Saving Wildlife - Marsh Family
The Marsh Family was an entire clutch of baby snapping turtles found in Franklin. They were brought to us when they were found cold on the ground. The newly-hatched, adorable baby snapping turtles crawled out of a tiny hole in the ground that they dug themselves, only to have their bodies start to slowdown in the chilly temperatures of early fall. They had hatched abnormally late in the season.
Generally, most turtles breed in the spring, lay their clutch in early summer, and then the babies hatch and have plenty of time to grow and gain enough strength to handle a harsh Wisconsin winter by sinking to the bottom of their pond and hibernating. Variables in this routine, such as environmental cues like temperature and food availability will affect the female’s instinctual decision about when to produce eggs (she can hold sperm for several years!). If she lays her clutch late in the year and it’s too cold to dig out, the little turtles will hatch but will stay underground right where mom left them and hibernate as infants. But when things go awry and there are unusual swings in temperature or some other natural trigger for them is set-off, the little preprogrammed turtles do weird things like dig out of their nest in late October! We don't know why they emerged when they did, but we do know that without human intervention, these guys absolutely would not have made it. Once they emerged out of their nest, they were so cold they could barely move. Luckily, the couple that found them brought them into us immediately, and then all those lucky little turtles were in our care until spring!
After a protected winter of warm water, good food, and care, it was finally time for release! The entire Marsh Family was released in early May, free at last! What a great day!
If you have found a baby wild animal, please don’t try to raise it yourself. It is unethical and illegal. Instead, contact our Wildlife Reception Desk at 414-431-6137 to speak with us directly. Thanks so much for your support! With your help, together we save lives!