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DNR question of the week

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Q:

Given the drought situation over most of Minnesota last summer and fall, how did turtles and frogs fare?

A:

We did have some pond kills because the oxygen levels got too low in ponds that had reduced water levels and shallower depths. There were a few winter kills of turtles as a result of low water levels, deep frost and low oxygen going into winter.

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Severe drought concentrates populations of both turtles and frogs, which can lead to increased disease transmission and stressed animals. It's possible that there was some mortality as well as increased predation due to concentrated animals.

This year, turtles and frogs are on the move, away from areas where there is excessive water. There's also a delay in nesting for turtles due to cooler water and air temps.

We suspect there's some impact to timber rattlesnake dens in a few areas from severe floods that occurred in past years during the summer.

With recent heavy rain and severe flooding in areas of southeastern Minnesota at a time when more snakes are in stream corridors, we may see impacts to some dens.

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