FEATURES: Box Turtles Have Survival Rate of One in A Thousand
With careful observation, you may witness a wonder of nature! Over the next several weeks, baby turtles will be emerging from their underground nests. (See photo above and Front Page) Turtle eggs are laid three-five inches below soil surface in late May to June. Nesting sights are chosen for their soft soils and abundant warmth. Occasionally nesting sites are on the edge of roads, placing these tiny reptiles at risk.
Turtle hatchlings, about the size of a quarter, face immense perils in their struggle to survive. Their nest to water journey is fraught with danger! On average, only one in 160 hatchlings will reach adulthood. Some species, such as the New England Box Turtle have a survival rate of one in a thousand!
Turtles have walked the earth for more than 250 million years, but due to human activity, their population has declined dramatically in the last 100 years. Loss of habitat, roadways, mowing, and predation are major obstacles to turtle survival.
Groton is fortunate to have seven species of turtles, including three on the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act: Blanding's Turtle, Wood Turtle, and Box Turtle. The Painted Turtle, Eastern Musk Turtle and Snapping Turtle have more robust populations. The town's abundant conserved lands, wetland, ponds and rivers are excellent habitat for turtles. Protecting land and preventing road mortality are essential to maintaining them in perpetuity.
If you are fortunate enough to see baby turtles, it is best to leave them alone, unless they are threatened by predators or road mortality. If so, gently pick them up behind their front legs and place them in a safe area (near location of observation) under leaf litter but never directly into water. They will find their way to water as they have done for millions of years.
With our collective stewardship, we can help to insure that turtle populations thrive for generations to come.
Groton Turtle Conservation
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