After delay, it’s nesting season for turtles along Lake Champlain


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We can recall, just a few weeks back, spring still felt like winter. Because of this, and high water levels on Lake Champlain, the start of nesting season for turtles was delayed.

Fast forward to Monday, the weather sure felt like early summer with abundant sunshine and temperatures in the lower 70s.

People weren’t the only ones soaking in the sun at North Beach Park in Burlington. In fact, this reptile will go unnoticed!

“Usually we only find one nest. This is the first year we have found multiple nests,” said Alec Kaeding, the manager of North Beach Park.

The nests are located at the western edge of the city beach and are roped off by yellow caution tape.

Steve Parren with Vermont Fish & Wildlife told Local 22 & Local 44 News, turtles build their nest in areas of full sun. That way the heat from the sun will incubate their eggs.

After a long winter that spilled over into spring, Parren tells us the nesting season is a few weeks behind.

Also, we need to be cautious to not disturb the nesting area.

“An amazing thing about turtles, are, around one percent of all the eggs that get laid actually produce a breeding adult,” said Parren a rare species biologist.

These eggs will take between 70-90 days to incubate, and will reach adulthood (breeding adult) between ages 12-14 years old.

For young adolescent turtles, they become food for animals higher up on the food chain. Their biggest predators are skunks and raccoons.

As for adults, they have no real predator in the wild. In fact, the largest cause of death in adult turtles come from human interactions.

Yes, you and your vehicle are their largest predator.

Next time you enter a state or city beach, you will likely be informed if you will be sharing the beach with these nesting turtles.

“We let them know that turtles have nested, and to avoid the area that has caution tape,” said Kaeding.

Both men agree, keep your distance, and treat these creatures like any other wild animal you would come across. 

“It’s a place where nature and city meet. We have a family of geese that just left. We have loons that come down to swim every morning, and, we have turtles nesting,” said Kaeding.

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