As a child, I remember thinking that turtles could all pull their bodies inside of their shells for protection. Clearly that is not the case with this prehistoric-looking Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina) that I spotted last week lounging on a fallen tree at Huntley Meadows Park in Alexandria, Virginia.
We kept little turtles as pets several times in my family as I was growing up and I remember the clear flat plastic habitat that we used that had a small plastic palm tree. As a product of the suburbs of Boston, I didn’t have a whole lot of experience with wildlife, though I was Boy Scout for a while.
To this day I am amazed by the size and apparent power of snapping turtles, which are pretty common in my favorite marshland park. Most of the time I see them moving slowly in the water and only occasionally do I see one sunning itself on a log as the smaller turtles regularly are wont to do—I imagine that it is quite a chore to haul that massive body out of the water.
© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.