19 May 2015 – Common Snapping Turtle

19 May 2015 Botany Bill FaunaNon-Refuge

DSC00006 smallThis morning a common snapping turtle was trying to cross the road in front of our house. I believe this was a female in search of a nesting site, and could be the same one we saw on our driveway several years. She was first spotted by my wife Becky and after she alerted me, I went out to see what was going on. I managed to take a few photos and then I moved her off the road so she would not get hit. To avoid getting bit and getting clawed by their legs, it is best to grab them in a place where they cannot reach, like by the carapace (upper shell) above their hind legs.¬†She did not like my picking her up at all. But I safely moved her out of harm’s way without incident.

DSC00005 smallThe common snapping turtle‘s scientific name is Chelydra serpentina L. They are native to much of the USA except the extreme Far West. They are also found in the southern part of Canada as far west as Alberta. They are omnivores and will scavenge for animal and plant matter; they are also active hunters and will eat any animal they can fit in their mouths. Their life span is not well known, but is assumed to be at least 100 years.

DSC00004They have a ferocious disposition and as a result make poor pets. Their name suggests that they have a strong bite. While it is true one would not want to get bit by one, their strength of their bite is comparable to a human.

DSC00001They have become invasive in some parts of Europe probably because of people releasing them after trying to keep them as pets.


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