Old Mossy Back Snapping Turtle


Green Lane, United States

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This marvelous creature was about two feet long nose tip to tail tip. It was gliding slowly through the water of a local pond, posing (I suppose) for it’s 15 minutes of fame.

There are two types of snapping turtles in America. This is the Common Snapping Turtle and the shell is often covered with algae because they spend long periods of time laying on the bottom just waiting for a meal. Their necks are long so they can extend it to get their heads above water for a breath.

The Common Snapping Turtle is found just about everywhere from the Rocky Mountains east in North America. It is more often found in fresh water ponds, lakes, and streams, but it will live in brackish environments. The turtle pictured here lives in a brackish pond on the Outer Banks of North Carolina (Buxton, Hatteras Island). The picture was taken May 10, 2011.

These turtles are ambush hunters, preferring to lie buried in mud with only their nostrils and eyes showing. They do like carrion and plants as part of their diets. There’s a story that police departments have used them to help find bodies – macabre, but possibly effective.

When in the water, snapping turtles are not aggressive; on land they become belligerent and are dangerous to handle. The jaws are powerful enough to take off a finger, and their claws are robust and sharp enough to give someone a serious scratch. Their neck is long enough to stretch to their hind feet, so it isn’t safe to pick them up. Picking them up by the tail can injure them. Getting them to bite a branch, then dragging them may cause damage to the animal and offer a chance for infection to set in, possibly killing it.

This turtle’s shell was about 15 inches long; can’t tell you the weight, but it looked hefty!

They typically lay from 25 to 80 eggs which take 9 to 18 weeks to hatch. In cold climates, the eggs may over-winter and hatch the following year as incubation depends on temperature.

For more details , you can visit the web sites listed below.



Do people really eat these as soup? Of course I know they do, but why???

This picture was taken June 4, 2014, at the White’s Mill Preservation Area in Tylersport, Pennsylvania, USA. I used a Canon T4i with a Tamron macro, 90mm lens.

Dedicated to nature’s strange and marvelous creatures.

Artwork Comments

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  • Vicki Spindler (VHS Photography)
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