Since 2007, Madison Audubon Society volunteer Greg Geller has been conducting a turtle nest protection project, researching the successful use of electric fencing to protect freshwater turtle nesting sights from common predators. |
His findings were recently published and the Turtle Project Completion Report is now posted below, along with the year by year reports and data and some amazing photos from the research cameras.
Adult female raccoon foraging for turtle nest with closely attending young
Striped Skunk (Mephitis mephitis) investigating bait station
Striped Skunk inside fenced area. Skunks proved difficult to exclude from nesting sites.
Raccoon (Procyon lotor) investigating bait station
Coyotes (Canis latrans) usually moved through nesting areas fairly quickly, and were not documented to depredate turtle nests on these sites.
Raccoon foraging for turtle nests
Nesting Common Map turtle (Graptemys geographica). This species was a relatively uncommon nester on the study areas.
Two Ouachita Map tutles (Graptemys ouachitensis), the most common species nesting on these sites, entering fenced area
Two Ouachita Map turtles entering fenced area
Nesting Ouachita Map turtle
Common Map Turtle (Graptemys geographica) hatchling from fence-protected nest. (Note extensive plastron markings, in contrast to some field guide illustrations.)
Same Common Map Turtle (Graptemys geographica) hatchling from fence-protected nest, showing diagnostic head markings
Snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina) moving through fenced area at 500 a.m.. No species of turtle showed any interest in, or avoidance of, the protective fences used in this study.
Same snapping turtle on her return through the nesting area, 1.5 hours after early morning photo
Common Musk turtle (Sternotherus odoratus) found on nearby road on apparent nesting foray. Unfortunately, this female (identified by particular shell markings) was found dead on the road the following day, highlighting one of the many factors currently threatening turtle populations.
Thank You for your interest in this project and protecting turtles!
2011_Ouachita map entering and one nesting
2011_Two O Maps entering 7 June 2011
2011_Two Ouachita Maps entering Trt R 7 June 2011
2009_female id with young 2009-07-14 04-40-11 AM M 01_30
2009_snapper 2009-06-12 04-14-01 AM T
2009_snapper 2009-06-12 05-48-01 AM T
2009_fence scheme_hot strand over 2 green clothesline strands
2009_monitoring cameras over working site
2008_2 nesting females associating closely before nesting
2008_Heck TR6June Prob Map just prelaying 2008-06-06 06-43-49 PM T
2008_Ouachita map turtle just after laying on 29 June 2008
2008_Ouachita map turtle nesting in unprotected area
2008_raccoon not attempting fence breech of 29 June 20081
2008_raccoon predating turtle nest outside protection fence
2008_raccoon searching for turtle nests on 2 July 20081
2008_Snapper nester of ShultzTR1 200803-24-58 PM T
2008_turtle 2008-07-02 06-51-40 AM T
2007_op 11 Nov marked for comp with pic 3030
2007_op exiting 3 inch portal 11 Nov 2007
2007_Skunk exiting under 6 inches Cowley Trt R 16 July 2007
2008_102_2004_Flooded nest sites
2007_nesting Ouachita Map turtle