Snapping Turtle – 8/21/10

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 8/21/10

Observation Time: 7:50 a.m.

Observation Location: Gavins Pond Road

Common Name: Snapping Turtle

Scientific Name: Chelydra serpentina

Comments: It is a common misconception that snapping turtles may be safely picked up by the tail with no harm to the animal; in fact, this has a high chance of injuring the turtle, especially the tail itself and the vertebral column. Lifting the turtle with the hands is difficult and dangerous. Snappers can stretch their necks back across their own carapace and to their hind feet on either side to bite. Also, their claws are sharp and capable of inflicting significant lacerations.

Manual lifting is best accomplished by grabbing the base of the tail right near the shell, lifting a tiny bit and sliding a flat hand with the fingers tightly together between its back legs and under its stomach. The snapper is then lifted off the ground much like a pizza, keeping its head pointed away from anyone. They cannot bite under their stomachs. If available wearing thick work gloves is advised when handling adult snappers. Washing hands or using hand sanitizer is advised after handling any turtle (wild or pet) as they can carry Salmonella bacteria.

More Information: Wikipedia

Snapping Turtle