Herp Update: Turtle activity, documentation needed —May 16, 2022

Recent Turtle Activity and Needed Photo-documentation

Herpers, I am now receiving reports of Snapping Turtle and Painted Turtle females on land looking for suitable open and sunny egg-laying locations. Nest sites are often in yards, gardens, compost piles, and sometimes tragically, the edges of dirt roads and driveways. At the same time, I am getting reports of last year’s Painted Turtle hatchlings emerging from their nests. Painted Turtles up here in the north, hatch, but then spend the winter in their underground nest until emerging the following spring, about now. Snapping Turtles emerge the fall of the year in which they were laid.

Watch out for the adult female turtles on road edges over the next month or so. If you stop to move them, be very careful of traffic and remember that Snapping Turtles have a very long neck, are nervous when they are on land, and can give a nasty bite. Their neck when extended is roughly the length of their shells. If you move turtles out of the road, only move them out of the road in the direction they were heading. They know where they want to go.

We still have 35 towns from which we need photo-documentation of Snapping Turtles and 36 towns from which we need photo documentation of Painted Turtles in Vermont. I will attach the two lists of towns. [You can click to see larger or search the table  here]

If you spend any time in those towns, please keep your eyes open and camera ready to take a photo of one, dead or alive. If you know someone who lives in those towns, please ask them to be on the lookout or better yet, post a notice on their local Front Porch Forum asking people to snap a photo and report their turtle sightings through our web portal at VtHerpAtlas.org.

Recent Frog Activity

American Toads have joined the Spring Peepers in their choruses during this last warm spell. Many people have reported hearing their choruses, seeing breeding groups (photo attached), and even seeing their long strings of eggs. They are usually easy to track down and find as they call. All of the Wood Frog egg-masses in this part of the state have hatched and thousands of small tadpoles can now be seen (photo attached). The Spotted Salamander egg masses are still maturing and we even found a couple fresh masses last week in Lincoln.


“Anyone who believes that exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist” (Kenneth Boulding, 1973)

Several American toads, partially submerged in water.
Many (hundreds?) of dark wood frog tadpoles seen against lighter sandy/silty substrate in fresh water pond.

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