We have had more turtle adventures. This afternoon in amongst birthday festivities we had two approach our house from the park. We were alerted to the first turtle by a vehicle stopping outside our house to make sure it crossed the road safely. At this point there was already a turtle up by our bins. Both got re-directed into sandy areas of the garden but to no real avail. They started heading back down hill. After a couple of attempts at keeping them out of harms way I ended up picking them up and putting them into the back of our yard where there is plenty of sand.
After an hour, and returning to the house from the park to retrieve a birthday cake, I saw one of the turtles making its way back down the path. I had a quick look up in the backyard and from her tracks it really didn’t look like she had wandered far at all. I saw marks in the sand that looked like the bottom of her shell and thought she may have laid eggs and tamped down the sand. I put a marker on the spot and returned to the party.
Eventually she was found crossing the grass and about 18 kindergarten kids were very excited to see a turtle – thanks to a parent at the party, the turtle was fast-tracked to the waters edge and let go without the stress that a hoard of kindy kids could produce.
After the party and in the quiet of the evening I examined the spot again and though the sand was very compact I was surprised to discover eggs about half a foot to a foot down in the sand. In my digging two were damaged and I retrieved a dozen which were carefully buried into a large box that I will probably ‘bury’ into the top of the garden so that the eggs can develop and hatch.
Though I could not seem to find where the turtle in our backyard the other day might have lay eggs there is always the possibility that they have chosen somewhere in the sand under the back verandah. If this is so, then they are relatively safe there and we shall just have to keep a look out under the house around the time they hatch. There are ways out from under the house though, so if they follow their ‘nose’ and head in a downward direction then I think they will be fine.
The Noongar peoples were skilled at finding turtle diggings and would retrieve a couple of eggs from each area they found, always leaving some to hatch and live on.
As I have previously posted, I really feel for these creatures not having safer, more readily accessible places to lay their eggs. This is a natural event that has probably been going on for millennia. Though, having lived in this area previously, this is the first time I have seen so much movement in the area.
Lake Seppings is called Tjuirtgellong in the Noongar language which translates to Place of the Long-Necked Tortoise.