If you enjoy walking or any other outdoor activity this time of year, you may want to look down because here in the Woodlands it’s turtle hatching season and we have plenty of them.
I found two baby turtles on different days this week. For some reason, many end up along our roadways. Their nests may be close by, or rains are moving them far from the lake beds.
The first one that I found was a red-eared slider which are one of the most common turtles that you will see in our lakes. Mating season begins in May and egg-laying occurs around May through early July. The female might lay from 2 to 30 eggs and they hatch 60 to 90 days after they have been laid.
Since moving to the Woodlands, I’m amazed at how many turtles we have relocated from the roadways back to the lakes. There are many other turtle lovers here that do the same thing as well. Now that I’m thinking about it, I found a several turtles in the roadways a few months ago, I’ll bet they were females looking for an safe area to lay their eggs.
While driving home one night last month, I saw a large turtle in the headlights on the side road. I told my husband to stop so we could pick it up. It was a full-grown red-eared slider. He was not happy at all when I got back into the car with the turtle on my lap. He would have preferred that I walked to a nearby lake and put it in because sometimes turtles will urinate a bit when they are nervous. We didn’t have any problems and the turtle was safely relocated.
Today while walking, I saw what I believed was mud on the ground. I looked closer and saw a long tail sticking out. It was a different type of baby turtle that I’m used to seeing and the poor guy was barely moving. I took him home and gently washed what I thought was dirt on him. I found out that he was just a dark turtle but had a much different look than the red-eared slider. I looked at photos online and believe he is a snapping turtle.
Once I put him in a dish of shallow water, he was full of energy and ready to climb out. My daughter and I took him out to the lake, put him on a shallow root at the edge where he quickly plunged into the water and swam away.
Red-eared sliders enjoy large areas where they are free to swim and dry areas where they need to require to bask in the sun. Turtles get plenty to eat in our lakes: They are omnivores and eat a variety of animal and plant materials including tadpoles, snails, crickets, mealworms, insects and plants. Sometimes I feed them lettuce, old fruit and bread and they swim up to me with their mouths open ready to eat.
So if you are a walking, running or just like to be outside, occasionally look down and you will find a pleasant surprise.
- Sharon Aron Baron created the Woodlands Tamarac in 2010 for original News for the community. In 2011 she went on to create Tamarac Talk, in 2012, Coral Springs Talk and 2017, Parkland Talk.
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