This cannot be a good survival strategy.
Snapping turtles lay eggs in June and July uphill from a water source. This snapper has found some gravel right by the side of the road, a foot or two from the pavement. The water source, as you can see in the picture, is a human-excavated pond some distance away.
I wonder if this snapping turtle has tuned into her ancestral memory. Perhaps, before the road was developed, her mother laid her eggs in a sandy bank here, and when my friend emerged from the egg, she scampered and tumbled down the hill to the embracing water in a natural stream or that once flowed quietly just below this very spot.
Now she is laying her eggs in gravel that has been brought in to elevate and level out the road. If the eggs don’t dry out in the gravel and hot sun, or get squashed by a truck parking on top of them, her hatchlings will have to reach the artificial pond in the distance in order to survive and thrive.
Trying circumstances, it seems to me, and not unsimilar to those facing many young members of a much more recent species on this planet, homo sapiens.