Since the last post I did about black snakes crossing the road got such a nice response, here’s one on northern and eastern snapping turtles (I live up north, and have no experience with alligator snapping turtles)
Snapping turtles like to go traveling from pond to pond to stake out new territory, especially in spring and early summer. In order to do this, they have to trudge across fields and roads with their stubby little fat turtle legs. As a terror of the deep, snapping turtles are very clumsy and embarrassing on land.
Like black snakes, snapping turtles will often times take a break in a road to absorb the warmth of the asphalt and to take a break (walking when you’re a snapping turtle is exhausting) You will usually see snapping turltes crossing the road on rainy days, or just after a big rain.
If you see one in the road, it will probably freeze and hope you don’t see it. Snapping turtles will usually hide in their shells as a first reaction to people coming up to them.
If you want to move them, there are a lot of ways you can try, here is a fantastic video on how to! The turtle by the end of this video has definitely had enough of this guy’s shit, but it’s still a great resource in how to help these animals safely cross the road.
Make sure you keep away from their mouth! Snapping turtles have a surprisingly wide bitey range, so be careful! If you don’t know much about turtle behavior, try one of the simpler methods of moving them out of the road like the car mat or just scooting it across. The safest place to hold onto them is the part of the shell above their back legs.
Snapping turtles are stinky, messy, and a bit scary, but they’re usually only cranky on land because they feel very vulnerable. They’re a very important animal for our lakes, rivers, and ponds; they eat fish, carrion, and can live for 50 or more years, assuming they don’t get hit by a careless car.