Islip Animal Shelter released a mother and 25 other turtles on Tuesday.
On June 8, a mother snapping turtle was found on the side of the road on Saxon Avenue in the middle of the day.
“We were fortunate enough to get a call that there was a turtle crossing the road,” said Martin Bellew, the commissioner of the Town of Islip's Department of Environmental Control.
To avoid harm to the turtle, she was brought to Islip Animal Shelter with the intention of releasing her in the creek behind the shelter on Denver Avenue.
“But she came out of the water and was walking around on the grass in the parking lot,” said Tori Giacalone, the supervisor of the shelter. “She found a patch of dirt and just decided to lay her eggs there.”
Giacalone, who took charge of the eggs once they were deposited on the grounds, said that once it was discovered she laid her eggs right beside the building, they were fenced off, along with the mother. But the mother escaped and hasn’t been seen since.
The eggs finally hatched on Monday, Sept. 2 and about 25 of the 46 were brought to Knapp Lake behind Brookwood Hall in East Islip at 1 p.m.; the remainder were released elsewhere. The baby snapping turtles, only a few inches in size, were transported in an orange bucket and released in a wooded area just next to the edge of the water. Those present watched each of the baby turtles wander until they found their way to the water.
Giacalone said that the shelter has dealt with countless snapping turtles, and many have been released in the creek behind the shelter. This is the first time, though, that a turtle laid eggs on the grounds.
Giacalone, alongside Bellew, assured that snapping turtles are not only all over Long Island and released in their natural habitat, but also that an animal shelter rescuing a turtle is not an uncommon occurrence.