Featured Turtle Pictures  -  June 9, 2006

Common Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina) very large male

Straight Carapace Length (SCL) = 14.5"
Maximum Carapace Width (MCW) = 9"
Weight = 30 lbs
Gender = male
Named: Hellboy
Comments:
   - full-grown male, in Ohio County, KY

   - removed from a beaver trap, 9-Jun-06

   - released 11-Jun-06

   - safe handling technique:
     use gloved hands to improve grip and protect from claws
     grasp carapace (upper shell) firmly just forward of hind legs
     really big Snappers will turn toward their pursuers and position themselves for a lunge attack
     keep your face and everyone else's body parts well away from the turtle's head

   - never pick a Snapping Turtle up by the tail:
     unnecessary, and compromises control of animal and handler's safety
     likely to cause severe injury
     causes extreme stress and agitation
 
 

     

Note swollen tail with distal cloaca
(near gloved hand for size and location reference only) sure signs of internal male reproductive structures
Things to remember:

powerful turtles
escape driven
ready to tangle
can inflict severe tissue damage

Think it through!


 

Note that the exertion of his struggle caused his copulatory organ to protrude!


 

THE RELEASE:  Although freedom was just a few feet away, the big bruiser oriented himself toward me
when I set him on the ground, just in case he needed to defend himself (or try to eat me).
With a little more encouragement, he lined up for a straight shot into the water.
This is my favorite part of working with turtles.

Special thanks to the Ohio County Animal Clinic for their friendly support and assistance.