• Saugus Iron Works Panorama

    Saugus Iron Works

    National Historic Site Massachusetts

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  • Park Closed for the Season

    The park will be closed from Nov 1st, 2013 to Spring 2014. Visitor information is available online, via facebook.com/SaugusIronNPS or by calling the Salem Visitor Center at (978) 740-1650.

Reptiles

Snapping Turtle

Common Snapping Turtle

(Daniel Noon, NPS)

Presently, three species of reptiles have been identified within Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site, the eastern garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis), the northern brown snake (Storeyia dekayi dekayi), and the common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina). These reptiles are pretty elusive and are able to camouflage themselves within the wetland areas bordering the Saugus River.

The eastern garter snake and the northern brown snake can be seen from early spring through summer and fall where they inhabit marshes, woodlands, hillsides, streams, and drainage ditches.

While the garter snake and brown snake can be seen over a long period of time through many seasons, the common snapping turtle makes its appearance for a very short time during the summer. During this period, female snapping turtles slowly emerge from the protective waters of the Saugus River, locate suitable nesting areas in gravel and sand, and lay between twenty and forty eggs before returning to the river. Many of the eggs are eaten by raccoons before the turtles have the chance to develop; however, the small turtles that do manage to survive quickly find their way back to the Saugus River, where they will mature and reach weights of up to 35 pounds. These turtles, in turn, will repeat the circle of life, ensuring the survival of the species for future generations.

Did You Know?

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Saugus Iron Works became part of the National Park System on April 5, 1968 amidst the rioting across the country that was a result of Martin Luther King, Junior’s murder the day before. Where were you, “The Night James Brown Saved Boston?”