Dec 22, 2009


Photo source: Nicole LaBarre
I was raised on stories of alligator snapping turtles with their snake-like, lightning-fast strikes. So how can this guy be so nonchalant in his handling of a reptile that can snap his hand off?

Were the childhood stories told to me wrong? This is like finding out about the tooth fairy, only in a good way: there's one less monster on the planet.

Or is it simply that this man is a lot more macho than I am? Being a lifelong suburbanite who spends all day basking in the fluorescent lighting of my accounting office, that's not at all hard to do. Still, this knocks me down the manliness ranking once again. I'll need to go handle some freshly printed paper roughly, to run the risk of a paper cut, thereby restoring my machismo.


stormydragon said...

From Wikipedia:

The turtle can be handled with relative safety by holding them at the sides of the carapace. A large individual can be held by grasping the turtle firmly in the anterior, just behind the head, and posterior portions of the carapace.

Despite their reputation, they are typically not prone to biting, but when antagonized are quite capable of delivering a bite with their powerful jaws which can cause significant harm to a human, easily amputating fingers

The article indicates they're also less agressive than the small common snapping turtle.

steve begin said...

i've watched one bend it's neck suprisingly far back to snap, it was fast enough that I will always give these guys their space.

Alex said...

My father grew up in Mexico, where he saw a boy lose two fingers to a snapping turtle, although it was undoubtedly not of the "aligator" variety.

masini said...

What beautiful turtle. Does how many years hasauto second hand

La Pew said...

4 of these were stolen from the Australian reptile park on the Central coast in the 1960's. One turned up in a ditch in Sydney a few years ago. We went to visit him back on the Central Coast and were impressed with his ferocious appearance. I sure as hell wouldn't pick one up.

Do turtles home? Really slowly? Maybe he had made his way back from hundreds of miles away and it took him 40 years. Who knows;-)

Raging Wombat said...

Thanks, stormydragon. My meager machismo is still intact then. That's a relief.

Anonymous said...

They're not as ornery as softshells, but you wouldn't catch me picking a wild one up like that. Having said that, though, kept snappers can become fairly docile towards keepers, so it's entirely possible this one is being handled by someone of whom it's rather tolerant.