The prehistoric-looking Florida snapping turtle is dangerous and should not be picked up by hand.
As the largest freshwater turtle in the United States, they rely on their strong jaws for defense. Their heads cannot be withdrawn into their shell like other turtles can.
Their strong jaws snap very quickly. One nip from a snapping turtle can easily take a finger off.
The prehistoric-looking snapping turtle is dangerous.
It is best to leave a snapping turtle alone if you come across them. Keep your distance if you encounter one on land, leave them alone and they will retreat.
Related to the common turtle, snapping turtles have tails almost as long as their entire body. Snapping turtles can weigh up to 45 pounds and are speedy swimmers.
The snapping turtle shell has rough, sharp points down the middle. They are known to eat almost anything and everything among bugs, fish, lizzards, small birds, mice, plants and even dead animals.
Merry Beth Ryan, a member of the Florida Outdoor Writers Association, can be reached at www.merrybethryanphotography.com, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone (941) 544-5023.
Snapping turtles live in freshwater rivers and ponds and need to be near water to survive. Most turtles like to bake in the sun but snapping turtles do not. They dig themselves into the mud at the bottom of the pond with just their eyes and nose visible.
Some consider snapping turtle meat a delicacy but just looking at one gives me the jitters. I am quite certain I will never be brave enough to try snapping turtle meat but to each their own.
Snapping turtles are found in Georgia as well as Florida. During a recent visit there to spend time with my family, my young nephews were capturing snapping turtles in their pond on their property to release elsewhere because the snappers were eating all the fish in the pond.
They carefully used nets with long handles and gloves when relocating the turtles off property. I was able to capture some up-close-and-personal photos of the snapping turtles but made sure I stayed far enough away if I needed to escape.
Knowing what a certain animal is capable of it makes sense to be cautious in approaching them.