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Monday, April 14, 2008

Egg Mystery

As you know, Mother Nature left us an egg in a dirt nest last week. Like all of you, we were anxiously awaiting Mom’s arrival back to the nest. I sent the pics to my son at college who sent them to the boys on our street at college to see if they knew what it was. My husband, the crime scene investigator, even had the other forensic scientists at the lab looking at the pics and guessing (ha-ha!). And, of course, I thank you all for the suggestions!

Our plan--We didn’t put the porch light on so “she’d” be more comfy. We walked quietly by the front door so noone would be disturbed by noise. We peeked out the window at all odd hours to see if there were any changes. The girls looked before bed Friday night and saw nothing.

Imagine our surprise Saturday morning when we woke up to this sight:



When did this happen? I had even peeked when I was up in the middle of the night!


Where did it go? Upon further inspection, we realized it was perfectly buried…like you wouldn’t even know it was there! I think this was the Mama’s plan!

Alexandra of Silver Bell Cottage and Thirkellgirl of Ivy Cottage Corner even had a few Naturalists take a look and I so appreciate it! At first we thought it was certainly the nest of a mallard duck as they live all along the river which is across the street from us.


But the perplexing burial of the egg lead us to box turtle, again fairly common here. Alexandra’s friend, Biologist Dave, sent this link about box turtles which confirmed it for us! Another site, from the Smithsonian, says:

"The mating season begins in the spring and continues throughout summer to October. Males may mate with more than one female or the same female several times over a period of several years. A female may lay fertile eggs for up to four years after one successful mating. Nesting occurs from May through July. Nests are usually dug in sandy or loamy soil, using the hind legs. Then eggs are laid in this cavity and the nest is carefully covered up again. Females lay three to eight eggs, usually four or five, and they are elliptical with thin, white, flexible shells. The female lays several clutches each year. Incubation normally lasts three months, but this varies according to soil temperature and moisture."
This is from my my youngest daughter's turtle book...
Wow! I suppose our family will be keeping an eye on this for the next couple of months!

Oh, one last detail from the Smithsonian article:

"Males sometimes fall backwards after copulation, and if they can't right themselves they die of starvation."

Oh no! I was worried about Mom, but do you think Dad is OK?

42 comments:

bj said...

oooo, my goodness! How amazing is this. It will be fun to watch thru the summer and see when it hatches...
bj

Alison Gibbs said...

How much fun to be watching what develops.
Alison

kelly said...

cool!

Dena ~ swaddlecottage said...

How amazing! I can't imagine finding such a thing and then being able to watch the developments. Keep us posted!!!!

Hugs,
Dena

KarenHarveyCox said...

So wonderful that so many people helped you to uncover the secret of the nest. Saturday my husband was raking the leaves and uncovered a bunny nest.
Thanks for stopping by today, and I hope you are feeling better. I can't wait to see what happens with the turtle nest. I think that the nest being buried is a good sign that the parents are watching over their nest. Karen

Holly (Nickname) said...

Wow ! that is really neat Tara.. a family of turtles!...most I have had is a family of squirrels in my shed.Boy do they make a mess, but at least thay had a warmr winter!
xxxooo Ruth

Thirkellgirl said...

I'm completely and utterly disgusted with my daughter (the NATURALIST) and my husband (Nature Boy). I think having a turtle nest is a wondrous thing. :)

Sandi McBride said...

I was perfectly happy to find out that you knew it was a box turtle...and then you had to throw in that one bit of info that I didn't need to know...as in TMI...lol...me, who stops in the middle of the road to move even snapping turtles out of danger, now will worry that Dad will be sipping champagne and passing out cigars in heaven rather then in Mother Nature's waiting room! Please Tara...tell me you found Dad alive and well...ease my mind!
Sandi

bluemuf said...

Tara, this is amazing. This is going to be so much fun for you and your family keeping watch over the nest. I look forward to when it hatches.

Karen

Tara said...

Sandi

I haven't seen Mom or Dad anywhere near here..but I had to laugh with what could have happened to him! Life's never easy, even for a turtle! I'll keep an eye out!
:0)
Tara

Oliver Rain said...

That is so amazing. I'll bet you will keep your eyes peeled to that spot. Just imagine.

