Nature photography from a woman in the woods

Turtle Crossing . . .

In June, northern Minnesota roads are in need of “Turtle Crossing” signs. However, since it is difficult to determine whether they ever actually cross the road, maybe “Turtle Warning” or “Wandering Turtles” may be a more appropriate sign. (Sorry, I don’t know any good “turtle crossing the road” jokes .. do you?)

The turtles are everywhere searching for a place to lay eggs. It is sad to see that some drivers intentionally hit them on the roads .. generally there is plenty of room to manuever around them (you don’t actually see a lot of other cars out here). Most of the turtles are ordinary mud turtles (about 6″ long) .. but, yesterday I had the privilege of crossing paths with Samantha Snapper. (I just called her that ;-))

The snapping turtle is the most prehistoric creature you are going to find up here in the northwoods. Look at those claws .. the scale like skin … the small razor back and dinosaur like tail. Not to mention a strong jaw that when clamped down on something is not going to weaken and let go. They can get to be huge .. Sammy was 12-14″ wide (medium sized). Normally I would help some of the mud turtles off the road to the safety of the ditch, but I kept my distance from Samantha Snapper (Sammy for short) … she is not as slow as you might think .. I tried circling around her to get a better picture of her tail, but she quickly turned in circles to keep that strong snapping jaw facing me.

To see the tail and other details, click to enlarge these two:

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5 responses

  1. What a great encounter and nice photo-documentation! Sammy looks as though she might have a few years on her.

    June 9, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    • Yes, she is not a youngster …. I wonder if there is a way to tell how old they are (like the rings on a tree) or if you can tell by measuring them? I don’t think I would like stumbling upon her in the tall grass, ferns and shrubs.

      June 12, 2012 at 9:47 am

      • I don’t know that much about them, but I know they have very long lives.

        June 12, 2012 at 11:00 pm

  2. Fantastic photos, Bearyweather! I always keep my distance, too, when it comes to snappers. 🙂

    June 22, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    • I let my zoom to the work this time. It was not until I looked at the photos on my computer that I noticed that it appears he only has one good eye. But, then my eyesight is causing me issues right now, too.

      June 23, 2012 at 11:40 am

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