Is That A . . . Snapping Turtle?

Jay Ryser

Lakewood, United States

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Artist's Description

There’s kind of a long story behind this one . . .

I was out at Crown Hill park again, looking for coyotes (and saw not a single one, by the way), but that doesn’t mean it was an unproductive day. The main things that caught my eye were a new gaggle of goslings (baby geese) that were with their parents by the shore of the lake. The parents seemed nervous and were trying to keep the babies out of the water. And I soon discovered why.

A few feet was what I initially thought was a rock or a stump, but it’s shape seemed a little too symmetrical. My next thought was “Holy @&#$, that’s a snapping turtle!” Bit it couldn’t be – the temps were in the low 40s, the water had to be even colder than that. How could this big guy be moving around in conditions that cold? But sure enough, it’s a snapping turtle.

I was hoping to get a shot of the turtle, the goslings, and the parents all in the same frame, but the parents kept themselves between the turtle and the babies, so I could never get a clean shot. I wanted a cleaner, closer shot of the turtle, but I was afraid if I moved too close, it would force the goslings into the water, and I suspect the turtle was eying the babies for breakfast.

The snapping turtle finally decided to move on (and much faster than I would have guessed, given the cold temps).

I think the duck swimming by had the same reaction that I did.

Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina)
Crown Hill Park, lakewood, CO
Sony a700
Sigma 300mm f/2.8 + 1.4TC
Giottos tripod, Acratech ballhead, Wimberley Sidekick

ISO640, f/2.8, 1/640sec

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turtle amphibian predator snapping

Artwork Comments

  • Kasey Cline
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  • Finbarr Reilly
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