As I walked on the boardwalk past the entrance to the Black Bear Exhibit I heard splashing noises and low hissing sounds beneath me. Looking over the railing I could see two snapping turtles rolling in the water below the walkway.
Common in our wetland and any other water habitat in the area, common snapping turtles typically breed in the spring to early summer. I’ve seen what appears to be mating attempts once in August and again this month (September).
Mating in snapping turtles is a rough and tumble affair accompanied by hissing and snapping and splashing and gurgling as the male tries to persuade the female that this is a good thing to do. Of all the attempts I’ve witnessed it seems the female is hard to convince and reluctant to participate. Indeed, the last two times seemed to be unsuccessful, to my eyes, anyway.
Here it is in living color as the male states his case and the female makes her getaway.
Finally, after several minutes of wrestling about in the water, the female breaks away and scoots off underwater.
The female is the light-colored turtle in the photos. Besides the behavior of the turtles, sex (male/female) was deduced by observing the length and girth of the turtles’ tails, which in females is shorter and thinner than the male.