So this totally happened while hiking on Monday at Teatown Nature Preserve. Came upon a painted turtle along the trail sitting on top of some freshly dug dirt. Was a bit thrown off at first, like hmmmm, what’s she doing here? Is she ok? Should we take her back to the water? … OH SHIT, she’s laying eggs!!!!! Like right now!!!!! This is amazing!!!!! So we stood there and watched her squeeze out 8 eggs (maybe more before we got there) and then watched her bury the eggs to her liking and then watched her walk away like nothing happened. Just another day in the life of a turtle. Pretty sure I was way more fascinated by this miracle of life than she was. In my head, it sounded a little something like this … OMG is this really happening right now? Am I really witnessing this? This is CRAAAAZZY! I feel like these babies are partly mine now. How does she fit all those eggs inside her small body? Will they be ok? Maybe I should take them and bury them at home to ensure that they live. I want to come back when they hatch [counting number of days]. What is the mom going to do when she’s done burying them? This is so magical and cool as shit. OMG OMG OMFG.
Of course I did a little turtle research on the way home. The mom can lay up to 11 eggs within the 4-6″ deep hole she dug with her hind legs (the ladies do all the work). The incubation period is 72 days, so these quarter-sized babies should hatch mid-August. Yes, they seriously come out the size of a quarter. I get so giddy when I think of that!!!! [insert visual of me squealing and fast-paced tiny clapping and jumping up and down … I know you’re with me on that, so don’t even pretend]. And then these little babies instinctively make their way directly to the water to live happily ever after (obviously!).
OMG OMG OMFG.