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Word of the Week: Oviparous
June 05, 2019 by Khadoni Chambers

Welcome to Word of the Week! Stay tuned for a new word each Friday to amp up your nature vocabulary!

Painted turtles by Andrew Yee

Oviparous [ oh-VIP-er-uh s] (adjective): producing young by means of eggs that are hatched after they have been laid by the parent.

When the late spring weather rolls in, our resident painted turtles breed from March to mid-June. Female painted turtle lay their eggs offshore and cover their eggs with dirt before returning back to the water. The eggs hatch in around 70 days, usually in late August through early September and are around the size of a quarter. The hatchlings instinctively head straight for the water for safety and security from predators such as birds, racoons skunks, and snakes. Late hatchers however, may nest until the following spring.

Other oviparous animals that can be found in High Park include Snapping Turtles, Green Frogs, Eastern Red-Backed Salamanders, and all of our resident and migratory birds and fish.

FUN FACT: Although Garter Snakes are reptiles, just like our painted turtles, they are actually ovoviviparous, which means that they produce young by means of eggs which are hatched within the body of the parent, instead of being laid.

On your next High Park visit, be sure to keep your eyes open in wetland areas to spot painted turtles swimming or basking in the sun!

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