Momma Snapping Turtle Gives Birth

Hello everyone.  Isn’t it interesting as we look at life and see the many wonders around us, some of which we are privy too and some we are not.  Well one day a few months back we were privy to one of those wonders.  It is not every day one can witness a turtle build a nest, see her lay eggs and then see those babies head off only to repeat the cycle again and again.  We were blessed to experience one of those days and record it.

It was the evening of June 2, 2016 and we were walking Emma on her long leash through the neighborhood for her evening outing when we noticed her starting to sniff at what appeared to be a large stone.  This was of no surprise because as you know dogs sniff anything and everything as if it were some tender morsel of food dropped from the sky.  As we looked closer however we noticed this large stone was moving ever so slowly.  Quickly we pulled back her leash realizing this rock like thing was a very large snapping turtle digging in the dirt.  What on earth was she doing away from the creek that was just beyond the way.  As we watched it became clear she was digging a hole to lay eggs.  What an incredible moment.  We quickly rushed Emma home, grabbed the camera gear, invited a neighbor or two and returned to the site to try and record this magnificent event.  Now, for those of you wondering what’s up with the ear of corn we really don’t know the answer.  We think someone wondering by earlier thought maybe momma turtle might be hungry after giving birth, lol.  Does anyone else have a possible explanation?

At any rate it was not 30 minutes after we got back, the turtle had finished digging the nest and slowly, painstakingly began to birth a series of ping pong ball sized eggs.  As each egg left the birth canal momma turtle would carefully catch it with one of her back feet, lower it in the hole and gently position it amongst the others before releasing another.  Over and over and over she repeated this process, at least 18 or more times.  Intermittingly as each egg was released she would glance over at us as if to acknowledge we were being given special audience to this miracle of the animal kingdom.

When she had finished laying all her eggs she immediately began meticulously covering the hole using her back legs as a shovel and a plow. After every few scoops of dirt placed over the eggs she would stand and tamp it down with her 20-pound body until it was smooth and the hole almost unnoticeable.  When she was all finished, she walked a complete circle around the nest as if to survey and admire her work.  She then seemed to look at each of us watching in awe before she began walking back toward the path leading to the pond from which she had come.   We all sat there entranced by this huge miracle we were witnessing in our community.

On September 6th, 2016 as we were traveling through Michigan we received a telephone call and, upon answering, a voice filled with excitement began exclaiming, “the turtles are hatching, the turtles are hatching, it’s so amazing”.  It was our neighbor friend Cassie from back home who was with us the night the eggs were being laid.  Cassie had been carefully watching over the nest daily to ensure no predators would disturb it. There was such a hush in our car as we listened to Cassie describe how the little turtles were climbing their way out of their earthen cradle and scurrying toward the trail heading back to the creek which their mother had traveled just 97 days prior.  When the call ended, there was an interesting silence in the car as we drove both of us reflecting on that special day the momma laid her eggs and the new friendships formed between those of us witnessing the event.


If you would like to learn more on this topic just click here on the “Turtle Rescue League” for some terrific information we found which puts this amazing event into perspective – “you are witnessing an act that has been taking place for over 200 million years.” 

You can also click on this link “The Turtle Gives Birth”  to see our September post before we compiled the new video.


~ USA Through Our Eyes ~ Stories Told Through Words, Photographs, Videos and Sound

55 thoughts on “Momma Snapping Turtle Gives Birth

  1. WOW what a great experience it would have been for you people.Moreover you have expressed it so well that anyone after reading this will wish to witness this event.Thanks for sharing!:-)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Not so brave, but I don’t like it when they see I’m scared 😉 Yes, it was me, I take the snake over from my son, he loves them, strange boy. And Mandy says hi to Emma.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. EEK, you are brave Ann to hold the spiders and the snake. Now holding doggies is our idea of joy. We loved the link and was that you holding the snake? Wow you are sooo brave. Love the puppies. So many animals in your daughters zoo. Emma says hi to Mandy.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you Theresa. Wasn’t that something to stumble upon. We have spent many years growing up in and traveling through country settings and never personally witnessed such an occurrence. The even greatest blessing was to be able to record it for all to see. It makes us happy to know you found it pleasing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. There are also snakes and big spiders, it is nice to be there, but I can not so many times to an other province, the photo from de girl with the walking leave is my granddaughter. She is living in Groningen an other province in the North, it’s a mess in the family LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  6. That is so cool. Every so often, I’ll find a bunch of freshly hatched snapping turtles wandering in the middle of a field heading away from a small creek nearby. I don’t know if I should but I pick up as many as I can and walk them to the water. Love turtles.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Thank you so much Ann for your kind words. We (Emma too) were so blessed to have come upon this miracle unfolding and then to be able to record for all to see was an even greater blessing. This is interesting that there are no turtles in the Netherlands. It has got to be exciting having your daughter owning a zoo. We would be there all the time. We love going to zoos and seeing animals that one often can’t see in our travels in the wilds. We followed the link you gave to the post on the zoo and loved reading about the animals. An armadillo that rolls into a ball… how cool is that!!!!! It carries its house every where it goes… kinda like us with our travel van, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. WOW, It is so great to see this, Audrey, the vidio is great, what a big surprise for all of you. No turtles in the wild in the Netherlands and I love them. My daughter in law owns a little Zoo (Zoo Bizar) in Drenthe with a lot of small animals, and overhere I’m glad to see a hedgehog 😉 Thank you for sharing this little wonder. And ofcorse my compliment for Emma, she find the turtle. An old blog from 2012 for both of you. Warm greetings.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Lovely! We’re so lucky to live in a time with affordable technology. I used to envy the naturalists who could afford long trips and share the sights and sounds of nature. Now we are able to see these wonders in our own backyard and document them for others. Thanks so much!

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Baffled us also that she would chose a spot where people walk by all the time. From our research once momma lays the eggs she never returns to the nest. I guess its one of the God questions “does mom recognize her babies when they swim by each other latter on”, lol. We didn’t get the video of the babies crawling out of the nest or back toward the pond. This link “” shows the babies. So glad you stopped by to check this out and let us know your feelings. Kind of once in a life time experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Remarkable video. Interesting that she chose such an open spot, and fornatunate for you that it was so accessible. So…she is finished once the eggs are laid??? Any photos or video of the turtletts crawling out of the ground??? Nice work. Thanks. M 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

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