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News > Warmer weather brings some of Team Robins out of their shells
Warmer weather brings some of Team Robins out of their shells

Posted 5/30/2014   Updated 6/2/2014 Email story   Print story


by Jenny Gordon
Robins Public Affairs

5/30/2014 - ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- As you're out and about on base, you may come across a few turtles on the road or on dry land.

There are at least nine turtle species which dwell in lakes, ponds, streams and marsh habitats on base, according to Bob Sargent, Robins' natural resources manager and wildlife biologist.

Sometimes you may find them in the middle of a road, venturing away from water.

Be mindful that it's mating season, and their activities increase with the arrival of warm weather.

"Unfortunately, turtles often get hit by cars during warm weather months, so slow down if you see one, and be very careful if you decide to help one cross a road," said Sargent. "Most turtles are docile and will paw the air in panic if you pick them up, but won't harm you other than perhaps scratch you if you get too close to their claws."

While they're rather cute animals, please be aware that snapping turtles in particular can do more damage than some might expect.

"They have long tails, ridged upper shells, long necks, webbed feet and thick claws, huge heads and powerful jaws that can deliver a nasty bite," he said. "Common snapping turtles are omnivores, eating many species of aquatic plants, but their powerful jaws allow them to capture and eat just about any small animal found in their aquatic world."

Some turtles lay only a few eggs two or even three times per year. Snapping turtles can lay up to 50 eggs in one nesting effort each spring, said Sargent. They incubate for two to three months.

Interestingly, nesting temperature in the early incubation period determines the sex of the young. If spring weather is warm and the nest is in a very sunny spot, 'hatchlings' will be mostly female. If cool, they will be mostly male.

Remember, don't pick one up. Many adult turtles found on base are from 30 to 40 pounds.

"The only threats they face, once they reach adulthood, are from alligators and people," he said.

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