Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Snapping Turtle on the Move...

A little while ago, I was in one of the greenhouses watering. As I was standing there in the broiling hot greenhouse, wishing it was cooler, I heard Karen cry out "WOW!"

I took this picture from the Wikipedia article
titled "Common snapping turtle"
On the dirt road that leads all around the greenhouses there was a rather large snapping turtle. The greenhouses are surrounded by water. Ponds, bog reservoirs, streams and canals are home to all manner of creatures. So a snapping turtle cruising through isn't really a surprise.

I decided to call the turtle Karen found Tuffy. Tuffy had a carapace about 12" across and looked to weigh around 25 pounds.Tuffy's carapace was very dark green and had a good amount of moss on it. She had a decidedly grim look on her face and did not seem to appreciate our delaying her movement by ooh-ing and ahh-ing over her. We stood well out of snapping range, fully aware a this type of turtle can reach across the carapace to their back legs on either side. I had no desire to have my finger amputated by the super powerful jaw of a snapping turtle. Tuffy's attitude was probably sour because her only defense mechanism is her excellent snapping capability.On land, a snapping turtle is at a slight disadvantage. The common snapping turtle cannot retract into their shells like other turtles. I think their bad attitudes on land reflect the knowledge that they can't move as swiftly or with as much precision as they can in water.

Karen and I agreed Tuffy had probably laid her eggs in a sandy area somewhere nearby and was heading back to the pond to resume her turtle tasks. I followed her tracks back a ways, interested in counting the eggs. I found the nest behind the row of greenhouses, in a very quiet and secluded spot. I was afraid to disturb it, but Karen said Tuffy would have put anywhere from 20-80 eggs in it before she covered it over with sand and went on her way. When Karen found Tuffy, she was quietly resting next to a puddle.When she tired of us, she lifted her self up, took a few sips from the puddle and carried herself back toward the pond.

Early this spring, Manda found spotted turtle cruising through our yard. She was probably on an egg laying mission too. I think she made a pit stop here to partake of some rabbit pellets or dung she found underneath our rabbit cages. That particular turtle had places to go and things to do and didn't stick around long either.

This is the spotted turtle Manda found in our yard.


  1. Love the turtle tails! Snappers and Spotteds are some of my favorite turtles :)

  2. Oops meant tales? I have animals on the brain!

  3. I have seen desert tortoises and sea turtles, but I have never seen a snapping turtle or a spotted turtle. Next time I visit you will have them for me to see, right?


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