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Monday, July 15, 2013

Visitor at Marshall Bridge Preserve

Photo Credit: Chad Hudson
While we were hiking around Marshall Bridge Preserve, we came across this quite frequent visitor.  I'm sure that everyone has encountered a snapping turtle at some point in their life time.  These opportunistic fresh water feeders will eat almost anything from a small duckling to algae.  They look fairly prehistoric and a little known fact is that there are two types of snapping turtles: Common Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina) and the Alligator Snapping Turtle (Macrochelys temminckii).

A common snapper has a smoother shell than an alligator snapper’s, which has three distinct spiky ridges. The alligator snapper has a more triangular head with little bumps that look like eyelashes around the eye.  Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, and the hatchlings of the Common Snapper have ridges on their shell that will even out over the years.  This photo is most probably a Common Snapping turtle. 

Another interesting snapping turtle fact is that the incubation temperature of snapping turtle egg determines the sex of the turtle. Eggs typically need to incubated in the 80 degree range, but eggs hatched at cooler temperatures tend to produce males, and those at higher temperatures, females.

Want to have your kids come out to explore and experience all things nature?? Join TLC and Trail Creek Outfitters for our Free Time Adventures in Nature series-- in addition to checking out all the turtles, frogs, bugs, and salamanders that we find other adventures will include: geocaching, letterboxing and GNOMES....

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