How in the world did this little guy get all the waaaaaaaay up the hill, between the pool and the house? Quite the trek for a 5″ baby!
This is a common snapping turtle, starting on his second season. And guess what? Even with all the prehistoric defences, they pee on you when they’re scared.
Wish I could have gotten a picture of him more emerged from his shell. So cool–the overlapping armor on the legs, the spikes on the tail, the sharp claws, the maw of it’s beak! Gotta watch your fingers with these guys–that beak, striking with the speed of a rattlesnake and with some serious power behind it–can do some major damage. A medium-sized snapper would have no problem taking off a finger or two if it were threatened. Generally, they’re shy and would rather not encounter a human, but they will protect themselves.
Snappers are slow-movers on land but great in the water. Omnivorous, they eat fish and other aquatic animals, and also all sorts of greens. Clutches number about 20 eggs, and lifespan in the wild can go into the 30’s.
Dad put this little guy in a bucket with a little water (figured he might be thirsty) and released him out in the wilderness, off the property.
Wikipedia says these don’t make good pets. (Gee, really?) To learn more about snappers, here’s a link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Snapping_Turtle