Our friend Michael provided these wonderful pictures of a Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina) that decided to nest near his home last year. The photograph above shows the mother digging a nest on July 7, 2013. Three eggs were laid in the nest.
After the eggs had been deposited, the turtle used its hind legs to scrape leaves and dirt to cover the nest and hide it. Turtle nests are often plundered by raccoons or other animals, so some concealment is necessary.
On September 25, Michael was present when the baby Box Turtles emerged. Fragments of egg shell can be seen in the background. Both the day when the parent excavated the nest and the day the baby turtles emerged were drizzling rain. Michael speculates that some rain was required to soften the clay soil enough to allow digging the nest and to subsequently allow the baby turtles to dig their way out of the nest.
The baby turtles were muddy, so Michael took them inside and carefully washed them. Then he took this great photograph to show their size relative to a quarter. Cute little things, aren’t they!