Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Relocating Turtle Nests

When the Traver Creek Project was started, one of the most interesting parts was the turtle stipulation. In order to begin the creek renovation, a permit was submitted to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ.) To satisfy the MDEQ permit of the project, turtles and other herptofauna were relocated from the two inline detention basins (AKA ponds on holes #12 and #17) on Traver Creek to the pond on #8. There are at least four large snapping turtles (Chelydra serpentina) and numerous painted turtles(Chrysemys picta) in Traver Creek and there was concern over what would happen to these turtles during and after the project was completed. To help them after the project, four sand piles were created for the turtles to use as nesting areas. 

The mother laying her eggs.

Last week, a City employee noticed a painted turtle laying eggs in the lawn area of an apartment complex. These eggs would have had very little chance of hatching and those eggs that hatched would have had a hard time getting to the relative safety of the water. The employee notified Natural Area Preservation (NAP) and the staff herpetologist came out to examine the nest. He determined that the eggs would not survive and removed them. He marked the eggs because they an air bubble grows at the top. If the eggs are inverted, the embryos inside will not develop. 

The eggs in the nest.

Nine eggs were marked and removed. This is a typical amount of eggs per nest.

The eggs were taken to the pond near #12 at Leslie. A shallow hole was excavated and the eggs placed inside. After covering the eggs with soil, a predator exclusion box was placed over the nest. This will keep raccoons and other small animals from eating them until they hatch in September.

One of the turtle nesting mounds.

The predator exclusion box, along with an explanation of what it is and a phone number for questions.

Over the weekend, a golfer noticed a snapping turtle doing the same thing in one of the bunkers at Huron Hills.


The turtles go into a trance when laying eggs and do not respond. Please stay away from them during this process.

These eggs were removed to another location, closer to the south pond of the Huron River.








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