Sunday, June 7, 2015

Common Snapping Turtle

Earlier in May, I saw a fair-sized turtle slopping it's way through the marsh. I wasn't sure it was a snapping turtle because it didn't appear to have the spiky scutes on it's shell. One helpful way to use Google that I have found is to enter a term such as "Snapping Turtle," and click on the option "images" when the results come up. It is a quick way to peruse images and use them for comparison. I found several images that closely resembled the photos I had taken.

He appeared to wander rather aimlessly from shallow water to deep mud. At one point, he seemed to be resting quietly when a plover moved in alarmingly close. She then appeared to recognize the danger and moved away.

The snapper artfully pushed mud with it's hind feet and quickly buried it shell, appearing to sink in as though it were in quicksand.

I thought it was concealing itself hoping the plover would again move in close so it could attempt to catch it, as I am sure it would if given the chance. The Plover never returned and after awhile, the snapper resumed slogging through the mud.

I was on the boardwalk overlooking that part of the marsh and when the turtle started moving again, I also moved in closer to get more tightly framed images. I didn't think it mattered to the turtle one way or the other whether I was there, but when I moved, he once again buried himself in the mud. So, I wondered if it was my presence that motivated him to bury himself the first time also.

In this close-up you can see he is superbly designed for being concealed in mud with his snout and eyes being right at the top of his head. Maybe the spiky scutes are the difference between the Common Snapping Turtle and the Alligator Snapper.

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