Okefenokee Turtle Egg Predation

Two turtle egg shells held in the hand. Nests are often dug up and plundered by predators such as bear, bobcat, raccoon, Billy`s Island, Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia, USA. ©www.williamwisephoto.com. Please don’t steal my images. Download and use legally from Dreamstime.com.

While an adult turtle’s shell is hard and seemingly impenetrable, an unborn turtle’s eggshell is nowhere near as tough. In fact, turtle eggs are a swamp delicacy! From the number of scavenged nests I found on my May 2020 Okefenokee paddling trip, it seems everything eats turtle eggs. Bears, raccoons, skunks, opossums, crows, bobcats and more all dig up and eat this swamp caviar.

Since there are reportedly 15 species of turtles in the Okefenokee Swamp, I can’t be sure what species laid the eggs. Perhaps a Cooter, Slider or a Softshell. Either way, the predator that tore open the nest didn’t discriminate! Some turtles are known to lay their eggs inside an active alligator nest in order to receive the protection of the fierce mother gator.

iNaturalist observation: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/51493923

Turtle Eggs in the Okefenokee Swamp

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