Last Friday 5th October, 2018 we had numerous reports of female turtles, the Oblong Turtle (Chelodina colliei) , laying eggs around the lake, it was estimated that up to 30 came out on that day alone. The mums come out of the lake (dad has done his bit and stays in the lake) and looks for a suitable spot to dig and lay her precious eggs (the number depend upon the age and hence the size of the female, but around 10-16 is typical). After laying, mum carefully fills in the hole with her back feet, tamps the ground down with her tummy (called the plastron- which is Latin for breastplate ) and then waves goodbye, her parenting role completed. Around 6-7 months later (210-220 days), the eggs hatch and the hatchlings scuttle off to enter the lake and begin their lives, without any parental help.
During WA Gould League’s October School Holiday Activity Program, one of the children accidentally scooped a hatchling whilst they were searching for macro-invertebrates. After a quick photo, it was carefully released back into the lake and happily swam off. So please remember that NOW is the time that turtles are coming out of the water and can be seen around the lake.
Many of the female turtles choose to cross the road to lay in that lovely soft soil that the residents put down to plant their Roses, and whilst on the road, far too many turtles are run over by cars and subsequently die. Please stay observant and slow down when you are driving around wetlands, and you may even be lucky enough to witness one of nature’s marvels, turtles laying eggs.