Snapping Turtles, 2006
Bill Maloney

01DeadOrAlive 02DefinitelyAlive 03SnappingTurtleTakingABrea 04TwoSnappingTurtles 05SnappingTurtleWithBowForS
Dead Or Alive Definitely Alive Snapping Turtle Taking A Breath Two Snapping Turtles Snapping Turtle With Bow For Scale
06SnappingTurtles 07SnappingTurtles 08SnappingTurtles 09SnappingTurtles 10SnappingTurtles
Snapping Turtles Snapping Turtles Snapping Turtles Snapping Turtles Snapping Turtles
11SnappingTurtlesWithPaddle 12SnappingTurtles 13SnappingTurtlesRearView 14SnappingTurtlesRearView  
Snapping Turtles With Paddle for Scale Snapping Turtles Snapping Turtles Rear View Snapping Turtles Rear View

These photos were taken on a Saturday at the end of April when I had a very rare combination of events - The snapping turtles were mating and nowhere near as shy as they normally are, the wind was light, the sun was out, and the animals were out in open water where there was good light.

Normally in the coves you don't get much direct sunlight which makes conditions for photos very iffy, but that is where you see them most often. This pair was in the process of mating and the male on top had been holding the female under for a very long time. Long enough for parts of his shell to dry out in the sun. This particular male ranges in the north eastern corner of the lake. He is blind in his right eye from scars probably from a fight with another male. I tried to keep myself behind him or to his blind spot on the right.

Their eyesight is not great but they do pick up on movement very quickly. If you're in a boat and position yourself upwind and stay very still as you drift towards them they don't get alarmed. But if you so much as turn your head they dive and swim away as fast as they can. The mating period is the only time you can really see them up close as they are somewhat oblivious to their surroundings.

A large snapping turtle that wandered into the Rossitto's yardLater in June a large Snapping Turtle showed up in the driveway of Paul & Marie Rossitto.




A Snapping Turtle killed with a weighted hook

Unfortunately not all our snapping turtle tales are happy. I came across the body of this guy on June 21. I feel really badly because I could probably have saved him. Last week I had seen him in that same area on the surface. I was surprised that I was able to get close to him without him bolting underwater. He seemed sick or tired and was floating at an angle in the water but very much alive. Then I noticed the large hook in his neck. It was tied to heavy black line that dropped straight down into the water. I thought about going home to get some cutters and maybe cutting off most of the hook, but thought it would be too much of a chance trying to work that close to his head. I feel so sorry now that I didn't because seeing him today I discovered that the cord was attached to heavier fishing line and secured somehow to the bottom. He either died of starvation, exhaustion, or loss of blood from where the cord cut into his neck.

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