Snapping Turtle Embryo
These are photos of a snapping turtle embryo, that of a Mexican snapper - Chelydra serpentina rossignoni.
These little turtles were not killed, but unfortunately died during incubation.
A vital fertile egg can be determained by candling. This proccedure is quite simple - the egg is lit up with
a very bright light showing what is happening inside. A fertile egg will have a web of red blood vessels
around the egg yolk, close to the sides of the shell. The little turtle will stay attached by a cord to these vessels. They will transport
nutrients from the yolk to the little turtle and provide it with nutrition. The eggs should never be turned during incubation.
Turning them will damage the fragile connection and kill the embryo.
Below is a photo of a turtle attached to the yolk.
As you can see, the shell developes quite early in life. As it takes shape it is at first covered with
pinkish soft skin.
Even quite small turtles show all the characteristics of a snapping turtle. The long tail with
small keels, long neck and all for legs are clearly visible in the photos
The next step is developing pigmentation, and finally
the regular shell. It will be still soft and flexible until it hardens with time after hatching.
As you can see in the photo below, the unborn snapping turtles have well developed 'fingers'.