Baby Snapping Turtle
Early this past Summer we had very heavy rains in central Virginia, USA, which caused unusual flooding. Nearby Moore’s Creek actually ran backwards for a while, jumped its high banks and became a lake.
I was walking a trail near the creek a week or so later, searching for flowers to photograph and looking at the strange new terrain after the flooding subsided. Because something else made me pause, I noticed this little baby snapping turtle on the trail. Near a rapidly diminishing puddle, I think he was stranded by the flood and couldn’t find his way back to the creek.
It has always been on my bucket list to see a snapping turtle in the wild, so I was thrilled about that to begin with. The absolute prehistoric presence of the turtle immediately impressed me. And this is probably the largest I would want to encounter anyway, since the adults are huge and have EXTREMELY intimidating biting skills!
As you can see by the bike tire tracks (there are also lots of dogs on the trail), it is amazing the little turtle survived that long! However, he was immobile and there were one or two flies on him, never a good sign. I didn’t have my phone so couldn’t research the best place to move him to, so I just put him in a bag and took him back to the creek. I put him about 8" from the water, near boulders, and under a stick for protection.
After moving him, I was even more sure that he was a goner. He had not moved much at all even being handled and put down, and there were still flies. He was not moving at all. I didn’t like thinking of him just slowly dying, but I’d helped and protected him as best I could. I went over to look at something else for few seconds, and when I returned, I was shocked and pleasantly surprised to see that he was gone with no trace! I hope he made it.