Inadvertently dug up some babies...

Relic

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Joined
Sep 8, 2018
Messages
543
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Here
Well, even after doing this for 50 years I still surprise myself. Last night it was 28 degrees here, and today wasn't getting out of the 40's - a perfect time to clean up all the dead leaves in my box turtle pen before spring arrives, while the turtles are down for their long winter sleep. I exposed a few adult carapaces as I raked up leaves, and I carefully put some damp leaves back on top of them. It's hard to walk around in leave-covered monkey grass and not step on one of these guys who burrow so shallowly. But I digress. After a couple of hours, all the leaves were gone and the place was looking nice. There was one last item to deal with: a clump of umbrella grass growing at the pond drain pipe exit. It had been there all summer and was partially blocking the flow from the pipe when I drained the little pool for cleaning, so I decided to dig it up today. It was a small area - maybe 8 inches by 8 inches. No turtles had ever used this depressed area, chock full of roots, to brumate in. I dug hard, and had to slam the sharpshooter into the soil to cut roots. I finally flipped out a chunk of root-ball and discovered a tiny three-toed hatchling lying upside down in the hole - approximately 4-5 inches deep. Crap! I picked it up--encrusted in dirt--and saw that it was very much alive and apparently, miraculously, uninjured. I started to walk toward the pen exit gate to examine it on a table and happened to see a second hatchling--again upside down--about 10 feet away, in the direction I had thrown the root-ball toward the trash can. Double-crap! And this guy, too, was somehow quite alive and uninjured. After a quick photo, I carefully placed them in a secluded corner of the pen and covered them with loose soil and wet leaves. Apparently, one of the females had decided to nest in this exact area late last summer and the eggs had hatched but the babies had not yet decided to surface. I had read about this overwintering in the nest before, but had never seen it. Live and learn... IMG_9366 2.jpeg
 

jeff kushner

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Joined
Jul 24, 2020
Messages
219
Location (City and/or State)
North of Annapolis
Well Relic, I have learned my "new thing" for the day and it's only 3am! I had never read where turtles would hatch but elect not to surface before.....and those guys are definitely hatchlings alright. Very cool!


and the guys are VERY lucky....probably a bit angry at you for disturbing them, but lucky nonetheless.

jeff
 

maggie3fan

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Joined
Jun 30, 2018
Messages
4,847
Location (City and/or State)
PacificNorthWest
Well, even after doing this for 50 years I still surprise myself. Last night it was 28 degrees here, and today wasn't getting out of the 40's - a perfect time to clean up all the dead leaves in my box turtle pen before spring arrives, while the turtles are down for their long winter sleep. I exposed a few adult carapaces as I raked up leaves, and I carefully put some damp leaves back on top of them. It's hard to walk around in leave-covered monkey grass and not step on one of these guys who burrow so shallowly. But I digress. After a couple of hours, all the leaves were gone and the place was looking nice. There was one last item to deal with: a clump of umbrella grass growing at the pond drain pipe exit. It had been there all summer and was partially blocking the flow from the pipe when I drained the little pool for cleaning, so I decided to dig it up today. It was a small area - maybe 8 inches by 8 inches. No turtles had ever used this depressed area, chock full of roots, to brumate in. I dug hard, and had to slam the sharpshooter into the soil to cut roots. I finally flipped out a chunk of root-ball and discovered a tiny three-toed hatchling lying upside down in the hole - approximately 4-5 inches deep. Crap! I picked it up--encrusted in dirt--and saw that it was very much alive and apparently, miraculously, uninjured. I started to walk toward the pen exit gate to examine it on a table and happened to see a second hatchling--again upside down--about 10 feet away, in the direction I had thrown the root-ball toward the trash can. Double-crap! And this guy, too, was somehow quite alive and uninjured. After a quick photo, I carefully placed them in a secluded corner of the pen and covered them with loose soil and wet leaves. Apparently, one of the females had decided to nest in this exact area late last summer and the eggs had hatched but the babies had not yet decided to surface. I had read about this overwintering in the nest before, but had never seen it. Live and learn... View attachment 316592
2 little Grumpyfaces...sweet!!!
 

Sue Ann

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Joined
Mar 19, 2019
Messages
409
Location (City and/or State)
chapin , South Carolina
Well, even after doing this for 50 years I still surprise myself. Last night it was 28 degrees here, and today wasn't getting out of the 40's - a perfect time to clean up all the dead leaves in my box turtle pen before spring arrives, while the turtles are down for their long winter sleep. I exposed a few adult carapaces as I raked up leaves, and I carefully put some damp leaves back on top of them. It's hard to walk around in leave-covered monkey grass and not step on one of these guys who burrow so shallowly. But I digress. After a couple of hours, all the leaves were gone and the place was looking nice. There was one last item to deal with: a clump of umbrella grass growing at the pond drain pipe exit. It had been there all summer and was partially blocking the flow from the pipe when I drained the little pool for cleaning, so I decided to dig it up today. It was a small area - maybe 8 inches by 8 inches. No turtles had ever used this depressed area, chock full of roots, to brumate in. I dug hard, and had to slam the sharpshooter into the soil to cut roots. I finally flipped out a chunk of root-ball and discovered a tiny three-toed hatchling lying upside down in the hole - approximately 4-5 inches deep. Crap! I picked it up--encrusted in dirt--and saw that it was very much alive and apparently, miraculously, uninjured. I started to walk toward the pen exit gate to examine it on a table and happened to see a second hatchling--again upside down--about 10 feet away, in the direction I had thrown the root-ball toward the trash can. Double-crap! And this guy, too, was somehow quite alive and uninjured. After a quick photo, I carefully placed them in a secluded corner of the pen and covered them with loose soil and wet leaves. Apparently, one of the females had decided to nest in this exact area late last summer and the eggs had hatched but the babies had not yet decided to surface. I had read about this overwintering in the nest before, but had never seen it. Live and learn... View attachment 316592
So happy they survived and are healthy. Thanks for sharing. My 2 yr old Sulcata is 13 1/2 pounds so no tripping over him.🙄
 
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