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Successful Nesting Yields 499 Alligator Snapping Turtle Eggs
Southwest Region, June 11, 2007
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Region 2 Fisheries Supervisor Jennifer Fowler-Propst and turtle eggs harvested.
Region 2 Fisheries Supervisor Jennifer Fowler-Propst and turtle eggs harvested. - Photo Credit: n/a

Alligator snapping turtle nest beside pond.
Alligator snapping turtle nest beside pond. - Photo Credit: n/a
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Region 2 Fisheries Supervisor Jennifer Fowler-Propst finds alligator snapping turtle nest with eggs.
---- Region 2 Fisheries Supervisor Jennifer Fowler-Propst finds alligator snapping turtle nest with eggs. - Photo Credit: n/a

Alligator snapping turtle nest as found beside pond
Alligator snapping turtle nest as found beside pond - Photo Credit: n/a

With 28 adult female alligator snapping turtles on the Tishomingo National Fish Hatchery, to date, 20 nests have been located along the banks of 3 ponds.  In similar fashion to previous years, the female turtles prefer to nest in loose dirt on the pond bank, and each clutch had an average of 25 eggs.  The eggs, which resemble a ping-pong ball in size, shape, and color, and average 25 grams in mass, have been placed in plastic containers in vermiculite and placed in an incubator where humidity and temperature levels are monitored daily.  The temperature is being kept around 28o C to ensure a 50/50 ratio of male to female. The eggs should hatch in approximately 85 days around the end of August or first of September.   Extensive data, necessary for implementing a management plan to restore this species of concern to its historical range in the Arkansas-Red River basin, is being collected on the turtle nests as well; measurements of the elevation from water to the nest opening are recorded, as are distance of nest opening to the water’s edge, the top of the nesting cavity, bottom of nesting cavity, and distance to the top of clutch.  The years of habitat stability here at the hatchery have contributed to increased reproduction numbers which are expected to continue.  After hatching, the young turtles will be retained at the Tishomingo NFH for approximately 2 years, where growth, habitat preference, and eating habits will be monitored.  After the two year head start period, the turtles will be released into the wild.


Contact Info: Martin Valdez, 505-248-6599, martin_valdez@fws.gov



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