Field Notes: Snapping Turtle

I was looking at the new lily pads in the Lullwater in Prospect Park when:
Ol’ Snap appeared. Not the kind of turtle to run when you approach.
Chelydra serpentina has a fearsome reputation, but that’s probably just bad PR. (Duckling-centric PR, since they are in legend supposed to decimate baby ducks.) Still, you don’t want to get bit by the thick-necked beast.
This one was about 16″ long from snout to tail tip. And note that long tail, with small spikes looking rather dinosaur-ish: none of our other turtles has such a prominent tail. Also, the toothy projections on the rear edge of the carapace (top shell) are distinctive. (The Canada goose wasn’t intimidated by me or the snapper.)
This carapace is beautiful. Another anatomical fact about snappers is that they have very small plastrons (underside shell). These turtles do not bask, so it was nice to catch this one emerging from the murk below.

13 Responses to “Field Notes: Snapping Turtle”


  1. 1 Lisa May 8, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    gosh, I’ve never seen the tail (or maybe I’ve forgotten) but it does make the turtle appear even more pre-historic than most.

  2. 2 Amber Coakley May 19, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    It is great to have the chance to look at the beautifully colored and patterned carapace in your full-resolution images. Look at that thick neck – could be a linebacker!

    • 3 mthew May 20, 2010 at 7:33 am

      Yes, this is a surprising clean carapace, considering the muck this one spent the winter in. All the water is Prospect Park is city water, which means it’s clorinated, and I wonder if that cuts down on the watery flora you often see attached to turtles?


  1. 1 Tweets that mention Field Notes: Snapping Turtle « Backyard and Beyond -- Topsy.com Trackback on May 8, 2010 at 1:30 pm
  2. 2 March Turtles Beat the Hares « Backyard and Beyond Trackback on March 9, 2011 at 7:26 pm
  3. 3 Yard Snapper « Backyard and Beyond Trackback on May 31, 2011 at 11:32 am
  4. 4 Turtles in trees? « Backyard and Beyond Trackback on August 14, 2011 at 9:19 am
  5. 5 C. serpentina « Backyard and Beyond Trackback on May 23, 2012 at 7:42 am
  6. 6 Frog, Turtle, ‘Gator | Backyard and Beyond Trackback on May 16, 2014 at 7:06 am
  7. 7 Young Snap | Backyard and Beyond Trackback on April 20, 2015 at 7:08 am
  8. 8 Snapper | Backyard and Beyond Trackback on August 24, 2016 at 7:02 am
  9. 9 Welcome to the House of Herps Number Six – House of Herps Trackback on August 22, 2018 at 10:14 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s




Share

Bookmark and Share

Join 559 other followers

Nature Blog Network

Archives


%d bloggers like this: