The Turtle in Our Hedge

A baby snapping turtle.

It’s a snapping turtle, which is not great, as they are mean and also can take off your finger (or a chunk of a pet’s nose) if they feel like it. However, it’s currently the size of a half-dollar coin, which lessens the danger somewhat. It was on our walk as I took this photo, and after I snapped a few shots retreated to the hedge just out of frame.

I don’t expect it will stay in the hedge for any period of time; that’s not the species’ usual habitat. But it’s there at the moment. Why? Who can say? Snapping turtles do show up in the yard from time to time, because there are both a pond and a creek nearby. I expect this little turtle will find its way to one or the other.

Until then: Look, a turtle in the hedge.

— JS

25 Comments on “The Turtle in Our Hedge”

  1. Rawrr! Fear me puny humans! I am a snapping turtle with a very bad attitude! No mess!

  2. It would not have been a bad idea to move it to the nearest pond or stream. They’re very vulnerable when they’re that size. Head-starting one isn’t undue interference with the Workings of Nature.

  3. Snapping turtles may be jerks, but I can’t really blame them. I mean think about having to spend entire life crawling around among stinky weeds and bugs and shit.

    Okay, if one bit my finger off I might feel differently. But for now, I’ll give them a break.

  4. Mama crawled to a spot nearby and laid her eggs. Now they’re hatching, and the little ones are working their way back to the water.

    The timing is unusual, hereabouts I see the babies in September. (Mass.)

  5. That is a cutie. Hasn’t grown those massive jaws yet, or at least you didn’t photograph it from the correct angle :)

    Since it doesn’t have the Jaws of Say Goodbye to Your Fingers, how do you know it’s a snapping turtle? Is that the only kind in your neighborhood?

  6. The Turtle In the Hedge sounds like the title of a middle grade novel.

  7. We get some big snappers in the yard from time to time. More often, I’m jumping out of the car Steve Irwin-like to save one from the country roads. They are mean, and they never appreciate that I’m trying to help. But they’re kinda cute in their own way and I love em!

  8. The reason it’s there: it just hatched. The nest was probably buried somewhere around the edge of your house. Nests buried in the autumn can be dormant through the winter and then begin to develop when spring begins to warm things up. Also, if the eggs hatched, the young will remain underground until, again, spring warms things up enough.

  9. “size of a half-dollar coin”

    When did you last see a half-dollar coin in the wild? For me it’s been years. I’ll wager that a good portion of the young’uns have no idea how large a half-dollar coin is.

  10. Saw a huge one booking it across the road a few days ago while walking the dog. Said dog was VERY interested in the funny looking thing crossing the road. I told him it was not nearly as interesting as he thought, and it would not make a very good friend. I am not sure he believed me.

  11. Years back when I lived in Lexington, KY, we had a garden on our back property line. The property line was a creek, One day, while I was harvesting from the 50 Roma tomato plants (that I had no idea would give a bushel a day), in my flip flops, I discovered a rather large snapper who decided to take a nap under one of the plants. We scooped it up in a shovel and put it back in the creek. They sure do make a loud noise when trying to bite a shovel. However, the next day it was back in the tomatoes, I was again in my flip flops, and so we scooped it up, put it in a 5 gallon bucket, and drove 10 miles to the Kentucky River. No more snapping turtle. Where I am now in Huntsville, AL, I don’t see any snappers in my garden, since I live miles from any creeks/ponds, but I do occasionally see a box turtle. My toes are safe.

  12. You are so lucky, we have no interesting wildlife at all in my country. Just cows and sheep. I would love little reptiles, cranky or not.

  13. The turtle moves!

    And of course it’s cranky. It’s a fierce dinosaur! Ruler of the earth! You should quail before its might!

  14. When I was a child, my father was called upon by a family friend to get rid of a snapping turtle from her fishing pond. When he brought it home, he gave me and my brothers a demonstration of the power of the jaws by having it chomp down on a 2×4 and watch it snap in two. Since it would be made into turtle soup by my mother, he beheaded it and hung the body to drain and pointed out how the legs were still moving. The jaws were still snapping on the severed head. I’ve never forgotten the experience.

  15. It’s cute. I started loving turtles since I had been reading a martial arts fantasy book series by Kylie Chan. My aunt one time saved a huge turtle and we kept it in the backyard for a short time.

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