Does it feel like everywhere you go lately you are either hearing about or seeing a turtle. It is turtle time in the Hudson Valley. They are crossing just about every roadway in every county it seems. If you travel roads that have water near them chances are over the last few weeks you have had to swerve to miss one.

There are many species of turtle in New York and right now just about all of them are on the move. They have woken from there winter nap and are heading out. They are in search of a mate, a nest and some food. Some turtles are small and harmless other can be dangerous. Before you attempt to help a turtle cross a road make sure you do some turtle research.

Picking up turtles can be a bad idea for a number of reason but one to keep in mind is they can carry germs on their skin and shells that can make people very sick. According to the FDA even pet turtles can have Salmonella. And if it is a snapping turtle it is best to just let it be. Tufts Wildlife Clinic offers some advice if you come across a snapper on how to pick it up. They of course offer this advice in an effort to help a snapper not play with one.

Emily Churchill

So what is so special about a Snapping Turtle?

1 - They are omnivores, they eat both plants and animals. They also dine on dead organisms. That might account for all the germs they carry.

2 - They bury themselves in mud up to their nostrils to wait for an inspecting meal.

3 - They are one of the Largest Turtles in North America

4 - They live to be about 30 to 40 years old. Although recently their is one that has been discovered that maybe be twice that age.

5 - They live in water mostly and usually swim away from people.

6 - Their confrontational behavior can often be more of a defense. They snap at anything threatening. Their bite is capable of snapping off your finger so keeping a distance is a good plan

7 - And finally and probably the most unknown fact about the snapping turtle is that it is the Official Reptile of New York State.

Now before you go thinking I made all this up including number 7, let me state that I found all these facts and more on the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's page about snapping turtles. 

Common Snapping Turtle

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