Everything you need to know about protecting turtle nests — Turtles Kingston

Everything you need to know about protecting turtle nests — Turtles Kingston

How long to leave nest protectors on

Once you’ve placed a nest protector over a turtle nest we recommend leaving it until March the following year. Why is this? 

Some turtles (midland painted turtles and northern map turtles) will hatch but then overwinter in their nests. This means the turtle hatchlings will emerge from their nests after winter between March and June the following year. 

If protecting turtle nests on your own property you can easily leave the nest protectors where they are. However, if you have received permission to protect a turtle nest on public property it is likely you will have to remove the nest protector in the autumn – and this is ok. 

Obviously, removing the nest protector prior to the hatchlings emerging may result in the nest being predated, but there is some evidence that nests are primarily predated in the first days after being laid. 

If you know the turtle nest you have protected is not a painted or map turtle then you can remove the nest protector after the hatchlings have emerged. 

How do you know the hatchlings have emerged?

If you are lucky, you will have seen some of the hatchlings leaving the nest! If you weren’t around for this then you can tell the hatchlings have emerged as there will be a small hole in the soil. 

This hole isn’t always visible, so we recommend leaving all nest protectors on until at least October.

NEVER dig down into the nest to see if there are still eggs or hatchlings left. This is illegal! The turtles will come out when they are ready and if they plan to overwinter in their nest this can actually kill them!

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