Snapping turtles leaving nests, headed to water

September 1, 2018

Since it’s September, residents across the state can expect to see small snapping turtle hatchlings leaving their nests and heading toward water.

Connecticut Fish and Wildlife said snapping turtles dig nests and lay their eggs in late May and early June.

Females often fine soft dirt — sometimes on road edges or in flowerbeds — and dig a hole to lay their 20 to 40 eggs in. Once the eggs are laid, the female turtle will cover them and leave. The nest is left unattended and underground.

“If all goes well, the nest will hatch in September and the hatchlings will dig themselves out and head for water,” Connecticut Fish and Wildlife said.

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said snapping turtles should not be picked up or handled by residents at any time.

Unlike most turtles, snapping turtles rarely spend time on land, spending most of their time in water.

When temperatures dip below 41 degrees in the winter, snapping turtles across the state will got into hibernation; they burrow into mud and leaf debris in shallow water or under logs and overhanging banks. Once the turtles emerge from hibernation, they start to feed and search for mates.

Snapping turtles reach maturity between the ages of 8 and 10. The average life-span is about 40 years, but they have been known to live longer.

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