Monday, July 29, 2019



Our daughter, who lives across town and comes here often to swim, visited on Saturday when it was hot and humid. Her plan was to get some sun and exercise. She swam slowly all the way across the lake and rested on the other side for a while. She decided to walk back on the dam road. When she got to the bridge, which is around the bend from the cabin, she was exhausted from the walk, so went back into the lake to swim home to the dock. 

On the way back, she saw an eye by her side under the water. Thinking it was a snake, and we have water snakes here but they don’t bother anyone, she flapped her arms and kicked her legs and yelled, trying to scare it away. The next thing she remembers is that a 3 inch beak appeared near its eye and the realization that it was a snapping turtle hit her. As she then swam away, “freaked out” she noticed it had turned on its side and was still swimming beside her. She saw its entire plastron and was shocked to realize that it was at least two feet in length. The neck and head stuck out and they were as large as her fist and arm! She told me that not only was she scared, it was too!

The carapace length in adulthood may be nearly 20 in., though 9.8–18.5 in. is more common and usually weighs 9.9–35.3 lb. Common habitats are shallow ponds or streams. Some may inhabit brackish environments, such as estuaries. Common snapping turtles sometimes bask—though rarely observed—by floating on the surface with only their carapaces exposed, though in the northern parts of their range, they also readily bask on fallen logs in early spring. In shallow waters, common snapping turtles may lie beneath a muddy bottom with only their heads exposed, stretching their long necks to the surface for an occasional breath (their nostrils are positioned on the very tip of the snout, effectively functioning as snorkels). Snapping turtles consume both plant and animal matter, and are important aquatic scavengers, but they are also active hunters that prey on anything they can swallow, including many invertebrates, fish, frogs, reptiles (including snakes and smaller turtles), unwary birds, and small mammals. In some areas, adult snapping turtles can be incidentally detrimental to breeding waterfowl, as they will occasionally take ducklings and goslings but their effect on such prey is frequently exaggerated.
source: Wikipedia
Here are a few surprising facts about snapping turtles that you must know before you take any action against these creatures:

    1. If you remove turtles, especially snapping turtles from your lake, you can expect to eventually succumb to some unpleasant illnesses or issues such as jock-itch! This is because turtles, but especially snapping turtles, are the creatures in water that can be considered the best at cleaning the water: They remove dead and decaying bodies of fishes, frogs, and other creatures from the lake. They are like turkey-vultures of the lake. Without turtles in your lake, the bacteria levels will increase.
    2. Because turtles prefer dead smelly or fishy meals, you do not smell attractive at all to turtles. They have little interest in biting you, eating you or harming you when they are in the water. We have heard of a few stories of people dangling feet over docks or kicking turtle when swimming, and have heard of a few cases where turtles may then snap at the person, but snapping turtles, while giving a sharp bite CANNOT BITE OFF A DIGIT! This is because snapping turtles in the northern area do not have enough strength in their jaws to break through bone or even ligaments. Alligator snapping turtles in the southern United States grow extremely large and may exert enough pressure, but not those in the north.
    3. In fact, snapping turtles especially are actually gentle, shy but also curious creatures when they are in the water. This is because here, they are top predators and can swim very well. Here, they have nothing to fear and they are not vulnerable. In fact, we have heard of and witnessed many individuals swimming next to, standing on, and even petting a snapping turtle in the water and they were not startled or defensive at all.                                  

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