Dr. Chloe Wilde is our wildlife biologist. She studied ecology at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Her favorite topic of study is conservation. Dr. Wilde is passionate about learning about and teaching others about how they can help wild cat populations, including reducing their use of products with palm oil in them. Though Carolina Tiger Rescue does not have any, Dr. Wilde’s favorite animal to study is the clouded leopard.
Dr. Wilde’s Blog 5/24/19
As you probably know by now, I love finding new animals in the sanctuary. I found another native species today! I was heading back to visit Fenimore and Emerson Tiger at their off tour enclosure when I spotted a snapping turtle on the path!
This is a common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina). The species name, serpentina, comes from the Latin word for snake and refers to the turtle’s long neck. They are native to much of the United States, which means that they normally and naturally live and thrive in those states. The snapping turtle is the largest freshwater turtle in North Carolina, and it is New York’s state reptile.
Snapping turtles are omnivores; they eat fish, other reptiles, birds, aquatic vegetation (water plants), and even mammals. A female snapping turtle can lay as many as 80 eggs. A hatchling, or baby snapping turtle, is only about 1.2 inches long but an adult can be as long as 14 inches and as heavy as 35 pounds. They grow to be mighty animals!
Snapping turtles are defensive and will bite if provoked. They have very strong jaws and flexible necks and will use them for protection. Knowing this, I snapped (get it?) a picture as I passed this turtle but I did not stick around because I did not want to disturb him or her. We do the same thing with our sanctuary residents. If one of our animals shows any sign that they do not want us around, we will move on past them. We do not want to stress them out. This is their home and I would not want to be bothered at my home either! They deserve to have a peaceful life and I wanted to give this turtle the same treatment. If you are around an animal and they seem disturbed by your presence, I hope that you will also let them be.