Video and text by TIM FAULKNER/ecoRI News staff
BARRINGTON, R.I. — Since early August, diamondback terrapin hatchlings have been emerging from their nesting ground to make the perilous journey to Hundred Acre Cove.
The eggs must first survive two months without raccoons, skunks and coyotes invading the nests. If they are lucking enough to incubate, the hatchlings must endure crows, crabs and a host of other predators to reach the cove.
In June, when hundreds of female terrapins emerged from the cove’s brackish waters to lay their eggs, volunteers protect the nests from predators by constructing wire cages called excluders around the nests.
In August, volunteers collect the 2-inch hatchlings from the excluders and deliver them to a wooded area to begin their journey to the cove. Since 1989, some 370 nesting terrapins have been tracked and recorded at the Doug Rayner Wildlife Preserve. This year, 274 hatchlings have been released from the nesting ground.
The diamondback terrapin is classified as state endangered and protected.