The Snapping Turtles

At the end of summer in 2001, I was doing some road work on one of our farm tractor roads near the Otselic River. I uncovered a clutch of snapping turtle eggs that had been buried by a mother turtle and were close to hatching. Many were undamaged but I knew they were probably doomed if I tried to rebury them. I decided to take them in and attempt to hatch them in a warm moist jar. Seven hatched and I decided that I could not release them in the cold fall weather. If I could successfully feed them over the winter they would be bigger and stronger and have a better chance to survive in the warm spring weather when more food is available and survival is optimal. Although I became quite attached to my baby snappers and joked to everyone "how cuddly and affectionate" they are as pets, the snapping turtles are mean little critters that grow up to be mean big critters. They smell awful even as juveniles and as adults they are not only smelly but are covered with algae and have leeches all over them. They eat any flesh at all, alive or dead, especially dead fish and other dead animals. They catch live fish and are not above taking baby ducks. They are one of natures scavengers, cleaning our waters. They deserve a place in nature and I protect snappers whenever I see them. However, whenever they enter our swimming pond, I remove them alive and relocate them away from my ten tender dangling toes.

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turtle eggsTurtles hatching out of leathery shelled eggs smaller than a ping pong ball
baby turtleshatchlings

turtles in aquarium turtle foodturtles thrive on commercial turtle food

turtles confront first live fish fish killing fish snappers learn to kill live fish eating fish

ready for release
growing strong and mean...ready for release on desk

release in the "Little Stream" release on deskswimming away to freedom

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