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Alligator Snapping Turtle Eggs Hatch
Southwest Region, August 27, 2007
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Photo courtesy of Tishomingo NFH; 8-27-07; Alligator snapping turtles hatching.
Photo courtesy of Tishomingo NFH; 8-27-07; Alligator snapping turtles hatching. - Photo Credit: n/a

As we approach the 85-day incubation period for alligator snapping turtle eggs, we have 75 hatchlings currently with more breaking through their shells daily.  The eggs have been kept moist in a plastic covered box on a base of vermiculite in an incubator at 28 degrees Centigrade.  Extensive data recording will relate the success of hatch percentage to each clutch of eggs found pond-side. As soon as most of the yolk sac has been absorbed, measurements are taken on the weight, carapace, and plastron length.  Each hatchling will be kept in separate family lots and numbered identically with the clutch number.

Hatchlings are being introduced to commercial feed or live fish immediately following yolk sac absorption.  A volunteer from the local college will conduct a comparative feed study for 3 months to compare growth rate differences in the two diets.  This could lead to further studies to determine if an early offering of live forage feed benefits the turtles’ adaptability when released.


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



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