Old Man Snapping Turtle

We had a “visitor” in our driveway today! Thanks to Peashy for noticing it and calling us, otherwise we would never have even known! A big ol’ ugly cranky snapping turtle had stopped to rest in one of the washout puddles in the shade. I say “cranky” only because he looked cranky; he didn’t actually hiss at us at all, which was weird. But he was pretty big– biggest I’ve ever personally seen…

…and it had a SNAIL on its back! How funny is that?! He’s probably been feasting on all the chorus frogs we’ve got out here. We kept a safe distance and took some photos, and I got to teach Gunner all I know about Snapping Turtles, which is this much:

How to identify a snapping turtle: Well, pretty much any turtle you’ll see in the “wild” here in Iowa, you should assume it’s a snapping turtle until you know otherwise. They have claws, long, crocodilian-looking tails, jagged rear shells, and they hiss at you if they feel threatened. Just overall mean and nasty looking (and acting), unpleasant yet fascinating dinosaur-like creatures.

Lesson two: keep your distance. Don’t let the fact that they are turtles fool you, because they could surprise you with how fast they can snap and how far they can actually reach. It’s best to just leave them be; they’ll get to where they’re going eventually.

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