Storm clouds worry humans but not reptiles
By Mary Anne Myers
The snapping turtles may have gotten more exercise than the human guests at the annual Turtle Walk at Boscobel on Saturday morning (June 13). Thunderstorms threatened, but not before Eric Lind and his team from the Constitution Marsh Audubon Center & Sanctuary had introduced the stars of the hour: three female turtles that had recently created marshland nests where they laid 30 to 35 small round leathery eggs.
From those eggs that survive their natural predators, baby snappers will emerge next fall or spring. The three nesters, each estimated at 10 years old, moved with some freedom around the brick floor of Boscobel’s Belvedere Lookout as Lind explained their history and warned guests to mind their dangling toes. The turtles’ snapping reaction, he explained, is defense not offense. While not currently at risk of extinction, snapping turtles do face threats from habitat loss and road crossing. He advised anyone who wants to help a turtle cross the road to approach it carefully, only from behind, and to encourage the turtle forward in the same direction it is moving.
Once the team returned the females to their temporary tubs, Lind then brought out an older male snapping turtle, with estimated age of 30 years and weight of 40 pounds. As the question-and-answer period wound down, Boscobel’s executive director Steven Miller invited guests to stroll the grounds looking for new nests, but many opted to dodge the raindrops and seek breakfast in the village.