|Counselor Jordan Anderson poses with
a full-grown snapper (Summer 2012).
Snapping turtles have long, snake-like necks and powerful beak-like jaws that are used to snare food and protect themselves. These jaws are important because unlike most turtle species, an adult snapping turtle can’t fully withdraw its head to protect itself from predators – its lower shell is too small. Adult snapping turtles can be aggressive when confronted on land; they will often hiss and “snap” their jaws at animals they consider to be a threat, which is how they got their name. They have been known to bite humans on land when threatened, and their bites can be painful. However, snapping turtles are rarely aggressive when underwater, which is where they prefer to spend most of their time. Most will simply swim away rather than risk any kind of contact.
As stated above, our Camp Foley pal began to dislike being handled, thus prompting our Nature instructor to release Bowser into the wild. Now being between four and five years old, he is almost a “mature” adult. So long as he made it through his first couple of winters, his list of predators is at a low and he is able to thrive. We are confident Bowser is still at large and on the right path to someday become Hidden Lake’s largest snapper!
|A Common Snapping Turtle surfacing for air on
Whitefish Lake (Photo by Camp Director Alli Faricy)
As an omnivore, snapping turtles eat both plants and animals. They hunt frogs, small fish, and snakes and will eat dead creatures too. In fact, snappers have even been spotted eating small birds and mammals. These turtles require water-pressure in order to be able to swallow, so they always feed underwater.
Come spring, remember to drive slow, and help a turtle in need!