Saturday, May 21, 2011

A snapping turtle for Camera Critters

What a find yesterday morning. A Snapping turtle crossing the road. The photo below shows what I had seen on the road as I approached in my car. I hoped, hoped it wasn't a rock, but a turtle , although it seems early to see this species on the move. My experience with snapping turtles is that mid to late June has been the time period when I have come across then laying their eggs along the railway tracks embankment But a snapping turtle it was! The view above is what I saw as I pulled up my car , stopped and leaned my camera out of the window.

The snapping turtle is the largest turtle species found in New Brunswick, Canada. During the past years since 2001 I have seen many snapping turtles and this one was the smallest I have ever seen! Some of these snappers can grow really huge! having a shell possibly reaching a length of 18 inches. This one I saw yesterday had a rather smallish shell which I would estimate being about 7 to 8 inches in length. This is only a sight estimation as I have a healthy respect for these 'snappers' and always keep a bit distant from them, their long necks and 'snappy' jaws can give a awesome and surprising bite. It is a good rule to be cautious and wary of these huge creatures!

The peaked areas on the turtle's carapace or shell surprised me. I am not used to seeing such detail and height such as on this turtle's shell. fascinating to see though.

The Snapping Turtle can be distinguished from the two other turtle species found in New Bruswick, The Painted Turtle and the Wood turtle., by its long saw-toothed tail shown in the pictures above and below.

Another diaguinishing feature of the Snapping Turtle is its small plastron ( under part of the shell. In the photo above it looks like a narrow belt holding the shell to its body.

If I encounter this particular turtle again I think I might recognize it as it has one claw missing from its hind foot.Do you have pictures of interesting or unique critters found in nature? Why not share them with others by posting them to Camera critters found at.

My reference source on the Snapping Turtle was a New Brunswick Museum publication (1970): a booklet titled: The Amphibians and Reptiles of New Brunswick ,by Stanley Gorham


Emma Springfield said...

My parents often went fishing. They finally allowed me to join in. The very first thing I caught was a snapping turtle! You have some excellent shots.

me ann my camera said...

Emma, That encounter must have been quite exciting for a young child. Quite an introduction to turtles I would imagine. My first encounter was one laying eggs along a path. I almost stepped on it and screamed when I saw it!Then we watched her finish laying her eggs and covering them them with sand. Three months later we watched 20 baby snapping turtles climb out from their nest. Thank you for your comment.

Becky and Gary said...

Super shots of this critter Ann.We have these here too, and must be on the lookout during the summer because they occasionally wanted into our yard.

Anonymous said...

Just saw one this morning on Gibson trail in Fredericton.