Thank you for the lovely comment. It's about the nicest thing anyone has ever said.

Blanca said...

Very interesting can't wait to see developments.

Blanca

Donna said...

Oh Wow Tara, how interesting! I can't wait to see what develops. Should be fun to watch!
Hugs,
Donna

Pat said...

Ah! Mystery solved! What fun to see a baby turtle emerge in the late summer!

I bet the daddy is ok -- lol!
Hugs, Pat

Joy said...

So cool! Can't wait till it hatches. Wonder how long will it all take?? We have had many box turtles over the years but they have always wondered off.

Cottage Contessa said...

Oh Tara! Your last comment almost made me choke on my breakfast when I burst out laughing! So funny! How cool is that to have a turtle nesting in your yard! Keep us posted sweetie, and have a terrific day!
Amanda (aka Cottage Contessa)

Deb said...

How fantastic Tara & what fun for you and your family to watch and see what developes!

JeannieTheDreamer said...

This is so amazing Tara, and a good omen too! Are you going to install a live webcam tee hee... oh how awesome.

Have a great week.

Jeannie

Edie Marie's Attic said...

Hi Tara!
What fun! A future baby turtle! Does that make you a grandma? Tee-hee!
Hugs, Sherry

Nora Lee said...

Tara,
How neat! I'm not sure I would have noticed it, glad you did! Looking forward to hearing about the developments.

Sandra

Debachu said...

Ah, the mystery deepens. Maybe that means there's more than just the one egg under there now. I'm rubbing my hands together in gleeful anticipation to see what happens.

Carletta said...

Mystery solved! What a wonderful post. I hope we get to see baby!

M.KATE said...

hi tara, reading this post is like reading a story..you are so creative in posting, i cant wait to see the when the eggs hatched :)

Classic Charm said...

Oh boy this is going to be fun! Can't wait to see what happens. Keep us updated will ya? Thanks dear Tara for your sweet comments on my blog I truly appreciate it.
Hugs,
rose

Tracy said...

This is amazing!...I go away with a cold a couple of days and was surprised by all that's been happening at your place, Tara! Big mystery...Keep us posted! Happy week, Sherlock ;o) ((HUGS))

restyled home said...

How exciting...turtle eggs!! My kids would love to watch your mystery unfold!

Have a great week!
Linda

Mary said...

Wow, that is so neat! Keep us posted...
xoxo,
Mary

Beverly said...

Wow, how incredible. I will be staying tuned.

Now, isn't that just like a male?

Ele at abitofpinkheaven said...

How exciting to have a littel mystery. Us mothers are tricky!!!

Dawn-Hydrangea Home said...

That is so exciting for your kids to watch and see what happens. Can't wait to see what it is!

Sandra Evertson said...

Oh, my gosh! This is so exciting! But only ONE egg?!
Can't wait till it hatches!
Sandra Evertson

kelly said...

T-no worries, i'll look forward to hearing about your trip and of course, any reports from the sitter ;) kel

Rosie's Whimsy said...

Well aren't you the best investigator ever!! Box turtles perfect! :-) Rosie

Connie said...

How cool.

Jill -Forever and Ever House said...

This is so cool! I had a good laugh at poor dad passing out with exhaustion!! Hope he is o.k.!! I can't wait to see how it all unfolds!

Brenda said...

That is neat. I was worried a snack hehe,but I don't know anything about eggs,but chickens.

tales from an O.C. cottage said...

That is so neat! We just found a hose finches perfect little nest w/ 5 of the most beautiful blue eggs...within days they'd hatched! It's so amazing to watch!!!!

M

Rue said...

I love reading about this! Are you going to name it when it hatches? ;)

rue :)

Melissa @ The Inspired Room said...

A turtle? This is a great story, we'll probably see you on National Geographic or 48 hours mystery (the egg mystery), sharing this fascinating tale!

Melissa

Shannon J said...

Oh wow! This is so cool. What fun it will be to maybe see the little ones! ;) Poor Dad! You think mom might give him a lift or something to set him upright again! lol
Take care, Tara!
Hugs,
Shannon

All Things Bright and Beautiful... said...

Dear Tara - never a dull moment at your house - or on your blog :-) Love it :-)!

karlascottage.typepad.com said...

That will be a fun family to keep on eye on!