Snapping Turtle Appearance:
The snapping turtle can vary drastically in size depending on location and abundance of food. Some regions have snapping turtles weighing less than five pounds as well as snapping turtles weighing thirty pounds. The shells are dark in color and have a pattern of ridges. Snappers are known for their strong jaws resembling a bird’s beak. Their necks are also very strong and flexible, able reach the head out in one, fast motion. While this is an excellent method of protection, the sharp beak of the snapper and its fast reflexes are used for catching prey and not for picking fights.
Snapping Turtle Habitat and Behavior:
Snappers live near water. Like most turtles, they are slow when moving over dry land. Water provides the snapping turtle with an efficient means of movement and hunting. Ideal locations include ponds, rivers, and streams. The turtles prefer slow-moving bodies of water so they do not have to constantly fight a current. Larger turtles can be found on big lakes. Regardless of the size of the water body, snappers search for areas with thick debris and mud. Though excellent swimmers, they spend most of their time concealed along the banks or camouflaged on the muddy floor. They will use their lightning-fast reflexes when another creature swims by. Snapping turtles are very hardy and can survive cold temperatures. During the winter they burrow beneath the mud and become inactive.
Snapping turtles are notoriously aggressive when they feel threatened. The jaws of these turtles are made to crush objects, and they are so powerful that a crushed finger can actually be severed off. In addition to their devastating beaks, snappers can produce a foul-smelling odor from organs on the side of the shell.
Female snappers lay eggs in a nest they dig themselves. This site may not be located near body of water. As she lays the eggs, she will position them individually in the base of the pit she has dug. She can lay up to eighty eggs, though most turtles lay in the range of twenty or thirty. After ninety days, the turtles hatch from their eggs and begin the long journey toward water.
Snapping Turtle Diet:
The bulk of the snapping turtle’s diet is made up of meat. These turtles will eat anything they can catch. Fish, crayfish, frogs, salamanders, other turtles, birds, and small mammals are all fair game. If the snapping turtle can catch it, it will likely eat it. Chunks of flesh are torn off by gripping the prey in the turtle’s jaws. The reptile will then jerk its head side to side to tear off a piece small enough to swallow. A third of the reptile’s diet is made up of aquatic plants.
Snapping Turtle Nuisance Concerns:
Snapping turtles and people rarely mix well due to the aggressive nature of these reptiles. Because private ponds and garden pools are usually predator free, snapping turtles are likely to move in. Snappers will prey on the fish in coy ponds and will make swimmers leery of entering a pond. In rare instances, cats or small dogs have been attacked by hungry snapping turtles. Some areas encourage the proliferation of this species. Snapping turtles are highly sought after for their meat. Of all the turtles, the taste of the snapping turtle is said to be the best in recipes for turtle soup.
Snapping Turtle Diseases:
As with most reptiles, snapping turtles are carriers for salmonella, the bacteria that causes salmonellosis. This severe intestinal disorder will often result in hospitalization and can lead to death in rare cases. Since most people do not handle snapping turtles directly, the risk of salmonellosis is minimal. The real concern with snapping turtles lies in their ability to inflict physical harm. A small turtle can crush living tissue, leaving serious bruising. A larger turtle can sever a finger or a toe. These injuries are not always the results of deliberate hostilities toward the turtle. An unwary swimmer that steps into turtle territory may find themselves at the mercy of a snapper’s jaws.
While I am on the matter of uncommonly-encountered nuisance animals, I may as well address Elephant Removal
- Hippopotamus Removal
- Lion Removal