We helped this snapping turtle cross the road (May 2007, Guelph). She was probably laying eggs (or planning to lay eggs) on the sandy gravel bordering the road. I do not often see snappers basking in the sunshine. This next photo was taken while on a canoe trip in Northwest Algonquin Park (July, 2012):
Here is a photo that was taken on the beach at the Guelph Lake Conservation Area:
Snapping turtle eggs are subject to predation by crows, mink, skunks, foxes, coyotes and raccoons. The most common predator is a raccoon. The article “Predated Turtle Nests” by naturalist Bob Bowles is well-worth the read if you are interested in turtle tracks and sign.
“Turtles lay their eggs in high, dry places on land where they can be incubated by the sun’s heat. Female turtles come up on shore every spring in June and dig a hole in the sand, gravel or soil with their back claws. These holes can be as deep as 18 centimeters for larger species like the snapping turtle. They then lay as many as 45 eggs. They cover these eggs with the sand, gravel or soil they removed while digging the hole. They leave the eggs to hatch in the summer sun’s heat and return to the wetlands. Predators like skunks, foxes and coyotes are able to smell the eggs under the ground. They dig up the eggs and eat them. But the masters at predation of turtle eggs are raccoons, digging up several nests in one night and eating all the eggs. Raccoons seldom miss finding freshly laid turtle nests with their sharp noses and can easily dig them out of the ground.” (excerpted from Bob Bowles’ article Predated Turtle Nests*)
*More than 400 predated turtle nests found at Tiny Marsh in June, July 2014, viewed October 15, 2014, http://www.orilliapacket.com/2014/07/11/more-than-400-predated-turtle-nests-found-at-tiny-marsh-in-june