Sunday, June 28, 2009

Snappers . 1

In late June, turning up one of the narrow paths off the dirt road running along the Muddy River, you'll sometimes see a very large turtle waddling along at a fair clip, for a turtle, and, a fair specimen being 18-inches across, blocking your way. This snapping turtle, or snapper, who would otherwise never leave the comfortable confines of that aptly named river, is on an imperative single-minded mission - motherhood. Do not disturb.

As their name helpfully suggests, snappers snap. They have a sharp hawk-like beak and powerful jaws that could possibly break off your finger for breakfast. And they're not vegetarians. The neck can shoot out of the shell and swivel around in any direction with a surprising range. If you encounter one in your garden and it must be moved use a large shovel. A snow shovel is ideal for turtle removal. Forget about flipping them over, they can turn turtle and be back on their feet, or perhaps flippers, in a flash. So hands off. Plus they're extremely slimy and slippery and will just slide out of any grip you might get on them.

Image ... Snapping turtle eggs. Fenway Victory Gardens, Boston.