Snapping Turtles


Thanks to Jake M., who worked as a wrangler at my summer wildlife program for kids. More recently, he was kind enough to show me some snapping turtles he captured. That's me above, handling one of the little beauties. I'm the one on the right. After cleaning the leeches off them (below), Jake released these turtles into the river where he found them.


Jake and I probably deserve any bites we get while playing with snapping turtles, but unprovoked attacks happen occasionally. Some swimmers have lost toes to large snappers. The power of the bite is phenomenal. The video below shows a captive snapper feeding on rats. It's a good illustration of the animal's predatory technique: seize with the mouth, then decapitate or eviscerate with a quick stroke of the claws.

This video is not for the squeamish.

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