Miracle Baby: Eastern Box Turtle Hatchling

 Eastern Box Turtle Hatchling with Egg Tooth

Wow!  What a surprise greeted the Turtle Journal Team today when this beautiful Eastern Box Turtle hatchling emerged from a nest of 68 snapper eggs.  Say what? 

Lonely Eastern Box Turtle Egg

On June 12th, a resident in East Marion found a single egg in an open nest in his driveway.  The homeowner raced to the Sippican Lands Trust office in Marion to report his find. The Sippican Lands Trust knew to call Turtle Journal, but couldn’t find our number (508-274-5108).  So, they called the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Districts in Westford to get Don Lewis’ phone number. Don called the SLT, then got in touch with the resident.  Don visited the site to assess the situation and to rescue the lonely egg.

“One of These Things Just Doesn’t Belong”

Experience has taught us that single eggs do not incubate well on their own.  So, we placed this Eastern box turtle egg in the middle of a snapper nest with 68 eggs.  Hatchlings from that nest began spilling out of emergence holes the last two days.  Shortly after noon today, Sue Wieber Nourse spotted a hatchling tunneling for the surface distinctly different from the others.  Don couldn’t help singing, “One of these things is not like the others, One of these things just doesn’t belong, Can you tell which thing is not like the others, By the time I finish my song?

COMPARISON: Box Turtle Hatchling and Mature Female

A lot of people got involved to save this little baby when it was just an egg.  In a couple of weeks, this tiny critter will be returned to its natal site for release.  And like any cold-blooded reptile in good standing, this hatchling is completely oblivious of all those human efforts to save its life, well before it was even alive.

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