Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Yertle or Myrtle?

When you have a farm pond you never know what type of visitors it will attract. This snapping turtle was in the windbreak heading toward the pond when Jim saw it and called me from the road. I took my camera out there in the rain to get some shots of it. It's the biggest one I've ever seen up close. The shell is a foot in diameter. I don't know if it's a male or female. How do you tell?

I'm not concerned about having a snapping turtle in the pond. In fact, I'm sure there are already some living in there. For all I know this one could be a resident turtle that's come out of the pond to forage for greens. I know they eat fish too but the pond has an abundance of fish in it. I'd be happy to provide a supportive habitat for a turtle of this age. There will be no talk of soup either, thank you.

So please join me in welcoming Myrtle...or Yertle.

***UPDATE*** About an hour after I took these photos I watched as big Myrtle lumbered into the pond, one step at a time. I wonder what she thinks of our pond?


  1. Wow! That's a BIG one! We used to have snapping turtles in the drainage ditch behind our backyard in Baton Rouge. We saw one lay eggs once. That was really neat!

    So, is Yertle the son of Yert? :)

  2. When our kids were much younger, they found a snapper trying to cross the road. Brought him home, and we had him (or her) in a large stock tank for a couple of years. Kept it warm in the winter with an electric something or other that normally would be used for a bird bath. When we moved to the farm 7 years ago, Fatty came with us. We released him in our pond, and he never looked back. We have not seen him since!

  3. Thank you, thank you. Whenever most people speak of a snapping turtle it is in the negative sense. I love all critters and feel they all have an important purpose in this world. Must be a Yertle, I would think a Myrtle would have a better manicure. :-)

    Where have you been? You have blogged much.

  4. Nickie, Indeed! It's good to see big turtles looking so healthy and strong around here.

    Susan, just this weekend I rescued another snapper half this size from the road. We were coming back from town and it was trying to cross the road. I tossed it into the ditch. I'm not sure if Yertle is the son of Yert. I'll have to ask! LOL

    Cyn, odd you mentioned your pet turtle. I had a pet painted turtle when I was a kid (named Jeremy). I released him before winter and I never saw him again either.

    Joanna, you're welcome. I've never met a turtle I didn't like. A friend of mine from work goes out of his way to keep these guys off the roads during breeding season. He talks about the really big ones he finds. Honestly, a snapper won't bother you if you don't bother him and we have yet to lose any fingers or toes whilst swimming in the pond.

    I have been outside a lot lately since the weather has warmed up. I'm occupied with raising the peeps (a month old this Friday) and checking on the 200+ trees I planted last spring. I've got 16 more trees coming this year and I'll be planting them as soon as they arrive. So I'm a busy little bee right now! LOL

  5. That sure is a big one! We seen a small one yesterday by the side of a creek close by our house. It was only the size of a golf ball if that! Tiny little baby. That was the smallest soft shell turtle I have ever seen. I have seen some really big ones around here.

    The way to tell if a turtle is male or female is to look at their shell. If the bottom of the shell is curved or arched then it is a male. If the bottom of the shell is flat than it is a female. I seen that on tv awhile back! hehehe

    I love it when I see God's critters! It makes me happy!


  6. Angela, in that case I think we definitely have a Myrtle. The back of the shell was very flat, more like a sea turtle. We found a baby snapper the first year we moved in. It was out in the yard. We thought that if we were finding babies in the yard then we more than likely had adults living in the pond.

  7. We have two ponds and LOVE the activity. For several years after we moved here, we had a moss-covered snapping turtle. 'Teddy' would stick his head and tail up in the pond whenever he saw the fish heading over to us for pond chow, and then he'd come, too. He ate with the fish and was so sweet. What a sad day when our daughter found him floating upside down.

    Have fun with Myrtle!


  8. Lucy, Teddy must have been fun to have around. To have a wild animal so comfortable sharing space with us is a real treat.

  9. OMG, great pics. In 2 + years I have only seen one tuurtle headed to the pond and it too was HUGE. When I returned it was not there. Glad to see you took a good shoot, put a smile across my face. Thanks for sharing Amy!

  10. Amy, She is the cutest snapping turtle! Welcome Myrtle! Jess

  11. More education today - now, if we dare to turn a snapper upside down, we can tell if its a boy or a girl....I don't think I will be flipping snappers anytime soon!

  12. I soooo wish I had a pond, when I read about the ducks and turtles. I have no clue how you tell a male from a female with turtles, but I so agree with ClassyChassy, "no flipping snappers over."

  13. Mr. C caught a snapping turtle with his fishing pole once.

    I'm not sure about snapping turtles, but other turtles you can tell if it's male or female by the back claws. Males have larger back claws. (To climb on the females back and mate)

  14. Neat pictures, Amy! We have turtles around here quite often, and just kind of look at them from a distance. My dad used to make what we're "not going to mention" :)


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