Gophers are not generally a problem in the swamp, but with the drought over the past five years or so, things change. We are coming out of the drought now, but gophers remain. I have been fighting the critters in my orchard and around the house for years, yet they persist.

Today I was digging out a gopher hole in an attempt to eradicate the pest. To my surprise, the nest didn’t seem to go anywhere. There are usually tunnels running underground over a large area. This nest, however, was different. It didn’t take long to find out why.

Last week I found some white shell-like pieces on the ground in another area. I did not know what they were. I do now. They were egg shells. As I continued to dig into what I thought was a gopher hole, I found a baby turtle. Then another and another. I found a total of nine babies. In with them were the same white shell-like pieces I found in the other area of the yard previously.

The turtles are snapping turtles and common around here. I have them in my ponds and shoot them regularly. They are another pest. It’s easy to kill adult turtles, but babies are a different story. They were so cute. I didn’t release them into my pond, but did turn them loose on the riverbank at the water’s edge. They seemed quite happy.