We often get calls about injured animals, animals that have fallen into the lake spillway, and animals that are in need of help. This year has been a very busy year, we have had to save ducklings, turtles, birds, and more. Sometimes it is unfortunate but there is little we can do. We use a general rule, if the injury is caused by humans, such as hit by a car or trapped in fishing line, we intervene. If it is natural causes, like a broken wing or deformity, we unfortunately have to let nature be natural. This is a struggle for us when even we ourselves are a little anthropomorphic about the situation, but it is a reality we are forced to accept.
Recently we had a call that there was an Alligator Snapping turtle in the roadway. Immediately I was a little suspicious. Keep in mind herpetology was my dream as a young boy, and I am very used to the mis-identification of wildlife that occurs, especially in reptiles and amphibians. When we arrived on site it was very clear it was just a common snapping turtle, Chelydra serpentina serpentina.
Common Snapping turtles are very similar to Alligator Snapping turtles The live in the same conditions, and live very similar lives, and have many like characteristics. One being their young. The hatch-lings of both species are so similar even a trained eye will have a hard time distinguishing the two.
Alligator Snapping turtles (Macrochelys temminckii) sadly, are now protected in Missouri. Invasive species, over hunting, and habitat loss are an unfortunate reality for such a beautiful species.
The weather is beautiful these days, so I hope you all get a chance to get outside and enjoy it with us. See you outside!