Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Northern Map Turtle

On 11 June 2016, Erika and I were biking the Cannon Valley Trail. Near a bench, we found this Northern Map Turtle laying her eggs in the sand by the trail. This encounter was strange, since map turtles usually prefer large rivers and lakes. This turtle had a long haul, perhaps a quarter mile up hill, from the Cannon River. You would expect her to nest on sandy beaches or sandbars, not in a wooded area.

Breeding occurs in the spring and fall. Most mating occurs in deep water. Judging by the algae on this turtle’s carapace, this individual does spend most of her time in the river. Hatching happens in the late summer. A dozen eggs are laid a few times a year. Warm temperatures produce females, cooler weather results in males. When young hatch late in the year, they may overwinter in the nest (Savannah River Ecology Lab, Wikipedia)

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