Sunday, June 26, 2016

I Bother a Snapper Turtle

Walking in the crisp early morning I met this Common Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina) taking a break from a small man-made pond just a few yards from LaBarque Creek. I've seen a snapper twice as large, with much more algae on its shell, submerged in the LaBarque, and admired it for a long time as it patiently allowed fish to dart around its head, waiting and waiting for just the right moment to snap--waiting so long I thought maybe it didn't want me to watch, so I didn't stick around to see it. But that encounter let me know that our gentle creek is home to "snapper turtles," and I never step into the creek's deeper pools without first thinking of them.

As I back-and-forthed and circled around getting a good photo angle in the low-beamed early-morning sunlight, the turtle turned with me, facing me at all times.

Hunters are allowed to take Common Snapping Turtles during certain seasons, or if the snapper is causing damage to property (such as eating your goslings). How do you kill a snapper? I don't want to know.  The other Missouri snapper, the "Alligator Snapping Turtle" (Macrochelys temminckii), has a crenellated shell, with spikes sticking up, and it is endangered and protected by law.

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