A few months ago (May), a portion of the female turtle population in our Wetlands was up walking about the landscape looking for suitable locations to lay their eggs. The offspring of those turtles who were successful, and whose eggs weren’t subsequently dug up and eaten by raccoons, are now walking about the Museum’s landscape searching, this time, for water.
I came across two Yellow-bellied Slider (Trachemys scripta) hatchlings Tuesday afternoon near the end of the day and one the next morning. All were in the area near the Lemur House. The turtles each still had their “egg tooth” and an umbilical scar. The umbilical scar is like our belly button, except that the turtle’s belly button will disappear within a few weeks.
These tiny turtles have spent some eighty days inside eggs and are now ready to hit the waves, or at least the muddy waters of the wetlands.
So, while you’re out walking the paths keep a lookout for these little reptiles. They are quite small and can be easily overlooked, and possibly stepped on. If you see one and just can’t resist picking it up, which I don’t recommend, remember that the shell is still soft at this early age, be gentle.