This was not meant to be a nature blog, but for the past couple of weeks I have gotten close to several of the different species of wildlife on the Blackstone Bikeway on my bike rides. I have been riding this bike path for three years now and while I occasionally would see river turtles, for the first time this morning, I saw a snapping turtle. Actually, it was more like 8. They were littered along the path, very close to fences and the paved path. The mama turtles were laying their eggs.
I couldn't get over how many there were when I had never seen them before, but then it hit me. Today was the earliest I had began my ride. In trying to beat the forecasted rain, I started my ride an hour and a half earlier than normal. On the way back, the time I would have usually started, the turtles had already laid their eggs and were gone.
It was interesting to watch them scoop out a hole in the dirt. While I didn't see any eggs, one of the turtles was loudly grunting as she was trying to lay her eggs. While on land, these turtles are reputed to be belligerent, but the ones I saw seemed pretty calm, probably because they were busy with the task at hand. On the return trek of my ride, I ran into one crossing the bike path to head back to the river.
In 9 -18 weeks, whatever eggs haven't been eaten by skunks, squirrels or other predators will hatch. I will have to keep an eye out for these baby turtles in late summer.