Turtles already hatching in Prospect Park

underground turtle nestIn spring you may bump into turtles on forest paths when they venture out to lay eggs, then in late summer you may find babies. Whenever it’s warm you see red-eared sliders sunning on logs in the lullwater by the dozen.Just a couple weeks ago I saw a good-sized snapping turtle in the muck of the big lake. But then I got to see something special: a nest of baby turtles still in the ground.

It was in the Nethermead, the area now taken over by the awful Oooga Mooga, which probably driving out the nesting green herons found by photographer Peter Colon.

I saw these turtles on May 1. They had first been seen two weeks earlier under a toupe of grass that you could lift up and see them squirm. Were they from last year, but somehow went more slowly and were sped up by the spot of hot weather we had? According to redearslider.com the eggs usually hatch in 60-80 days and need temperatures in the 80s. That puts the egg-laying back in February or March, but obviously the temperatures were nowhere near warm enough. The hole is only a few inches deep.

I don’t see how any of these babies could make it to water without getting run-over by a human. But then again, I can’t see how the turtle mom made it to this patch of grass, either.

Snapping turtle in the Phragmites of Prospect Park Lake.

Snapping turtle in the Phragmites of Prospect Park Lake.


The only downside: the sliders aren’t native and I wonder how many birds–like wood ducks–they eat or discourage.











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Red eared sliders sunning themselves on one of the many turtle logs in the Lullwater.

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