July 10. Day 2.
Sunday, Mr Awesome Pants and I found an Eastern Box Turtle on the side of the house!
At the time, we were talking about re-doing the trim of the windows, and I almost stepped on it! YIKES!
The turtle was digging a hole at the time. Since neither of us knew much about turtles at the time, we guessed it was trying to escape the heat. Mr A-P knew that box turtles are hard to come by in our region (Charlestown, RI), and told me we have to keep it wild. Wild animals are meant to be kept wild. And I agree! I just felt sad that these turtles are endagered. =/
At first, I guessed the turtle was a male and "named" it Clyde. After some search-engine-ing, I realized that they dig to nest, so Clyde is now Claudia. The next morning, I saw the hole was filled and assumed she laid her eggs.
I then contacted a BFF who deals with this sort of thing for a living to ask her a few million questions. She was incredibly informative, patient and helpful!
-Female Box Turtles typically nest in June. 5-6 eggs at the most will be laid.
-She leaves after laying her eggs and probably will not return.
-The eggs will hatch in 45-60 days, 90 days the latest. Aug 22 is 45 Days. Sept 6 is 60 days. Sept 21 is 75 days. Oct 6 is 90 days.
-If they *do* hatch in October, they will stay in their nest through the winter. They will prey on insects and leaves.
-Box turtle eggs can be smelled by other predators such as deer and birds, which is partly why their mortality rate is so high.
With our turtle-expert friend's help, we built a protective "cage" for these eggs to keep them safe!
She suggested a wire mesh anchored to the ground, but with a gap at the bottom for the hatchlings to escape when they are ready. We used chicken wire that is left-over from when he built a Cat Hotel for the kitties last summer on the deck. (We are remodelling - siding, new framing for new windows and everything involved in that on all sides of the house - the cats have to be holed up for days at a time. Having the access to the outdoors keeps them entertained and plenty of fresh air) For the stakes, we used leftover wood from our house projects with the ends cut almost like arrows so they can be hammered into the ground. We used cable ties to attach the ends of the chicken wire together. And the top to the sides.
I have included some pics!
Thank you so much for your support!
Mrs Awesome Pants
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