Is Cost of Locomotion the Reason for Prolonged Nesting Forays of Snapping Turtles, Chelydra serpentina?

Shane R. de Solla, Kim J. Fernie


Prolonged nesting forays were observed in five gravid Snapping Turtles (Chelydra serpentina), in 1999 and 2001. For all observations, the females began exploratory nest excavations but failed to oviposit. Subsequently, all five females sought refuge either by burying themselves in substrate, or by seeking shade under vegetation, presumably to wait until the following day to resume nesting activities. By contrast, most observations of failed nesting resulted in the females abandoning the nesting site and returning immediately to water. Although prolonged nesting attempts in other turtle species (i.e. kinosternids) likely are associated with rainfall or predation risk, we speculate that these prolonged nesting attempts in Snapping Turtles reduced the cost of terrestrial travel.


Snapping Turtles; Chelydra serpentina; oviposition; nesting behaviour; cost of locomotion; Ontario

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