Friday, April 29, 2011

First steps

I prepared the tank with about 1 inch water treated with Start Right water conditioner and a touch of aquarium salt.  I placed a small shallow bowl upside down in the tank as well to serve as a ramp for the little guys to rest on.  I then very carefully moved all 3 of the turtles from the Tupperware/Rubbermaid container into the water.  They still had a bit of yolk attached to them at this point.  I kept careful watch over them for the next week or so, waiting for the rest of their yolks to be absorbed.  Once they were yolk-free I went out and bought a small container of worms from the local gas station.  I cut small sections off a worm and fed them to the little guys as often as they would eat.  After a few weeks they were all very eager to eat as often as I could feed them.  At this point I added more water, up to about 4 inches.  After a few weeks at this level they started to display their own unique personalities.  I'll go more into that later.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


After many months of waiting around uneventfully my curiosity got the best of me.  I decided to see if I could "candle" the eggs and see if they were indeed fertilized.  For those of you who don't know what that is, it's holding an egg between yourself and a candle, allowing some light to penetrate the shell and give you a little insight as to what's going on inside.  The date was August 3rd, which was nearing in on the projected hatching date.  I'll admit, I was skeptical.  Could we be wasting our time with unfertilized eggs, as was insinuated by our friends?  Could we be incapable of properly incubating eggs?  After lots of heckling I decided candling an egg would be the best option.  I brought the egg into the bathroom, being careful not to turn it and eclipsed the light of a candle with it.  Veins.  Lots of veins.  No discernible smell of rot either.  My hopes rise.  But just as quickly as my hopes rise, the blood runs out of my face in fear.  As I'm placing the egg carefully back into the Rubbermaid container, it bursts.  I try not to panic and use a couple of pairs of tweezers to open the egg enough so that if the turtle who was in there was still alive he would have air to breathe.  No motion for 3 minutes that felt like 3 weeks.  I used the tweezers and began to gently pull the egg apart.  Then suddenly a head comes flying out of the dark mass toward me and begins breathing.  I leave him alone for a day and come back to find him trying to push his way out of the shell remnants, so I give him a little help.  As I'm doing so I notice the other 2 eggs have slits in the top and they're all trying to make their way out.  At this point I prepare a 10 gallon fish tank for our new arrivals.  Information on that to come.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I built the incubator out of a 5 gallon fish tank half filled with water with a submersible heater preset to 80 degrees.  I placed a Tupperware container half filled with moist vermiculite in the fish tank floating in the water.  I made 3 indentations large enough for the eggs to sit in and placed them in the indentations gently.  I then put the Tupperware lid on (with holes in it) and saran wrapped the top of the fish tank and placed the whole assembly into a shaded spot in our bedroom.  This setup maintained the proper humidity and temperature for the eggs.  I checked daily to make sure the temperature wasn't fluctuating too much and that the vermiculite wasn't losing moisture.  And so began the long wait.  More information come.


I'll start with my common snapping turtle.  It's name is Kraken.

DISCLAIMER:  Keeping snapping turtles may be illegal in your area, check your local laws.

I was walking along the local bike path here in Newport Vermont, I believe it was May 20th or so.  A great bit of it's length runs along Lake Mempremagog so there is no shortage of wildlife to be seen.  Further down the path my better half spotted a strange object.  I assured her it was probably a large bird, but as we got closer we noticed it wasn't moving.  Turns out it was 2 very large snapping turtles.  Both had dug holes on the bike path and were laying eggs.  I had the idea of waiting for the larger of the two females to stop laying her eggs and start burying them and move her down to the water so we could swipe a couple of eggs, then we would finish burying her eggs for her and be on our way.  We very carefully carried the 3 of them back to where we were visiting and put them in a macaroni box with a little bit of moist soil in it to keep them from rolling over until we got home and were able to build a make shift incubator for them.

More information on the incubator in the next post.


This is mostly for my own personal reference, but the information provided herein may prove itself to be useful to others.  Some of the things I will be discussing include (but are in no way limited to):
Common Snapping Turtles
Oscars (the fish, not the award)
Ball Pythons
The weather here in Vermont
Government opinions
Video games

Consider this a kind of notebook.  Or a window to my thoughts.  Hopefully someone will benefit from this in one way or another.