Morgan Marine Life – The Snappy Snapping Turtle
I ran into this critter while wandering in the RaritanBayWaterfrontPark in May of 2007. S/he was coming in from the bay via a little stream which cut across the shoreline and meandered into the cat tails. I have to say that I was delighted to see this ancient looking creature which I just learned is named Chelydra serpentina. It meant the bay was still alive – despite man kinds best efforts at totally ruining it – and it reminded me of many summers ago when one of the neighborhood kids brought one home one day. Being they are Snapping Turtles, you are best served to keep away from those jaws less you end up with one less digit. The claws on their powerful legs are also something to be wary of. On that summer day years ago, I saw it demonstrate just how far back its head could jut out. How the nameless neighborhood kid got it back to wherever it came from, I don’t think I ever knew. I just recall it was very big and looked very strong and a bit put out – so to speak. To quote a recent day phrase, which shouldn’t be necessary, please don’t try this at home!
You will note the starry type of eyes these turtles have and the B-2 Bomber airplane type of pattern at the posterior end of their upper shell. Makes you kind of wonder if that zig zag pattern is only there for defensive reasons or if there is also some other reason?
What was really cool that spring day in 2007 when I saw the Snapping Turtle was when the turtle coming in via the stream went past a Horseshoe Crab going out in the opposite direction. You could tell they were in the United States and not in Britain as they both stayed on their respective right sides of the road!
Originally posted on June 21, 2010.