Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Snapper Butt

I know of a couple people who are probably sure that I’ve run out of things to talk about. Why else would I be featuring a photo of a snapping turtle’s butt? There is a point to this shot that I’ll get to momentarily, but as a sidelight to the main topic, I have to point out how much this looks like the back end of a dinosaur. I can just imagine the bony plates of a stegosaurus out ahead of that tail. Occasionally, I just have to indulge my childhood passion for dinosaurs.

Turtles wandering through the yard always warrant attention. A snapping turtle on land doesn’t have the maneuverability that it enjoys in the water, so it does what it can to make its position more defensible when confronted with a threat. One strategy used by snappers is the defensive posture.

Defensive posture is a behavior employed by many animals. To scare away a threat, they position their body parts in such as way that they look larger than they are. Extending the hind legs to their fullest, pushes the rear of the shell up so an approaching predator sees a larger image.

This might also direct an attack to the raised portion of the shell and protect the head. I’ve seen monster snappers hold themselves up on all four legs and that image seems enough to scare off even the most determined attacker. A smaller snapper, such as this one, would probably just look like it was offering itself up for sacrifice if it raised its entire body.

When I had finished scaring the snapper, I moved it to a marshy area below the pond dam. Hopefully it’ll move on and find some permanent body of water in which to live. If it tried to stay in the pond, it would just find itself without water by August and would have to trek through the summer heat in search of another place to live.


  1. My first thought when I saw this snapper butt was about a dinosaur too! Such a monster creature really.

  2. very cool...if i'm not mistaken stegosaurus also had a beakish nose..kinda like your snapper..makes you wonder? or a mini ankylosaurus with a smooth plate sans club perhaps:)

  3. It is somewhat monstrous, Alexandra. If Snapping Turtles were more active, they would have made a great addition to the cast of those 1960's dinosaur movies.

    I can picure that, Michael. The amazing thing is that there were turtles pretty much the same as this running around with the dinosaurs millions of years ago.

  4. yes that was the "wonder?" part of my reply..most scholars claim that, to have survived the asteroid impacts , you had to be small, and yet we have alligators, coelacanths and your snapper all basically unchanged and even surviving another mass extinction event in the loss of the mega fauna period as well, its all still very puzzling???

  5. Hi Steve...I never wonder about your lack of things to talk will always find something very interesting to go with, and I have not been bored yet...maybe a little worried at times about you burning towels and falling of JR.. LOL
    Mr. Snapper is a historic looking fellow and I would surely prefer being at his butt end then his front!!
    Watch out for those fingers!!

  6. Hi, Alexandra. If snapping turtles were more active, they would have made great dinosaur cast members in the early 1960's monster films.

    Michael - Your comments and my replies were lost during the blogger problems. I just wanted you to know that I did get a chance to read them.