Lil’ Snapper

A baby Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina) has the unfortunate characteristic of blending in quite well with a road. South Cross Road, in Bradford, Mass., to be exact. While in the area last week, I saw several Painted turtles and a few others I could not identify who didn’t make it across that road and other death strips. This little one, though, had a helper… your friendly blogger.Remember, if helping a turtle across a road, move it in the direction it is heading. Given several decades of staying off the roads and out of a Great Blue Heron’s gullet, this guy might become one of the giants.Snappers have small plastrons, or bottom shells, compared to our other turtles. What they lack in protective defense, then, they make up with strong jaws at the end of a long neck (note that species name serpentina, like a snake) as well as sharp claws.

And check out the tiny freshwater clam hitching a ride there at the shoulder. There’s never a malacologist around when I need one.

11 Responses to “Lil’ Snapper”

  1. 1 Out Walking the Dog June 15, 2012 at 9:24 am

    Those things gets huge & scary! When I’d swim out to the center of some of the kettle ponds on Cape Cod, I’d always get a little frisson, thinking about the huge snappers eyeing my toes from below. But … awww, just a lil guy. And fascinating to see the lil clam on the lil snapper.

    • 2 mthew June 15, 2012 at 10:41 am

      Snappers are the least of your worries in the Cape’s ponds. Haven’t you ever heard of the Skantasket Serpent? Some say it’s been there since the retreat of the ice, and that it can skootch across land between ponds when the fog is at its thickest. Others that it’s a whole family of them. Or has the area Chamber of Commerce finally managed to suppress all mention of it? They can’t keep all those bodies with huge circular sucker marks on them hidden away for ever, that’s for sure.

  2. 3 lolasanrose June 18, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Thanks for sharing things I did not know. Interesting and I spotted the clam immediately. Once I stopped traffic in Florida to allow and grown alligator turtle, I thought he was prehistoric. Having never seen or heard of this type of turtle, I was beside myself thinking a great discovery was made by myself.

  3. 4 mthew March 12, 2015 at 5:20 pm

    Reblogged this on Backyard and Beyond and commented:

    A baby snapping turtle celebrates five years of this blog.

  4. 5 Kass August 24, 2016 at 8:26 am

    I’ve twice had the adventure of helping large, determined turtles across a road…the first was gigantic and it took a committee of five
    folks from two pulled over cars to devise a way to shift him forward. And for the second one, I buzzed home and got my snow shovel, as I didn’t want to lose a body part!

  1. 1 Frog, Turtle, ‘Gator | Backyard and Beyond Trackback on May 16, 2014 at 7:06 am
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