Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Snap Goes the Snapper

Two days ago as I was driving back to the cabin, I saw a large common snapping turtle along the edge of the road. So why is it that my photos look as though this turtle is such a wimpy little thing? Okay, so it wasn’t the biggest snapping turtle I’d ever seen in my entire life, but I’d say it was a good 14-16 inches long. With snapping turtles, I don’t want to get too close to measure them properly.

Usually snapping turtles aren’t found very far from water. This one was as far from water as I’ve ever seen one—perhaps 150 yards or even somewhat more. This one is likely on her way to lay eggs—it’s that time of the year. They tend to wander around away from water as they look for egg-laying spots.

Although most of my readers likely know this, in case someone doesn’t, let me state now that it is NOT safe to pick up a snapper by its tail. That’s a fast way to get bitten and to injure the turtle, too. Snappers can bite through a broomstick, so you do not want that to happen to a finger or your arm. Their necks can stretch at least halfway back the length of their shells. If you have to move one—this one conveniently moved itself off the road after a few minutes—the best way is to scoop it onto a shovel, preferably a large shovel like a snow shovel.

This turtle was quite benign for a snapper. She didn’t strike at me once, though she eyed me suspiciously. I’ve had snappers snap at me from several feet away. I usually give them as wide a berth as they want.

Nina of Nature Remains also found a snapping turtle a few days ago, if you want to check out hers.

Cathy of The Quiet One had a bruin visit at her bird feeder this week and got some great photos of that bad little boy with his hand in the cookie jar, so to speak.


Dana Jones said...

so many turtles, lizards, fish and snakes this year at our cabin. And some fuzzier wildlife too.

I could do without the amphibians though. They scare the willy's out of me!

Cathy said...

Ah snapping turtle, there was one last year on who managed to stop traffic on RT 739. A few people tried to get it off too but it kept snapping at everybody. Finally a guy pick the turtle by the tail and haul it off. There's a lake nearby and they nortorious for stealing bait of hooks.

Thanks for the mention, posted two more pictures.

phylliso said...

I remember 1 in the road 34 years ago as I was pregnet with my son & my husband stopped & got out & got a large branch.It clamped onto it,then he drug it off the road.This 1 was huge & scarey in the darkness of the night.phylliso

Carolyn H said...

Cathy: the biggest snapping turtle I ever saw was a traffic stopper, too. You couldn't have driven over it without squishing in. I'll bet the shell was close to 2'.

Phylliso: That's a good idea to move a snapping turtle while it's clamped onto a branch!

Carolyn H.

Ted C. MacRae said...

I had a similar experience with a snapper a couple weeks ago - you should've seen the bystanders jump when he snapped!