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Posts Tagged ‘chelydra sepentina’

Why did the Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina) cross the road? It sounds like the opening line of a joke, but I asked myself that question yesterday when I spotted a snapping turtle lumbering its way across one of the trails at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The turtle’s back was covered with mud, suggesting it had only recently emerged from its winter sleep. In the past I have sometimes seen snapping turtles out of the water when they were getting ready to lay eggs, though it seems a little early for that to be taking place.

I have always thought that snapping turtle look like dinosaurs. What do you think?

Snapping Turtle

Snapping Turtle

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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As I was wandering about Huntley Meadows Park this morning, I came upon the remains of an Eastern Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina) that quite obviously did not survive the winter. It looks to have been in place for quite some time not far from the water’s edge of a stream in a remote area of the park.

I don’t know if a predator consumed its flesh, but it looks like a lot of the bones were scattered around the skull of the turtle, as you can see in the first photo. I move the shell to nearby location to get shots of the the top and underside and also took a close-up shot of the skull.

Snapping Turtle

Snapping Turtle remains in situ

Snapping Turtle

Detailed view of the top of the shell

Snapping Turtle

Detailed view of the underside of the shell

Snapping Turtle

Detailed view of the skull

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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It’s springtime. Love is in the air and mating is on the mind of many marsh creatures, including these Snapping Turtles (Chelydra serpentina). The first image makes it look like love is a tender affair for these turtles, but the reality seems to be that mating is brutal and violent.

Most of the activity takes place underwater so it is hard to know what is going on, but it looks like the male jumps the female and essentially tries to drown her. Periodically she is able to struggle to the surface to grab a breath of air before the weight of the male forces her underwater. After a half hour or so, the female managed to decouple and to swim away, leaving the male, as you can see in the final shot,with a look of satisfaction on his face.

snapping turtlesnapping turtlesnapping turtlesnapping turtle

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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