BY LISA NAGEL
Last fall we assisted 23 terrapin hatchlings out of the nests that we had protected at our turtle sanctuary during the summer of 2021. Many others self-released without ever being seen. The thumbnail-sized hatchlings, once stirred by the warmth of the sun, scurry to find suitably protected spots beneath leaves and other forest debris, to rest and get ready for winter. But where are they now?
Diamondback Terrapins bromate (hibernate) for the winter near their nesting sites, digging down into the sandy mud in marsh areas, or burrowing into the grassy woodland understories and fields in more upland nesting sites. Turtles are cold-blooded, freeze tolerant, and able to slow their metabolism, which helps them survive through the winter. Once they have found their hibernation spot, they will stay snuggled in the earth until spring. Sometimes they choose not to emerge at all in their first season after being laid, and will spend their first year completely underground, instead choosing to emerge the following spring for the first time. It’s not the Caribbean but it’s still pretty cozy!
Interested in getting involved with our Turtle Team? Contact us here!
Lisa Nagel is Orenda’s Volunteer Turtle Team Coordinator, a member of the Board of Directors and the Organization’s incoming Clerk. She is honored to be part of an organization with a mission of protecting land and wildlife, and is especially interested in connecting and engaging with young people to help protect our valuable resources.