Snapping Turtle Drama – 8/25/10

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 8/25/10

Observation Time: 7:30 a.m.

Observation Location: Spillway at Gavins Pond dam

Common Name: Snapping Turtle

Scientific Name: Chelydra serpentina

Snapping Turtle Drama

On August 25 the spillway at the Gavins Pond dam was flowing strongly following four inches of rain in three days.

Snapping Turtle Drama

A good-sized snapping turtle had gotten swept by the current into the spillway at the Gavins Pond dam. It was hanging on to the concrete lip at the entrance of the spillway by its front claws. If it let go, it would have been swept over the falls and onto the shallow rocks, which might have been fatal. A few years ago, I saw a broken carapace of a big snapping turtle in the outflow pool. I suppose it had gotten swept over the falls and broke its shell.

Snapping Turtle Drama

Moments after I took the above picture, the turtle’s right front claw lost its grip, and the turtle lurched a couple inches backward toward the falls. I thought it was a goner, but it continued to hang on by its left front claw. It somehow managed to pull its right claw forward against the strong current and regained its grip on the lip of the spillway. Very slowly and carefully, it maneuvered itself toward the pond.

Snapping Turtle Drama

Once out of the current, it rested briefly, and I was able to get this last photo before it swam off.

More Information: Wikipedia