MEDICINE LAKE, Minn. - The joint project between Three Rivers Park District and The University of St Thomas is entering its second year of research and has been following three types of turtles: spiny softshells, painted, and snappers.
So far, they have found that the spiny softshell turtles have been the most active, sometimes moving across the entire lake.
"Whereas the painted and snappers, individuals are found throughout the lake, but a individual turtle might only use an area the size of an average house," said John Moriarty, Three Rivers Park District's Senior Manager for Wildlife.
Knowing this is important, because it may or may not determine where they nest in the early summer and lay their eggs.
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"There isn't as much sand as there used to be, so that's one reason we have a concentration of turtles nesting up at this end of the park, because we have a good protected sand beach," said Moriarty.
Each turtle is equipped with a radio transmitter so they can be tracked. These turtles, including this nearly 40-year-old snapper went back in the lake this afternoon.
Funding for the research comes from the Minnesota Environment and the Natural Resources Trust Fund. What they learn will then be used to teach the public.
"We can work with homeowners on how to protect nests or how they can work on their shoreline to make it helpful to the wildlife in the area," said Kirsten Hunt, wildlife technician.
Any improvements to their habitat will help ensure healthy populations in the future.
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