Saturday, July 18, 2009

Weekend In New Jersey

I am visiting with family members in southern New Jersey this weekend. We are attending a graduation party at the home of my sister and her husband. They live in a beautiful wooded area, with a great pool and barbecue area. My sister is a wonderful hostess and they always have such a great selection of food and drink for their guests. Along with hot dogs and hamburgers, we had potato salad, macaroni salad, "sloppy joe" barbecue, pasta, baked beans and more. Another of my sisters brought along a fruit salad, and my brother made a unique salad, using watermelon, mozzarella cheese, basil and balsamic vinegar. Sounds weird - must admit I made a face when he told me what it was. But it was delicious! Recipe here.

When we arrived, my sister showed us a video she shot on her camera of a box turtle digging a nest to lay her eggs! That's something you don't come across every day! I am hoping that she will be able to share the video with us via e-mail. I'd love to ask her to allow me to post it on my blog. I did some research on the internet and see that Eastern Box Turtles lay their eggs and leave them unguarded, just like the sea turtles do. The eggs start to hatch in late summer or early fall. I told my sister to keep an eye out for the babies when they hatch to make sure they don't accidentally end up in her swimming pool! From what I read, the female box turtle will lay hundreds of eggs during her lifetime (3-8 in a clutch, several clutches a year) and out of those hundreds only 3-4 babies will survive to adulthood. How sad that is! I hope that by keeping an eye out for them, maybe the hatchlings from this nest will all be able to grow up.

Off and on during the afternoon, my mind would wander and I'd find myself reviewing my videos of my grandson Justin. I miss him! Unfortunately, his parents weren't able to join us for the party this weekend.

Time to set the computer aside for the evening. Hope you all have a good night.

4 comments:

  1. Great post. It is indeed rare to find a turtle nesting in the wild.

    If you sister can find the nest again, she may want to protect it from predators. The best method I know, is to take an old animal cage or bird cage (with the bottom part removed) tent spikes, and rocks. You then place the cage over the site, so that the nest is well within, and spike down four sides. Then stack rocks around the edges, to discourage predator digging. I usually place one final rock on top, off to the side to avoid blocking the sun. This method is quite a fortress.

    Toward the end of the incubation period, it is important to remove the rocks, to allow the hatchlings free access through the bars. If that is not possible, you can then remove the cage altogether, otherwise the little ones could get trapped without access to cover or water. One other option would be to wait until they hatch (usually in rainy days in September). Gather them, and place them under leaves that lie under low shrubs. They will hunker down and begin their lives in safe cover.

    Although, it may be tempting, you should never keep a hatchling (or any turtles for that matter) from the wild.

    I wish you and your sister much success with this.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very good advice, Patricia! Thank you for reading my post. In fact, my sister has placed a milk crate over the site of the nest to make sure no one will park on it - never thought about predators digging it up. I will let her know about possibly placing rocks around it or on top of it as well.

    ReplyDelete
  3. That would be so neat if you could get the video. I love turtles. I hope the nest will be safe. :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. If you sister can find a cage or construct something out of wire fencing, that would be better. The nest needs the sun to successfully incubate. The milk crate may block too many rays.

    ReplyDelete