October 14, 2007 1:51 PM   Subscribe

Turtle trouble!

My parents live in suburbia. However, rather than having large backyards, they have a large manmade lake that twists between the streets so that each property is on the water.

The lake is stocked with brim, bass, catfish, and turtles.

Therein lies the problem. The lake is surrounded by bulkheads, rather than banks. Usually, there is a foot or more of vertical space between the surface of the lake and people's property.

How do the turtles lay eggs? Everything I've read says that turtles, being reptiles, must bury their eggs on land. There are baby turtles each spring.

My father posed the question to me. No one that he knows has seen turtle eggs, or even seen a turtle on land.

How, exactly, does this work out for the turtles? Storks?
posted by Pants! to Pets & Animals (6 answers total)
They probably don't reproduce. They just keep getting stocked, which I doubt would be often, because turtles live for quite some time.
posted by lain at 2:16 PM on October 14, 2007

Response by poster: Quite possible, given my questions phrasing. But I left out a detail. My father is also on the lake committee that is responsible for stocking.

They stock annually, but only fish, at least for the last five years or so that he's been on the committee.
posted by Pants! at 2:45 PM on October 14, 2007

The turtles have to be getting in and out of the lake somehow. They need to bask for starters. Probably there are turtle highways in and out where there are no bulkheads or via reedbeds and downed trees. Turtles are extremely sneaky and you won't find the nests without making a concerted effort. They dig them at night and if they even suspect they're being followed they'll wait another day.

I've never heard of anyone stocking turtles.
posted by fshgrl at 2:47 PM on October 14, 2007

A pond in the middle of my town is continually stocked by unwanted pet turtles. But I do think they are just being sneaky and getting it done out of sight.
posted by Iron Rat at 4:02 PM on October 14, 2007

I lived on an artificial lake when I was growing up, and looking back, there are a few places I could see a turtle getting out:

- near any boat docks/landings with ropes or floats
- near the place the lake maintenance folks launch their boat to inspect things
- around parts like pipes or pumps of any features, like waterfalls or fountains, that are connected to the shore
posted by mdonley at 4:28 PM on October 14, 2007

Are there other bodies of water around? If so, turtles from those ponds/streams/rivers/whatever may be laying their eggs close enough to your parents' pond that the hatchlings will get to it. I suspect that there are ways out of the pond that just aren't obvious, though.
posted by TedW at 5:19 AM on October 15, 2007

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