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Every week there are new marvels to look for in the outdoors, and Discover Nature highlights these attractions. The Missouri Department of Conservation’s Josh Hartwig brings us the stories of river otters, luna moths, red buds, and other actors as they take center stage in nature’s theater.You can hear Discover Nature, Mondays at 7:42 a.m. and 5:18 p.m.

Discover Nature: Snapping Turtles Lay Eggs

Missouri Department of Conservation.

June 7 - June 13

Discover nature this week as snapping turtles lay their eggs deep in the sand.

Turtles are generally harmless. Those that live in water eat plants, crayfish, snails, insects, and carrion. They are an important part of the lifecycle in any body of water.

Alligator snapping turtles live only in the few natural aquatic habitats remaining in Missouri’s Bootheel. It’s the largest species of freshwater turtle in the world and is said to be very shy.

Common snapping turtles are found in rivers, streams, ponds and lakes throughout Missouri.

Female turtles are particular about where they lay and bury their eggs and might travel long distances to find a suitable location.  Most turtles select well-drained, sandy or loose soil to deposit their eggs, but the snapping turtles are careful to lay their eggs deep in the sand.

In some instances, snapping turtles eat the same foods as the fishes. They are not, however, as detrimental to fish and wildlife as generally supposed, even though they do eat some small fishes, very young ducks, and goslings. Common snappers are basically lazy and are more apt to feed on slower moving, sick, less desirable fish. By doing this, they provide a valuable clean-up service by eating diseased or weakened fish and by devouring any dead or decaying fish or other animals.

The common snapping turtle is also good to eat and should be regarded as another part of the crop from your pond, though the alligator snapping turtle is rare in our state due to habitat loss and illegal harvesting. There is no open season for the alligator snapping turtle.

To keep track of current natural events like when snapping turtles will lay their eggs you can get your own Natural Events Calendar from the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Candice Davis is the former host of Discover Nature on KRCU. Her goal is to help people to discover nature and learn to appreciate the many outdoor opportunities Missouri has to offer. Candice knows that people who spend time in the outdoors are generally less stressed, more thankful, healthier and more successful in life. Children who spend time outdoors have better grades and are more physically active. It’s Candice’s goal to inspire Missourians to discover nature in their everyday lives through stories of butterflies, elk, tupelo trees, alligator gar and other marvels of nature on KRCU’s Discover Nature program.
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