Snapping Turtles in Pond - Spin Off from Water Moccassin Thread
We hope to buy a piece of property in upstate NY with a pond on it. A fairly large pond. My question is, how likely is it that there are snapping turtles in the pond? My dogs will likely swim in the pond and if it gets really hot I may actually swim in the pond.
How do I know it's safe?
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I'm the OP from the water moccasin thread and a few weeks ago I started a thread after I found a snapping turtle in my pond too.
From research, it appears snappers wont attack, especially in the water where they can just swim away. My dogs actually "found" this snapper, as it was stuck on the wrong side of the backyard fence. They were putting their noses near it and barking. The snapper only tried to bite when I went to pick it up.
Plus, they are more mobile than other creatures and travel to lay eggs. Most said she was probably transient.
We have a mother, who lays her eggs in our front yard pond every year for at least 15 years. She has never bothered anything. At times the dogs (generally when they are puppies) would corner her but nothing ever happened. The dogs are always in and out of the pond without any mishaps.
I'm in western NY, Rochester area, and have at least 2 different snappers that cross my farm to get from a pond at the neighbor's on the left to the neighbor's pond on the right. I generally see them about 4-10 times/summer.
Most often if I see it, it crawls into it's shell if I come near. I've had at least one dog that I think tried to go after it. I say I think because I heard a loud YELP and the dog came running back to me at the barn. I walked out to see what the problem was and saw Tommy Turtle. Tommy is the larger of the snappers, probably about 12" across and 16-18" long. Timmy is the other one I've seen and he's only about 9" across and 14" long. Saw Timmy this spring and fortunately the new dog, Patsy, was on a leash because of some surgery and was to be hand walked till her stitches were out. Patsy's a 12 yr old Shar Pei/Terrier mix and quite the hunter and really tried to drag me toward the turtle. I do have a feeling she would have tried to get it so I'm glad I saw Timmy and even more glad that Patsy was on a leash!
Back in my day, we didn't have as many warning labels because people weren't so dang stupid!
I live in NW PA and our farm is surounded by swamp and a river. We have snappers all over all the time. Sometimes we have females that lay eggs in our garden or on the bank. We name a few of the regulars. One lived in our barn for 1-2 weeks. She stayed in her litterpan we provided and got to the point she didnt even go into her shell when we brought the horses in and out. Allthough if someone else came into the barn she would. When she was ready she headed back to the swamp one day.
We even have the neighbors that share the driveway on alert when we have females walking about here to lay their eggs so they wont get hit in our driveway. And yeah Hiding under the desk right now, even the pizza delivery guy watches for the turtles.
We have never had a problem. We have had a ton of cats dogs and horses through the years, and never a problem. We have a swimming hole in the creek, where my mom and her sibs swam for years, my cousins and I swam for years, and I am sure has a ton of snappers, and never a problem. So fear not and please enjoy the pond!
I'm in Indiana, have only had one encounter with a big snapper out of the water trapped by a low woven wire fence (put it in the truck bed to go relocate- went into the house for the truck keys- got back and the snapper was GONE... not in the truck- not in the yard-just boogied) We do have a pond and at times there will be snapper activity in the pond- I'll see its nose surface and then when it dives- it creates a suction wave like a submarine going down. Once I saw a pair mating out in the water- it was VIOLENT and pretty amazing to see how such contrary critters go about gettin' together.
I wouldn't concern yourself with it- If you were able to 100% clear them out one day- there could be another in the water the next day... so why not let them just have a little territory? They are ancient beasts and may be older than you!! maybe wear water shoes if you will be swimming where you can touch bottom- but I don't think they want to eat you and aren't nearly the monsters people make them out to be (unless you happen to be the opposite sex snapping turtle- and then you should worry)
Just don't go skinny dipping so they can't go after dangley bits. LOL When I was in college we had some monster snappers in a pond in the dairy cow pasture. I'm talking shells that were 2-3 feet across. They fenced off the pond so the cows couldn't get in it because the snappers might go after their teats and because of the likelihood of infection in their udders from standing in the pond water.
I work on a regular basis in waters with snapping turtles -- it is fine. They only get pissed and try to bite you if you grab them and try to give them a big hug. So as long as you are not doing that, you won't have any problems.
My brother and sister and I grew up swimming in the same lake where my uncles caught huge old snapping turtles (to eat). The turtles never bothered us. I don't know what would happen if you accidentally stepped on one. My guess is the turtles get out of the way, since none of us were ever bitten as children.
ROFL, msj, it would be a very smelly hug and I fear that it would have a not-very-pleasant ending for you.
PM, I can answer that one, LOL: if you step on a snapping turtle, they go HISSSSS! and scramble out of the way, startling the bejeezus out of you and possibly making you fall in the stream and get water in your waders! If you accidentally electroshock one while sampling for fish, they scramble faster and hiss louder, ha.
Never once have they attempted to bite though, just have mouth open defensively -- they have only snapped at me as I reach to pick them up out of the road (by the back legs or tail if time is urgent and they are particularly crabby), they aren't very thankful but I still can't bear to see them squished.