Out of the water, it’s easy to identify a Snapping Turtle. The back of the shell is always camouflaged by algae or some other unsightly mess that allows the turtle to sit inconspicuously on the bottom of a pond or river.
The eyes catch even the slightest movement. The tiny turtle brain has a limited number of programmed responses. If something moves, you bite it. If it happens to be food, you eat it. If it is danger, you scare it away. It’s a one bite fits all occasions situation.
I’ve always thought the Snapping Turtle shell was poorly designed. The upper shell looks much too large to house the snapper head, while the legs can’t even be fully withdrawn. The design has proven itself over millions of years, so I guess it’s this way for a purpose.
The lower shell leaves much unprotected, but the turtle isn’t normally found in this position. Even if something were to attack the lower side, that hide is about as tough as any animal produces.
I’m wondering if this is responsible for the sudden absence of Wood Frog eggs. Could that be a frog egg stain in the turtle’s mouth? I’ve seen Raccoons pull frog eggs onto the bank and consume them, but they usually leave a jelly mess behind. I don’t think those eggs ever left the water.
Jaws and claws are the Snapping Turtle’s dining tools. Anything too large to swallow is ripped apart by the sharp claws and strong front legs.