I've read several articles, one witness saying he saw a snapping turtle eating live ducklings and ducks, an expert saying they would never do that, and back and forth about whether this new monster will kill my goldfish.
It's a small pond, maybe 20-25 feet by 35-50 feet and a big snapper, shell over a foot across.
I thought I had persuaded it to stay away, but turned around and found it up in my pond (a good hike up from the creek)
These fish have been with me several years and I am attached to them, but also don't want to needlessly kill something that might actually be beneficial.
what is the general wisdom about eating habits of snappers?
Get rid of the logger head. One this year will be 5+ next year.
Yes they'll eat baby ducks, heck they eat full grown ducks. They grab them by the feet and drown them, so they can eat on them at their leisure.
Yep they eat fish too. One snapping turtle might not do much in terms of overall fish population BUT that turtle is competing with you. These wandering turtles are looking for mates or are looking for new areas to lay their eggs. So as one might not do much noticeable damage after a few years of breeding a few dozen will screw a smaller pond up.
Better to nip a turtle problem in the bud as soon as possible before it gets out of hand.
Many North American turtle populations are in decline, and removing an adult animal can have a big impact (populations can handle a lot of juvenile mortality, but require VERY high adult survival between years to stay stable). So, I'd implore you to consider finding a nearby location (ideally within 1/4-1/2 mile) to release the turt. (Because yes, they will definitely eat fish/ducks!)
Why do people build perfect habitat for wildlife and then get upset when they show up? Snapping turtles do eat fish but they can't catch as many as people think they can. They also eat crayfish which can undermine your dams, they prey on muskrats which will truly destroy a dam. And the fun thing about predators, they don't overpopulate unless there is an overabundance of prey. What about the herons? They eat fish, should they be killed as well? If it is really bothering you, catch it and put it someplace farther away. We only kill animals which are directly impacting things that we are needing to live ourselves, squash bugs, bean beetles, etc. Raccoons that get after the chickens. Even the bears are "educated" to leave us alone. I have always believed that one of the goals of permaculture is not to change the world to make it perfect just for humans, but to improve it in total and leave some room for the wildlife.
Snapping turtles? Make sure to protect your ding-a-ling.
"The rule of no realm is mine. But all worthy things that are in peril as the world now stands, these are my care. And for my part, I shall not wholly fail in my task if anything that passes through this night can still grow fairer or bear fruit and flower again in days to come. For I too am a steward. Did you not know?" Gandolf
If you do try to catch or kill it, be aware that they earned their name. If you have never seen one snap, you'll be surprised by how far they can reach when they stick their neck out, or how fast they can strike. I think a bite on the hand would do some real damage.
They taste good. Not fun to clean. I'd probably relocate it miles away.
I suppose I should update, the pond is smallish, and the snapping turtle biggish. While I understand and agree in general with the live and let live policies, conservation etc.it had to go.
Snapping turtles in my fish pond are like raccoons in the chicken coop. They may be scarce in some places, but not here
I harassed it a lot the day I wrote the post, threw rocks at it trying to sun itself, basically kept it under water the whole day- or at least large parts of morning and afternoon, it would just stick the tip of it's nose out of the water for a half minute or so, then back under for 5-10 minutes. I sat there with my 22 thinking about it, but ended up just watching that first day, sort of waiting for replies to my posts
The next day it seemed gone, the water started to clear up and I started feeding the fish again
Out of 6 of the bigger fish about three or four seem to have survived, heaven knows how many of the smaller ones are gone. Next time I get sight of him I'm going to cut down one of the pine trees and let it lay in the water as a hiding place for the fish, and contemplate a trap of some kind. I'm also giving some thought to possible barricades, but not sure how good that would do.
Maybe in the meantime I can find someone who likes turtle soup, but I think the problem with cleaning them is enough to dampen most people's enthusiasm.
thanks for the input
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