All turtles lay eggs, after which there is no other parental involvement. Once the eggs hatch, the young have to fend for themselves. Some medium to large-sized turtles eat bullfrogs, but the smaller turtles we have in the park eat mostly snails, crayfish, tadpoles, aquatic vegetation, slugs, earthworms, wild berries, and mushrooms. Turtles are food for foxes, raptors, and raccoons. It is against park regulations to take turtles or any animals from the park for private use or distribution and sale. Turtles are widely collected for human use in the pet trade, for personal pets, and for recreational uses such as turtle races. Since turtles live so long (20 - 100 years) and take several years to reach sexual maturity, taking any turtle out of its home territory threatens the survival of that population.
Snakes shed their skins in one piece about 2 to 5 times per year. Some live in the tree canopy, some in the water, some live at sea level and others can live above 3,050 m (10,000'). All snakes eat their prey whole and are carnivorous. In this region, snakes mate before their winter hibernation in the fall. Males find females by scent. The female is internally fertilized and may birth live young or eggs. Young are born or hatch in September.
Snakes help control rodent and insect populations. Snakes are food for raptors, egrets, owls, and foxes. The best defense against snake bite, whether non-venomous or venomous, is to avoid poking at, handling or aggravating any wild snake.
Did You Know?
During the First Manassas campaign, Confederate reinforcements travelled by rail from Piedmont Station to Manassas Junction. The 35 mile trip marked the first time in American history that railroads were tactically used to forward soldiers towards the frontlines of combat.