It was a drizzly August day when I spotted the snapping turtle in the driveway. I watched her on and off for most of the morning and into early afternoon. She was looking for something, circling the lawn and then always coming back to the side of the driveway where I had a couple of bags of mulch sitting. She was beautiful and big and her back was covered with patches of moss. I took a few pictures. I figured she was looking for a place to lay her eggs, having heard the previous summer from my neighbors that that's what happens. Female turtles come up from the marsh behind the house and lay their eggs. That was only part of the story.
I was surprised to see the turtle finally burrow her way under the bags of mulch. I was impressed by her strength but I questioned her judgement. She stayed there for some time and then left, heading back down to the marsh. What had happened? Did she lay her eggs? And if she did, why did she leave? Don't turtles stay sitting on their eggs until they hatch? Sometimes I'm such a city girl.
I went outside once I was sure the turtle had gone and took a look. I didn't move the bags but I could see from the side that she had made a neat mound of dirt underneath and there, in the side of the mound, was a perfect hole. I figured the eggs were in the mound and the hole was for the baby turtles escape when they hatched. I put a fence of plastic mesh around the mulch bags to try to protect the eggs.
I never saw any baby turtles hurrying down to the marsh but I didn't think that meant anything. I wasn't watching the nest 24-7. However, last weekend, when I finally moved the bags of mulch, all I saw was an empty hole. No shells, no sign at all of new turtles.
What happened? I'd love to know.
The top image is my watercolor of a snapping turtle and a button plant. You can find it here:
And for you, gentle readers, a code, good for 15% off any purchase in my Etsy shop: