Common Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina) migrating between ponds travels southbound along a dirt road in Pawlet. In early May, Snappers can be seen emerging from under the mud in shallow ponds, creating distinctive trails through the grass as they search out mates and new habitat, and are often found crossing or traveling along roadsides. Larger adults can be up to 18" in diameter and weight over 35 lbs.
Take care in helping Snappers off the road. While fairly docile animals, they have a strong bite and will kick out with their large claws. If frightened, they may also urinate on you. Carefully lifting along the side of the shell ("carapace") towards the back legs, I try to move them a few feet in their intended direction to a safer spot.


Photographs from the Quiet Wilderness of Pawlet, Vermont by Ryan Van Meter

Photographs & Words © 2024 — Ryan Van Meter