Disney fans know that the company has a dedication to conservation and maintaining a low impact on the wildlife that shares the 43 square acres that are the Walt Disney World Resort. While at the Disney’s Wilderness Lodge last week we saw again and again how much preserving the environment for native creatures works. The grounds are full of fun native species that share their space with guests, from the little lizards that would display brightly colored neck fills when we walked by to the little golden frog we found hanging out on a 5th floor window each night you can tell that this is part of a healthy ecosystem.
One of the things that tickled me the most was when I happened to come across a space roped off down by the volleyball court. Surrounded by cones and roped off with bright orange tape, a little patch of sand sat undisturbed. I moved in closer to read the sign to discover that this was the spot of a turtle egg nest, and guests were being asked to not disturb it. The sign was dated with the date the nest was laid 5/3/13 and it said that the eggs had been laid by a soft shell turtle.
Florida softshell turtles are a shy species that is almost entirely aquatic, and only emerges from the waters of Bay Lake to bask in the sun or to lay their eggs. They are said to produce more eggs yearly (up to 225) than any other reptile species. The incubation period is between 56 and 80 days, so these turtle babies should be popping up and scurrying to the water sometime in July!
Until then, please stay clear of the volleyball courts.
Turtle facts from: http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Apalone_ferox/