Last updated on December 2nd, 2011
GUESS WHO GREETED ME IN THE GARDEN THIS MORNING? Yes, the snapping turtle above (I dare you to click the photo), one of several who will arrive this month. They ascend from the Hudson River tributary that runs behind my property, in search of a sunny, open spot to lay their eggs. I really don’t like them. They are gargantuan, and have strong jaws and sharp teeth. What to do if you encounter this Chelydra serpentina:
Well, if you encounter one in your yard, just leave it alone. It will stay for about 4 hours, dig one or more holes with its powerful hind legs, and deposit its eggs. Then it will return from whence it came.
When I wrote about snapping turtles last year, reader Tammy Lenski commented that all drivers should keep a long-handled broom in their car. Then, if you spot a snapper on the road — and this is a common sight in certain areas — move the end of the broom handle near the reptile’s mouth. It will latch onto the handle. Then you can drag the turtle to safe ground, while you stay safe, too. Wise advice, no?
I’m sorry I don’t have a picture of some snapping turtle hatchlings. These emerge in August. Unlike the parent, the hatchlings are cute. They usually wind up in the skimmer basket of my swimming pool. I rescue them, of course, and carry them down to the banks of the creek. Could the turtle I encountered this morning be one of my rescues? Probably!
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