The CVEEC welcomed some new residents to the campus this summer. The staff watched with excitement as baby snapping turtles crawled their way out of the garden in front of the Administration Building. The eggs have been incubating since June when a large female decided to lay her eggs there.
Snapping turtles are common in Northeast Ohio, and are often seen at the CVEEC. They are omnivorous, consuming both plants and small animals such as fish and frogs. They are also the largest turtles found in the area, some reaching up to 20 inches long! Though they are most often seen in the water, there were many sightings of females walking around the campus looking for good nesting spots this summer.
You may be wondering if our new babies are girls or boys. The gender of snapping turtles, along with many other species of reptiles, is actually determined by the temperature of the ground during a vital stage of development while the turtles are still in their eggs. In general, mostly males develop at moderate temperatures, while warmer temperatures produce females.
Our baby turtles headed for the butterfly garden across from the administration building. From there, they will probably make their way to a small pond or stream where they can spend the first couple years of their lives. Eventually, the females will come back to the same area where they hatched to lay their own nests and start the cycle again!