Snapping Beauty

The “tagline” of this blog used to be “It’s always something!” You know, because when you have a home, (especially an old one!) there’s always something breaking. Or, if you’re a “half-full” kind of person, there’s always something to improve.

Well, I eventually tired of that slogan but lately I’ve been thinking that I should bring it back. Not because something is breaking (or needing improvement) but because there’s just never a dull moment.

You see, Matt normally wakes up with the baby in the morning between 5-6 and lets me sleep until around 8:00. So last week, when he shook me awake at 6:20, I knew something was up.

Matt: “Babe, babe! You gotta get up and see this!”

Me: “Mmmmm. Nnnnn. Brgggggh.”

Matt: “No really, I think there’s a turtle laying eggs in the yard.”

Me: “Nnnnnnnnnnnnnn.”

Matt: “Really, you’ll wanna see this.”

Now, I know some women would relish the extra two hours of sleep at that point but my husband knows me, and I’d waaaaaaay rather stalk this beauty that was indeed laying her eggs outside of our bathroom window.

Connecticut Snapping Turtle

You may be looking at that picture above and thinking: Wow, the yard outside of her bathroom window is all torn up. You’d be right, of course. Thanks to her!

Connecticut Snapping Turtle

Snapping turtles are nocturnal* so who knows how long she’d been going at it at that point. She’d dig herself a hole, lower herself down into the hole, and lay some eggs. Then, she’d raise herself up, cover the eggs, and then circle around and dig another hole to lay more eggs. I make it sound simple, but having just undergone a birthing experience myself three months ago, I’m sure it wasn’t. Also, I’m making it sound fast, which it wasn’t. As I’m sure you know, turtles are very slow and deliberate, so sometimes it took her an hour to work on one hole. I have no idea how many eggs she actually put into the ground but the CT DEP says it should be between 25 and 80.

Connecticut Snapping Turtle

At first, I had no idea what kind of turtle it was. I’m not a turtle girl, per se. After posting it on Instagram, one of my followers hash-tagged #snappingturtle and all of a sudden, I was both intrigued and frightened. They’re kind of intimidating.

Around 10am, she had finished doing her thing and retreated to the brush in the background. I figured she’d travel through the brush to the stream beyond that runs along the edge of our property. I also noted to myself that I’d never be going too close to the stream again. ::Shudder:: Once she was gone, I thought I’d seen the last of her. Until…

Dog vs. Snapping Turtle

Yes, that’s Griff at the back window. What’s he staring at?

Dog vs. Snapping Turtle

The turtle! Hours later, in the afternoon, she was making her merry way toward the back woods (not to be confused with the “side brush” into which she had first retreated). Griff was absolutely FREAKING. He’s seen deer, cats, raccoons, beavers, large water fowl, hawks, squirrels, chipmunks, etc. Never a turtle. I’ve never heard him audibly growl at something so fiercely from inside the house. It was insane. Boy loves to protect!

Needless to say, I haven’t seen her since, and I don’t expect to. According to my “research,” they retreat back to water and never visit their young again. In addition to the small stream along the side of our yard, a small river runs a few hundred yards behind the house, and I’m assuming that’s where she was headed. I guess I’ll never know but you better believe I’ll be watching that area closely for any baby snapper activity. I’ll let you know what happens, for sure!

UPDATE: We have babies! Err… a baby!

*I learned this due to my due diligence… I read up on everything I could about snapping turtles. You know, just in case…

P.S. Yesterday, as I was editing this post, a deer ventured into the back yard with her baby. I let Griff out into the yard without seeing the animals, and the deer and Griff yelped and tangled for a few terrifying seconds before I went out on the deck and screamed bloody murder at the deer. She eventually ran away, stranding her baby. I brought Griff into the house and allowed her to come back for her fawn. They retreated to the woods but I continue to be spooked. I love this living in the woods things but could do without the close animal encounters…