Common Snapping Turtle Profile Back down to earth with the Common Snapping Turtle! They’re looking for a place to lay eggs in the cut grass. It’s amazing how much ground they can cover in a short time. It seems like they are moving very slowly, but look away for a few minutes and they are gone. They just keep moving.
Common Snapping Turtle Eyeball to Eyeball In this time of year the female Common Snapping Turtles are looking for a place to lay eggs. This one was moving through the cut grass along my walkabout route. Of course, I was not really close enough to be eyeball to eyeball. Remember the 300mm lens times 2.7 crop factor yields 810mm. So, I was not disturbing the critter.
A Category Description: Common Snapping Turtle The Common Snapping Turtle is a very large turtle. Its top shell, called a carapace, generally grows to 10 – 20 inches long while the turtle can weigh 15 – 55 pounds. Their colors are usually dull brown to black with a large head and hooked jaw. They have webbed feet with long claws and a very long tail. Although they ambush prey underwater during the day, snapping turtles are most active at night. These turtles are very shy in the water, but on land they can be very aggressive giving a painful bite. Snapping turtles are believed to have evolved the ability to snap because, unlike other turtles, they are too large to hide in their shells when confronted. Snapping is their defense mechanism. Snapping turtles will bite humans if threatened, but only as a last resort. A wild turtle can bite even if picked up by the sides of its shell. The turtle will try to scare off threats by hissing before it bites. When stressed, they can also release a foul, musky odor from a gland on the underside of their body. And, they should not be picked up by their tails since it can damage the turtle’s vertebral column and tail.
They can live 12 – 40 years in muddy lakes and ponds as well as in slow-moving rivers where they eat a large variety of: aquatic plants, fish, frogs and tadpoles, salamanders, insects, snails, leeches, worms, snakes, small mammals, and baby ducks and goslings. In May or June, Snapping Turtles lay 20-40 eggs, each the size of a ping-pong ball. The eggs hatch in early autumn. The eggs and babies are often eaten by predators including: herons, hawks, crows, large fish, raccoons, snakes, and larger turtles. Although some do not hibernate because these turtles tend to be very cold tolerate, most northern Snapping Turtles hibernate in the winter. Hibernating snapping turtles do not sometimes breath for more than six month if ice covers their hibernating site. These turtles can get oxygen by pushing their head out of the mud and allowing gas exchange to take place through the membranes of their mouth and throat.
Another Common Snapping Turtle; actually, it’s the same turtle as yesterday. This image provides a better angle to see just how big these Snapping Turtles can become. Look at those sharp claws!
Tonight’s walkabout turned up a Common Snapping Turtle. It seemed to be hunting around for a place to lay eggs. These turtles are not only large and strong, but can bite anyone trying to pick them up.
Snapping Turtle Everyday provides a new surprise; some are just bigger than others. Today, a snapping turtle decided to lay her eggs in the cut grass in our way backyard just short of the underbrush and trees. She was busy in the same spot for several hours. In order to not disturb her, I used my 810mm equivalent lens to capture this image. She chose a sunny spot with some afternoon shade to keep her eggs warm and the lake, really a slew, lays about 50 years away through the underbrush which provides cover from predators when the young turtles hatch. Wish I could see the young turtles when he first see light of day.
Snapping Turtle Spring brings new life. It’s time for turtles to lay eggs. This Common Snapping Turtle came out onto cut grass in the warmth of the sun to lay her eggs. Notice her eyes; completely camouflaged. The Nikon 1 V1 with the 70-300mm (focal length 810mm) lens allowed me to stay far enough away to not disturb her. In August, hopefully, a few baby turtles will appear.