We were thrilled to help these little guys. Chris had this huge grin on his face, which I caught when I did a short video of the first baby we helped - so far, we've counted about 20 we've helped and we've noticed more holes in the bark mulch and there are *still* eggs that haven't hatched yet.

Enjoy the show!!!


Marsha said…
how exciting is turtles. Thanks for sharing.

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