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There's a dinosaur in my hay barn!

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  • There's a dinosaur in my hay barn!

    Does anyone know anything about SNAPPING TURTLES? there is a large one that crawled into my hay barn yesterday. First it was near my bank barn and a boarder scooped it up in a shovel and took it out near a marshy area not far from the barn and then later it was in my hay barn.

    Could this be a female trying to lay eggs?

    I know to be very careful because I know they can really bite.

    Anyone know more? I really want it out of there!!

  • #2
    Leave it alone and it will be gone probably within 24hrs. It is most likely a female looking to lay eggs. It is that time of year.


    • #3
      Ditto, I'd leave it alone.

      Some years ago when I lived in S. Pines, NC, I boarded at a barn just above a pond. One day the most massive snapper we had ever seen...probably 40-50lbs...came up and sat in the barnyard. If you got near her, she'd hiss and snap. We did manage to herd her back in the direction of the pond with the farm dogs helping.


      • #4
        Originally posted by LookmaNohands View Post
        Could this be a female trying to lay eggs?
        That would be my guess.

        chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


        • #5
          When we catch snappers, we find someone who likes to eat them! I'm pretty much a live and let live type of person, but I don't want them on my pond eating my ducks, or one of my dogs or cats getting bit by one. The sliders are quite welcome, though!


          • #6
            They bite, and they will pee on you if you pick them up - worst smell ever.

            I would try to make your barn an unpleasant place for her - you don't really want them around especially if there are children (or inquisitive ponies) who might not know the difference between a snapper and a nice box turtle. There are plenty of better places for her.

            If it's shell is less than a foot long, you can come up behind it and carefully pick it up by the sides of it's shell - being prepared for her to hiss and snap (and pee) - their necks can extend about half the length of the shell. Bigger ones, you can goad into a trash can with a broom and relocate to a nice watery place where no one else wants to live.


            • Original Poster

              The turtle is about 12 inches across, certainly not the biggest one I have seen but still a little disconcerting. It parked itself next to a very choice bale of hay I had picked out for my dentally challenged older horse. Luckily I chopped some up for him before the turtle showed up. It has been here for more than 24 hours. I will give it till later today and then move it to the creek in the back.

              I am worried about the barn cat who has no sense of self preservation and went right up to it the moment he saw it. He is getting tired of staying in the tack room but I am not about to let him out unsupervised!

              I really don't want a bunch of baby snappers hatching in the hay. Plus I had plans to clean up that hay barn today.

              There is so much wildlife around here I just never know what I am going to encounter next!

              Thanks for the help!


              • #8
                We had one when I was growing up at my barn. She would lay her eggs in the middle of our jumper ring and my trainer would just block that area off till the eggs hatched and the babies went back to the pond. We were told not to bother her or the area ever. No matter what. If we were found near that spot we had to rake the indoor by hand!!!! Needless to say none of us ever went near the blocked off area!!!!!


                • #9
                  Had a huge alligator turtle get in one of my stallion's stalls last year. I couldn't figure out what all the drama was with him blowing and snorting and not coming in to eat (stall connected to his paddock). I looked over the edge from the feed area and OMG! there was a really big one! I was afraid of it, big enough to be intimidating. Finally got it out with a metal rake or something. It came back from after that stayed gone. Turtles also carry salmonella, don't handle unless you must. I imagine their bite would carry a good bit of bacteria not to mention the kind of wound it could make as well as their claws.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by superD View Post
                    If we were found near that spot we had to rake the indoor by hand!!!!
                    Oh. My. God. That is the most hilariously wicked punishment ever.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by superD View Post
                      We had one when I was growing up at my barn. She would lay her eggs in the middle of our jumper ring and my trainer would just block that area off till the eggs hatched and the babies went back to the pond. We were told not to bother her or the area ever. No matter what. If we were found near that spot we had to rake the indoor by hand!!!! Needless to say none of us ever went near the blocked off area!!!!!
                      I think I like your trainer.


                      • #12
                        I agree with those who say leave it alone if you can stand it. My sister and I tried to get a HUGE snapper out of the middle of the road once. We felt bad just leaving it there to face certain smooshing. But after 30 mins of attempting to get it to move without getting our heads bitten off, we admitted failure. The thing didn't move an inch.

                        Good luck! Hopefully it will decide to move on soon.


                        • #13
                          I've moved a few that I've encountered around my neighborhood out of the road, but last year I pulled up in my driveway and saw my pony, Sammy, peering intently at something on the ground. Realized what it was and went sprinting into the pen with them, but before I could get there he'd put his nose down close to investigate. Luckily he's half-Arab, with a great spook when he needs it , or he'd have had his entire top lip shredded instead of just sustaining a little scratch on the nose. Needless to say, all three horses let Mr. Turtle go on his way after that.


                          • #14
                            Don't try to pick it up. The things can bite through the sole of a shoe. Their necks and limbs are longer than you expect, so there's no place on the shell where you are really safe from the jaws or nasty sharp claws. If you absolutely HAVE to move it, you might be able to get away with flipping the turtle onto its back and dragging it by its tail to a better location. Not nice for the turtle, and not 100% safe for you, but if you are lucky the turtle will be too disoriented to do you too much damage with its hind claws.


                            • #15
                              I love turtles! However, snappers can be quite aggressive if they feel threatened. We move them with a very large shovel, never with our hands.


                              • #16
                                Females snappers travel either to find a mate or nesting spot.
                                All North American reptiles are declining so please give her space and time to get where she is headed.


                                • #17
                                  They can jump too! I tried to move one off the road once, with a 6 foot plank I found in the ditch. That thing jumped at least 2 ft and grabbed the plank. Scared the bejeepers out of me. It hung on while I dragged it off the road, and was still attached to plank when I drove off. As far as I know my grandmother was right and it didn't let go until sundown.
                                  Ring the bells that still can ring
                                  Forget your perfect offering
                                  There is a crack in everything
                                  That's how the light gets in.


                                  • #18
                                    One of the roads I used to travel frequently seemed to have a "turtle crossing zone". Unfortunately the snappers tended to stop in the middle. And then some sicko might get jollies by deliberately hitting it. So I developed a couple of Snapper Removal Methods.

                                    They both rely on having a long stick like a shovel or broom handle. Sometimes I could just wedge the handle under the backside and scoot the turtle off the road. Worked with smaller turtles who werent really aggressive. More commonly they snap at your handle. So I would let it latch on and then drag it toward the side of the road. Might take a couple of times, but usually worked.

                                    A couple of times a young macho-man would stop and dart in to catch the tail. Tall guy could hold the turtle that way and gently fling it into the weeds at the side of the road. I wasnt gonna try that!


                                    • #19
                                      She won't try to live in your barn, nor will her babies. She's likely just looking for a spot soft enough to dig a hole for her eggs. She'll leave quickly once she;s through. When the babies hatch, they head for the nearest water right away. I'd just leave them be.

                                      I've moved a few off the roads. I use my snow brush to flip them onto their back, then shove them along to safety. Then flip them over. Always move them in the direction in which they were facing initially. Don't expect gratitude.
                                      My Equestrian Art Photography page


                                      • #20
                                        we had one lay eggs in the center of the local public riding ring ( nice soft bark chips, easy for turtle to dig in) and we marked the spot with cones and a sign. Don't know if the eggs ever hatched though. it was a sunny warm spot, so they should have. And there are plenty of turtles in the area.
                                        "The Threat of Internet Ignorance: ... we are witnessing the rise of an age of equestrian disinformation, one where a trusting public can graze on nonsense packaged to look like fact."-LRG-AF