By: Jennifer Bateman | Monday, October 06, 2014
Over the past 18 years, living year around on our Park Rapids, MN family resort, I've never seen turtle eggs hatch in nature. I have witnessed LOTS of turtles, both snapping and painted turtles, digging nests and laying eggs every June. And I have also seen, usually on my walks around the lake, even more egg nests dug up and eaten by a raccoon, skunk, coyote or fox. Occasionally in the spring, but maybe only about half a dozen times, I've found a newly hatched turtle wandering around in the grass looking for the lake, with no real clue as to where the nest was that they came from.
So, when some guests were settling their bill with me last Sunday afternoon and said, "There is a baby turtle on the beach and it looks like it crawled out of a hole", I was pretty excited to go take a look. Sure enough, up against the rock wall of the swimming beach was a hole with a baby snapping turtle perched on the edge. He rested for a while, then crawled to the edge of the wall, tumbled over it, and slowly made his way to the lake.
Lots of shells.
I don't care if they're snapping turtles, these guys are CUTE!
You know what this means, don't you? It means a snapping turtle, probably some evening in early June, crawled out of the lake, dug her hole, laid about 50-60 eggs (that's about average for a snapper), buried the eggs and went back into the lake without any guests seeing her. Believe me, if a kid would have seen this happening, they would have been very excited and found me to come look!
A total of five turtles hatched from the nest over a period of three days (That was during the day. I have no idea how many may have hatched when I wasn't looking.) Four made it to the water and one just stayed on the beach until he eventually died. There were lots of shells in the hole, so I presume we witnessed the tail end of the hatching. There were still a few eggs left in the hole waiting for the right moment, but they waited too long. Some animal came along Saturday night and dug them up.
And that’s the end of the story.
Until next time ~~ Jennifer
Wildlife viewing just automatically happens when you vacation at a Park Rapids, Minnesota resort.