Mother turtle pops in

AN unusual visitor brightened the day of Don Smith and his son Mark recently.

The Smith's live on North Deep Creek Rd and don't usually get turtles in their yard, let alone ones laying eggs.

Speaking to The Gympie Times this week Mr Smith said Mark, 17, stumbled on the turtle by surprise one afternoon last week.

"My son saw a lump in the yard, she was in the throws of digging a hole and laying her eggs," he said.

"I was surprised. I've never seen a freshwater turtle do that.

"She was a fair way from the water, about 120m from the pond. It would have been a fair battle to get up there."

Mr Smith said the broad-shelled snake necked turtle (chelodina expansa) would have looked for short grass.

"It explains why we see them on the roads at this time of the year, as they seek high ground, above flood levels to nest."

He admitted he was a bit of a "reptile freak" and looked the turtle up in a book.

"They lay 9-17 eggs in autumn which then take upwards of three months to hatch."

The family has now pegged chicken wire over the nest to make sure predators stay out: "But let the turtles escape when they dig to the surface."

Topics:  snake turtle

Gympie Times

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