Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Any "way" he wants to go

This is a pretty big snapping turtle. It’s not the biggest snapping turtle I’ve ever seen, but it’s certainly on the upper side of the bell curve. I saw it last evening as I was attempting to access my mail box and had to drive the long way around in order to avoid this fellow (or girl).

Without a measuring tape in hand or getting any closer than I already was, my best guess is that from nose to tail this one measures close to 2 feet. Its front feet are the size of a big chocolate chip cookie, and I wouldn’t want to get very close to those claws, let alone the mouth that’s just behind them. A snapper this size could take off a finger in a single bite, and I wouldn’t want it anywhere near any other body part, either.

This snapper was apparently moving between ponds at Roundtop, perhaps lazing its way down the seasonal stream that runs beside the main parking lot. Perhaps it was too big to travel through the drainage ditch that goes under this road and was simply going over the road in order to continue on its way. Perhaps it decided to sun itself for a few minutes in the process.

Snapping turtles are pretty common here, especially with all the snowmaking ponds and streams around. It is not terribly common for them to appear on dry land. I see them a few times a year, though their path of destruction is more visible than that. They are pretty hard on the mountain’s crops of ducklings and goslings. A snapper this size could probably take mama duck, too.

It’s just not everyday that I catch one going the wrong way on a one-way street. But like an 18-wheeler, this one has whatever right of way he wants.


Grizz………… said...

That is indeed a formidable example of a snapper. Not the biggest one I've ever seen, either—by a long shot. But big enough that it not a critter you want to mess with without good reason. It could absolutely do serious bodily damage—and would do so in an instant. Snapping turtles don't take kindly to much of anything—and I expect you're right, it could easily take an adult duck.

Woodswalker said...

Very impressive snapper! I'll bet it's a she, looking for a sunny, sandy spot to dig a hole and deposit her eggs.


Turtles are intriguing souls. They can't read road signs nor even know that roadways are dangerous to their kind. Good post. -- barbara

Carolyn H said...

Grizz: I think we can both agree that this snapper is big enough!!

Woodswalker: Isn't a turtle's gender told by its eye color? With females having red eyes? I'm pretty sure it's like that for box turtles, anyway. Not sure if the same pertains to snappers (and if it does, this one didn't have red eyes).

Barbara: Thanks! Somehow I don't mind the idea of snappers taking fish or the like, but when they start taking ducks, babies or otherwise, my enjoyment of them diminishes quickly!

Cicero Sings said...

oooh ... what a snapper! We don't have turtles up here in my neck of the woods and I've never seen a for real snapper ... only photos.

Cathy said...

Whoa, that's one mean looking turtle. Good thing you didn't have teh dogs with you. I'm sure one of them would wanted to say "hi"

Scott said...

One spring morning a few years ago, as I traipsed nonchalantly out my back door, I nearly stepped on a snapping turtle that had hauled itself up from the pond about 300 feet from the house. I don't know who was more surprised. It wasn't as big as your, though!

Carolyn H said...

Cicero: Is it too cold for turtles where you live? Or, are there simply no turtles?

Cathy: I'm glad the dogs weren't with me, too! That wouldn't have been pretty.

Scott: I really don't want to step out of the cabin and find a snapper by the porch. I'd likely be with the dogs and they'd likely be on it before I could stop them.