Snapping turtles are hatching right now at the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge. Call it what you like–a fluke, a surprise–but Wendy Hall who runs the refuge with her husband calls it a clear sign of climate change.
A nest of eggs found in Tupper Lake was brought to the refuge earlier this week, where Hall had them under a heat lamp. By Tuesday, two or three of them had hatched.
Changes in the weather cause wildlife to readjust and warmer temperatures can throw off natural schedules. It affects animals that use snow for good tracking and hunting or those that hibernate. Snow thaws and turns to ice, which affects burrowing creature who can’t penetrate the layers of ice.
Snapping turtles usually lay their eggs in the spring and summer and they hatch between August and October, Hall says. So the cycle is definitely off for these turtles. They need a warm environment to hatch, which they’re getting now at the refuge.