Searching for a Turtle Nest

by evelynsaenz

Momma Turtle is ready to lay her eggs. She climbs up the bank, scratches the ground and tries to find a soft spot. Will the mother turtle lay her eggs today?

Watching a mother turtle searching for a safe place to lay her eggs. It was a day most homeschoolers dream of. A beautiful, sunny day in the Everglades, a mother turtle preparing to lay her eggs and plenty of time for observation. When we discovered the turtle we thought at first that it might be hurt. Then we thought it might be confused. Then we noticed that she seemed to be going through contractions. We kept observing...

Nesting Turtle in the Everglades

Mother Turtle looks for a Nestting Place in the Everglades

A couple of days ago when walking the Anhinga Trail in the Everglades I stumbled upon an amazing site. A mother turtle was crawling up the bank. Of course at first I had no idea what she was up to or even if the turtle was a he or a she.

The turtle progressed steadily and purposefully up the bank. She moved much faster than I had any idea a turtle could crawl. When she got to the highest point the Mother Turtle began to look around. Whe seemed to sniff the air and then she started digging with her back feet.

The area where she was digging had very dense grass growing there so she decided to move on. The mother turtle went a few inches and tried it again.

As I watched I could see the soft part of her body, right under the shell push outward as if she was in labor. I kept hoping that she would succeed in digging a hole and that I would get to see it happen.

Mother Turtle is Ready to Lay her Eggs

The Mother Turtle climbs the bank looking for a place to dig a nest.
A mother turtle is looking for a place to lay her eggs.
A mother turtle is looking for a plac...

The Mother Turtle looks for the Highest Spot

The Mother Turtle wants to be sure that the eggs are laid above the high water mark.
Mother Turtle reaches the Top of the Bank
Mother Turtle reaches the Top of the ...

Mother Turtle Magnet

Turtle Magnet

Turtles in the Garden

Refrigerator Magnet Flower Garden

I am a member of the 365flowers Club. We are posting new photos of flowers found in our gardens or in our travels throughout the day. As part of the club we are creating magnets from our best shots in order to create a flower garden on our refridgerators. Wouldn't a turtle magnet look lovely as an added accent to the Refrigerator Flower Garden?

Have you ever seen a turtle lay her eggs?

Labor Pains for Mother Turtle

Mother Turtle pauses between contractions

As I stood in the pathway watching the mother turtle, I noticed how she periodically scratched at the turf. Her back legs were trying to dig a hole. She would dig or scratch about 5 times and then pause and look around. Each time she paused I could see her strain, the soft flesh of her body would push out in a way that reminded me of when I was in labor pushing to give birth to my children.

Each time the contractions receeded the mother turtle would move a bit further away and try scratching again. The park ranger said it might take her a couple of days to find the right spot.

Mother Turtle's Choice of Nesting Spots

Learn more about Freshwater or River Turtles

When I came across this mother turtle she was climbing up the bank and stopped right next to the path. I thought that it was very strange that she chose a place so close to where visitors walk on a daily basis.

The park ranger, however, explained that mother turtles look for a high spot on a bank above the water. As the rainy season progresses, the water level of the Everglades rise and the Mother Turtle is assuring that her babies will not drown.

He also explained that the wildlife along the canal in the Everglades are used to visitors and have come to ignore them. The mother turtle was not disturbed by all the visitors watching and taking pictures of her.

To learn more about fresh water turtles, or terrapins I have included links to three books from Amazon which have wonderful illustrations and detailed information. The first book is especially good for reading aloud to children. The second book has the detailed information to answer most any questions you might have. The third book is a guidebook where you could discover the kind of turtle you may have found.

Turle Nesting Near the Path

A Mother Turtle looks for a soft spot to dig a hole for her eggs
Mother Turtle goes back into the water without laying any eggs
Mother Turtle goes back into the wate...
Evelyn Saenz took this photo on the A...

Florida softshell turtle

What kind of turtle is it?

From online research I discovered that this mother turtle is a Florida softshell turtle. I was surprised to find that it was called a softshell turtle because her shell didn't appear to be soft. Further research taught me that Softshell Turtles are the fastest turtles living in the USA. They are native to Florida and surrounding states. Florida softshell turtles live most of their lives in water. Since Softshell Turtles live in freshwater instead of salt water, they are technically called terrapins rather than turtles.

Watch Baby Turtles Hatch

Baby turtles begin to come out of the sand at about 8 minutes into this video.

About the Author

Extend your knowledge of Mother Turtle's Habitat

Evelyn Saenz: Lensography of a Teacher
Evelyn Saenz writes unit studies which always include dozens of hands-on games, activities and lesson plans for teachers, parents and homeschoolers. This link will take you to her many online articles.

Updated: 12/13/2016, evelynsaenz
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?

Have you ever seen a turtle make a nest or lay eggs?

Only logged-in users are allowed to comment. Login
evelynsaenz on 04/12/2013

They sure do have amazing noses, pawpaw. Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. :)

pawpaw on 04/12/2013

Great find. I've seen many other turtles on their trek to lay eggs, but I've never seen a softshell. Very cool. The baby softshell turtles are very fast compared to other types of turtles. I always liked the look of their noses.

evelynsaenz on 03/21/2013

I wondered about seeing this site in such a public spot as well so I questioned one of the park rangers who told me that the animals in the park have gotten used to people and now no longer fear them.

Helene Malmsio on 03/20/2013

What an interesting story, I've never seen this, and I'm surprised you did along with the other public at the spot - wow!

SquidRich on 08/26/2011

Fascinating to read of your experience with the turtle.

bev-owens on 07/25/2011

What a wonderful experience! I had not thought about a mother turtle going through an almost labor to lay her eggs but it makes sense.

evelynsaenz on 06/04/2011

I do feel privileged to see it. Each day that you walk out into the woods or along a path in the Everglades there are new things to see. How sad it is that today's children spend so much time indoors missing such sites as a turtle laying eggs.

ohcaroline on 06/03/2011

You were privileged to see this wonderful site. What a memory!

AJ on 06/02/2011

Wow - how did you manage to tear yourself away Evelyn? How lucky you were to see this.

fanfreluche on 06/02/2011

I never seen a turtle make a nest or lay eggs in real (only on a TV show). It must be a fascinating experience.

You might also like

Box Turtles | Raising Terrapins as Pets

Box turtles | Everything you need to know after you rescue a terrapin from of...

What Do Turtles Eat

Looking after pet Turtles is a great fun hobby, so knowing all the Turtle fac...

Disclosure: This page generates income for authors based on affiliate relationships with our partners, including Amazon, Google and others.
Loading ...