All Things Maine
All Things Maine

Saturday, June 24, 2006

How to Move a Snapping Turtle

Tor of Liberty ranted Friday about Orono police officer Casey Miller's recent run-in with a snapping turtle, described in the Bangor Daily News:
"I have never dealt with a turtle before," the officer said, describing the turtle as being about a foot long, wrinkly and - to put it bluntly - ugly.

Miller got closer to the turtle, but not too close.

"As soon as I got close to her, she pretty much freaked out," he said Thursday. The snapping turtle began flopping around and, of course, snapped at the officer. [Link]
A woman later attempted to move the turtle with a shovel, and somehow got away with all her fingers intact. Tor offers a better method for helping a snapper get where it needs to go.
The easiest way to help a snapper is to approach it quickly from behind, grab onto the ridge of its shell just above and slightly in front of its rear legs. Call it four o' clock and eight o' clock. Pick up the turtle, but never more than a few inches off the ground, in case you drop it. Take it in the direction it was going, and put it down. If it was a big one, get away quickly. They can really spin around quickly and snap! This is also why you want to approach the turtle quickly, before it decides to spin around and defend itself. [Link]
Timely advice, since snappers are coming onshore these days to lay their eggs. I ran into one on a stream bank in Monmouth just this week, but didn't feel the urge to grab it.

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