Just before Memorial Day this year, Brent and I paid a visit to Ford’s Pond, one of our favorite places for catching some wildlife. Unfortunately, it was a pretty gloomy day and not even the birds felt much like stirring. As we packed up and headed out, however, we came across a pair of other wildlife less noted for their quickness, but certainly more durable.
Although you can’t see it in this photo, the edge of the lake road that circles Ford’s Pond is just out of the frame on the right. We were pretty sure this was a common snapping turtle female getting on with the business of reproduction since her hindquarters were buried in the mud at the side of the road that had been softened by recent rainfall.
I was amazed that the turtle would pick such an open area to try to propagate the species. Not only could an even slightly errant car flatten her or her eggs once laid, but there seemed to be little cover from other nearby predators, most of whom would happily have the eggs for breakfast. In 2011, I had photographed another turtle on the other side of the lake that had moseyed her way across the road, but at least she retreated further into the nearby woods further out of harm’s way. See the photo below; not a great shot, but indicative of the greater cover this particular turtle sought.
I followed this one for a bit and she retreated even further from the road in order to secure a good nesting place.
We had just finished taking our shots of the intrepid road-side female and moved just a small distance up the road when we came across another turtle. This specimen wasn’t stationary or dug in, so it’s possible this might have been a male. But still, being that “edgy” as far as the road goes certainly carries its risk.
As I said, not sure if this one was a male, but he seemed to be choosing the same dangerous path as the other member of the pair.
All in all, an enlightening lesson in turtle behavior. The Sigma 300 with the OS let me get fairly close and Brent and I were watching out for each other so that we didn’t meet the same fate as I figured this pair might. Their shells are a lot harder than ours… hope they were OK.