Saturday, June 17, 2017


During a recent morning jaunt around a lake in Acadia National Park we came across this snapping turtle hollowing out a nest on the edge of the trail. Staring straight ahead while using its back legs to excavate an impressively deep pit, it seemed little concerned by our presence — what, after all, does an adult snapper in a national park have to fear, except car tires? — nor by the gravel and maple seeds on its back, and went about its business with proverbial Chelonian slowness and sang-froid (they are cold-blooded, after all).

We watched the spectacle for fifteen minutes or so, then moved on. When we returned to the same spot a few hours later there was no sign of the turtle but the hole had been carefully covered over. Once we knew what to look for we found a number of other nests in the vicinity, some of which had been broken into by predators, leaving exposed scraps of eggshell and one more or less intact egg.

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