Keep an Eye out for Tiny Turtles Emerging in Spring

Turtles that lay eggs in the leaf litter and soft sands of the maritime forest in the summer don’t wait around for those babies to hatch.  Many hatch in the fall, emerging from the eggs using their little egg tooth, and overwinter in the nest, staying close to siblings well below the surface.  But these warmer, longer days of spring trigger them to emerge, and they have been showing up along the roadsides.

This week, we have seen yellow-bellied sliders, tiny mud turtles, and diamondback terrapin. If you find one in the road, move it forward out of danger, in the same direction it was going.  And sure, these guys are cute, but resist the temptation to bring them home.  They are capable of feeding themselves.

Ocean Rescue of a Yellow-bellied Slider

Thanks to Carey Sullivan and her sweet Jack Russells, we could get this yellow-bellied slider back to fresh water.  In the big spring storm we had, he was probably washed down a gully into the water and swept out to sea with an outgoing tide. He managed to meander up the beach but got confused by a tide pool, and had turned around by the time Carey found him.

I am assuming this is a male because we can see a relatively long tail, but I am not positive.  We gathered up this little one and put him or her over near Huyler House pond, where we took this video last year: