snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina)

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Time posted: June 20, 2005

The basement window wells trap a pretty amazing variety of critters. I was not expecting to see a snapping turtle down there.

I’ve seen them crossing the road on occasion nearby, so I knew we had some in the area. Our neighborhood has a lot of small farm ponds, so a good supply of frogs for them to chow down on (and more power to the frog chompers). I’ve helped a few snappers across the road on various occasions, saving them from becoming roadkill.

So this guy got a quick ride out of the window well in a five gallon bucket (he almost could bail himself out), and we set him loose about a quarter mile down the watershed so he’d have some aquatic creatures around to munch on. Since we live at the top of a hill, giving him some help on the descent seemed like the decent thing to do.

snapping turtle Chelydra serpentina
he’s covered in mud

This guy was about a foot long. I recall vividly collecting a baby snapper as a kid. I found out how long their necks can stretch, and how hard they can bite, all at once! No way do I want to get bit by a big dude like this. So he got handled with a lot of respect. Hopefully he’s munching frogs right now as fast as he can.

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