One of two box turtle species at Chert Hollow Farm.
One of two box turtle species at Chert Hollow Farm.Mating generally occurs late spring to early summer. This photo is from June 17, 2014.
On the evening of June 6, 2015, a female dug a nest in a young patch of sweet corn in our main vegetable field:
This nest had at least two young on October 30, 2015. Photo on left shows one (next to a walnut for scale). It was about an inch below the soil surface in the same nest location. The photo on right shows the shell of a sibling below, but I did not dig it out or determine the total count of young in an effort to minimize disturbance to the nest.
Common Snapping Turtles are present here, but we encounter them infrequently. The specimen shown here was wandering near the chicken area after a heavy rain, and we decided that we’d be best off moving it somewhere else, due to the presence of young chicks in the vicinity (none were harmed). Another encounter happened when we decided to cool off in a small but deep pool of the stream on a hot day. I recall mentioning to Eric that he could expect a yell if snake or a snapping turtle appeared. Not long thereafter, we both scrambled out of the pool to avoid a snapper. Fortunately, they are reportedly less aggressive in the water than on land, and our observations support this.
We have eaten snapping turtle, though it was not farm sourced. A friend snared one while fishing in a pond, butchered it, and shared some meat with us. Prepared as turtle soup, it was delicious.
We’ve had two observations of the Western Painted Turtle at Chert Hollow Farm between 2007 & 2012, both times near the house, and both times moving fast. Their primary habitat tends to be aquatic, so the ones we’ve seen are probably just passing through. They certainly seemed in a hurry to get somewhere else, and aren’t at all shy.