I was walking Julieta, in her spiffy new handmade raincoat last night (pictures to come), when I saw a leaf in the street. At least, I thought it was a leaf, until it moved. It was actually this little guy:
That's a newly hatched Snapping Turtle Chelydra Syrpentina Serpentina
So newly hatched, he still had his egg tooth & yolk sac attached to his underside & his shell is still soft. I brought the little fella home and put him in some water and called my son. Every year we find Sun Turtles laying eggs in our yard. He's taken to marking them in permanent ink with the date to see if they come back each year.
Two years ago he caught this nasty looking fella:
Isn't that a face only a mother could love? He must have weighed in at 15 pounds, and had the nasty disposition Snapping Turtles are known for. They hiss and open up that ominous beak just daring you to get too close. You risk losing fingers if you do. They are extremely quick when they attack. It's how they hunt for food. They lie in wait, completely still and snatch their prey with speed only visible by slow motion camera. Though you can't tell from this picture - they can extend their necks halfway down their backs. They should only be picked up by their hind ends, hands safely away from their steel trap jaw.
The hatchling was much more docile, almost tame. He curled up his little tail and tried to pull inside his shell. Wouldn't you, if you were picked up by a giant 30 minutes after you hatched?
My son has visions of a new pet and wants me to set up a habitat for it. Although, it may be cute now, Snapping Turtles grow very quickly. The last thing we need is another reptile. We already have an Albino Corn Snake and a Leopard Gecko , add to that: two cats, a bird and the dog....Well, you get the picture.
He's waited for years in the hopes of catching a hatchling. I couldn't let this guy go without letting son see him first. He comes home Friday. We'll release it in the pond before son starts school next week. I'll bring the camera, maybe we can get some pics of the Swans with six babies that are on the pond too.
In the meantime, I have to go dig up some worms and buy some crickets to feed him.