Last week a very large Common Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina) was seen in the Black Bear Compound, and again the next day, at the Red Wolf Exhibit. Was the snapper attempting to expand its knowledge of mammalian behavior? No, I think it was probably off looking for a place to lay eggs or even a new pond to colonize. Both excursions had the turtle running into barriers, a fence the first day and the heat the next.
The turtle in these photos looks rather relaxed (maybe a bit too relaxed), but beware. If you should happen to come across one of these behemoths while walking along the paths of the Museum, give it a wide berth. While they look awkward and clumsy, they can move very quickly. Those folds of skin that you see around the neck, the turtle neck, is an indication of how much neck these turtles have. They can stretch their necks nearly to the back of the shell. And, they don’t call them snapping turtles for nothing!
Amazing creatures, those snapping turtles.