As you may recall, Mrs. Snapping Turtle chose the little bank in the barnyard, near the ring, as the best spot to lay her eggs back in late May. I made a note of the spot, and watched the calendar as the average 60-90 days of incubation passed (see my post from 5/19/2011 for a photo of Mom Turtle).
Well, this past Sunday, I was cleaning tack and noticed a chicken running around with what I thought was a chunk of trimmed horse hoof in her beak . . . but wait!
The little black chunk turned out to be a (not injured) newly hatched snapping turtle! After shooing the chickens away, I counted 18 total hatchlings. They are perfect miniature versions of the adult turtles.
Turtles need to stay within their home habitat, which is small (never pick up a turtle in one place, drive home with it, and release it there -- it will not survive in a strange location). BUT, since these were brand new turtles facing a tough commute past hungry chickens and horses' hooves in the pasture, I gave them a lift down the hill and released them near the edge of the wetlands.