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Every now and then Nature ...
Old 05-26-2016, 09:00 PM   #1
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Every now and then Nature ...

I was just a kid from Queens when we moved to Suffolk county; Up to that point my idea of nature was a mosquito bite. It was a time when flounder in the bay and sound were as thick as leaves on the forest floor. We didn't own a proper fishing pole for quite some while but it didn't stop us from falling in love with fishing. I don't remember exactly where we acquired the old salt water rod and reel. It was clunky but it was what we had.

I remember one trip in particular My late brother Bruce and I got up early and went to Miller's pond. I would catch some shiners on dough balls, cut the shiners in half put them on a bigger hook, carefully lay out about 15 yards of line on the ground before me and use my hand and arms to lob the bait out into the pond. Our quarry was catfish. My first bite of the day and I immediately knew something was different when the 'fish' took the bait. My line was some ancient linen like material made for big saltwater fish but this day it would be tested. I pulled and the critter on the other end pulled back As hard as I did. At some point in the tug of war my brother got his arms around me and another kid joined in. I was being pulled close to the water.
We could see quite a commotion in the water when we saw the Goliath snapping turtle. My god his body was easily as big as a wheel barrow (brother Bruce would say VW) and that head ... Sweet Moses. Well thankfully it bit through the line. We fell back onto the floor. Later I learned alligator snappers can grow to 220lbs and live to be 100 years old... amazing animals.

I looked out the widow after 7 tonight and there, much to my amazement, was a snapping turtle headed for my front lawn. There is a creek down the lane about a quarter mile away in the direction mini jaws was heading. My son and I gave him a ride in a 5 gal bucket to the creek, he just fit. While he was no giant he was quite strong - we were careful to avoid that mouth.

I remember reading that snappers migrate... This is the second time I've rescued one from the road.

It took me back in time I've got a soft spot for those ugly beasts. Hey Bruce if your listening remember that snapping turtle?




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Old 05-27-2016, 12:55 PM   #2
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Good story, thanks for sharing that.

DD had a run in with one on our driveway while waiting for the bus two days ago. She was careful to steer clear but snapped some pretty impressive photos with her iPod camera. I was surprised because we haven't seen any around here for a few years.

I've never seen one of the variety you wrote about though, they sound massive.
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Old 05-27-2016, 02:03 PM   #3
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Almost lost a toe to a snapper as a kid while wading in a golf course pond trying to hustle balls.
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Every now and then Nature ...
Old 05-28-2016, 08:29 AM   #4
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Every now and then Nature ...

If it is a sign I'm not sure what it means but the next day I found a green and yellow box turtle on the driveway... I put him in the woods ...if he goes down hill he will find a nice creek...


We've seen snakes galore, toad, fox, deer, turkey.. these are our first turtles...

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Old 05-28-2016, 08:35 AM   #5
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Thanks for the story. When we lived on the North Shore of Long Island, we found a snapping turtle in our laundry room that had a door to the outside. It must've crawled up from the water. The guy was absolutely ferocious ... at least at ferocious as a little 3 inch baby snapping turtle can be.
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Old 05-28-2016, 08:53 AM   #6
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We release newborn turtles into the ocean, and their flippers are amazingly strong!
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Old 05-28-2016, 08:54 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by rayinpenn View Post
...........I remember reading that snappers migrate... This is the second time I've rescued one from the road............
I've lived next to a creek for 25 years. Over the years, I've seen many snappers plodding down the creek. They stop at an adjacent pond, including mine, and eat everything they can catch, then move on. Mink will do the same thing.

One day you have a pond full of nice fish, then they are all gone.

Edit, just checked, there is a snapper in the pond now - about 12" in diameter.
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Old 05-28-2016, 09:09 AM   #8
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Hey Ray. I grew up in Manhattan and my grandma lived in the country - Queens NY ! And then I moved to Westchester county and had deer in the yard. Talk about country living. Now I'm in Pinellas county in Florida and have more wildlife than I ever imaged .... including a bobcat !

Your story touched me. We used to go crabbing for blue claws on the sound with a piece of wire strung through a chicken neck and attached to a piece of rope. Simple, but effective. We were poor but happy with a simple roof over our heads and food in our bellies, and not much more. Its one of the reasons I knew I could ER .... I know that money doesn't buy happiness.

Thank you for sharing your story. May your brother have eternal rest.
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Old 05-28-2016, 09:12 AM   #9
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I see female turtles this time of year (snapping turtles included) heading to high ground to lay eggs. Sometimes hundreds of yards from water. I stopped on my bike ride several days ago to assist one across a busy road.

There's a good chance your turtle will be back. If you search closely, you can find the spot where she dug the nest to lay her eggs.
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Old 05-28-2016, 09:45 AM   #10
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Had a lot of experience with snappers but only the common one, never seen a alligator snapper. Aren't they protected?

Yes they migrate, maybe box turtles do too? I always see both types crossing roads in the spring.

When we moved to our Green Acres home twenty years ago the snappers were out of control. The place had three stocked ponds and they were eating my fish, lots of the fish. The state wouldn't help so how do you control turtle population? A turtle trap, yes there is such a thing. Like most traps one way in but no way out. Great now I have a big snapper in a wire trap and he's PO'ed, really PO'ed. Can't get him out cause he'll remove digits, oh the traps directions don't cover that part. Well Missouri ingenuity takes over, he needs kilt! So my trusty Ruger MKII(22 pistol) has a job. Of course there's still the trap between the gun and the turtle, no problem I'll shoot between the wires! (no alcohol was involved in that dumb a $$ decision) I squeeze the trigger, Bang, bing, and a hot burning pain in my right leg! Huh what the heck, I'm shot! Well the projectile hit a part of the trap and a small piece of the lead has ricochet off the trap and hit my thigh. Never pierced the skin but it's very unpleasant but obviously better than the first panicked thoughts.

So now what? I was brought up to eat whatever I harvested. It was a gift from nature. How do you eat a big a $$ snapper? Turtle soup, that's the answer. DW wants nothing to do with the culinary challenge of fresh turtle soup. That part wasn't too bad, except I had to teach myself turtle anatomy(Jason like details omitted). We ate a lot of turtle soup that year. Later that year I decided that the turtles could have some of the fish.
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Old 05-28-2016, 10:07 AM   #11
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Our first house was in Ridgefield, CT and we lived near a pond. Each year, there would be baby swans born, and after a few weeks the baby's would disappear. Finally, we figured out what was doing it, too many snapping turtles. Those turtles are prehistoric looking and maybe they are.
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Old 05-28-2016, 12:41 PM   #12
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....... he needs kilt! ........
The way to kill a snapper is to poke it until it latches onto a stick, then extend the neck and chop off the head. The removed head will still bite you, so don't mess with it.
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Old 05-28-2016, 02:45 PM   #13
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The way to kill a snapper is to poke it until it latches onto a stick, then extend the neck and chop off the head. The removed head will still bite you, so don't mess with it.
Thanks. That makes sense. This was in a trap, couldn't get close to it. Well in all fairness I could have by sticking my hand in the trap.
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Old 05-28-2016, 04:13 PM   #14
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Thanks. That makes sense. This was in a trap, couldn't get close to it. Well in all fairness I could have by sticking my hand in the trap.
You know ya just wanted to use your gun.
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Old 05-29-2016, 05:21 PM   #15
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I'm loving these stories...
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Old 05-30-2016, 08:54 AM   #16
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The way to kill a snapper is to poke it until it latches onto a stick, then extend the neck and chop off the head. The removed head will still bite you, so don't mess with it.
I can remember as a kid being at a driving range hitting golf balls and a snapper came along the path behind the tee mats, and the range owner got it to bite down in the middle of a broom handle, and then he and a helper carried it off as it was firmly latched to the broom handle. I didn't see what they did with it, but maybe it got guillotined.
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Old 05-30-2016, 11:18 AM   #17
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.......... I didn't see what they did with it, but maybe it got guillotined.
Probably gave it a stern lecture about trespassing and sent it on its way.
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Old 06-02-2016, 12:07 AM   #18
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The OP has a story of a fond memory involving a snapping turtle and states they are amazing animals and that they have a soft spot for them. They then go out of their way to make sure a couple turtles are safe by relocating them.

In response to this some folks have the need to share their stories of chopping off their heads and shooting them. Nice job guys!
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Old 06-02-2016, 05:09 AM   #19
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Use a big stick. I remember using a branch to "test" a good-sized turtle to see if it was a snapper (I wanted to wade the brook it was guarding) and it snapped that branch right in two. Also,the head came out incredibly fast. I wish I had those reflexes.

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The way to kill a snapper is to poke it until it latches onto a stick, then extend the neck and chop off the head. The removed head will still bite you, so don't mess with it.
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Old 06-02-2016, 05:12 AM   #20
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Quote:
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I can remember as a kid being at a driving range hitting golf balls and a snapper came along the path behind the tee mats, and the range owner got it to bite down in the middle of a broom handle, and then he and a helper carried it off as it was firmly latched to the broom handle. I didn't see what they did with it, but maybe it got guillotined.
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