You may be surprised to find out that turtles, especially snapping turtles, are essential for our human health.
Dear Lake-land owner,
Here are a few surprising facts about snapping turtles that you must know before you take any action against these creatures:
- If you remove turtles, especially snapping turtles from your lake, you can expect to eventually succumb to some unpleasant illnesses or issues such as jock-itch! This is because turtles, but especially snapping turtles, are the creatures in water that can be considered the best at cleaning the water: They remove dead and decaying bodies of fishes, frogs, and other creatures from the lake. They are like turkey-vultures of the lake. Without turtles in your lake, the bacteria levels will increase
- Because turtles prefer dead smelly or fishy meals, you do not smell attractive at all to turtles. They have little interest in biting you, eating you or harming you when they are in the water. We have heard of a few stories of people dangling feet over docks or kicking turtle when swimming, and have heard of a few cases where turtles may then snap at the person, but snapping turtles, while giving a sharp bite CANNOT BITE OFF A DIGIT! This is because snapping turtles in Canada do not have enough strength in their jaws to break through bone or even ligaments. Alligator snapping turtles int eh southern United States grow extremely large and may exert enough pressure, but not those in Canada.
- In fact, snapping turtles especially are actually gentle, shy but also curious creatures when they are in the water. This is because here, they are top predators and can swim very well. Here, they have nothing to fear and they are not vulnerable. In fact, we have heard of and witnessed many individuals swimming next to, standing on, and even petting a snapping turtle in the water and they were not startled or defensive at all.
While we do NOT CONDONE FEEDING Turtles, we have linked to this video (one of many that show how gentle the turtles are and that their bite cannot really cause harm:
- Snapping turtles snap on land because they are the only turtles that do not have a plastron (an under-carriage) and therefore they cannot hide or tuck in like other turtles. Therefore the only way they can protect themselves while on the land is to snap.
- Snapping turtles are a protected species. This is because they are a species at risk. Harming a snapping turtle has carried large fine of up to $25,000
- Snapping turtles, like other turtles, live for more than 100 years and in fact there is evidence that they can live more than 400 years. They need to live a long time because it takes more than 60 years on average for a turtle to replace itself- Less than 1% of turtle eggs survive and make it to adulthood. Adult turtles are the most important members of a population because there are fewer natural threats to them. Adults therefore can help sustain populations by recruiting many more offspring in their lifetime. However, because of human fear and predation, pet trades and now more than ever, road traffic, turtle populations are declining rapidly and may never rebound. This means the health of our lakes and our drinking water is also at risk.
- Turtles are sacred creatures. They are as old as the dinosaurs. It is said that turtles were around when God created the world, and they witnessed all of Creation. Turtles are a symbol of Truth. The earth was created on the turtle's back and is referred to as Turtle Island. Each turtle has 13 scutes (triangles) on its shell representing the 13 moons in each year. Each turtle has 28 ridges around its shell, representing the 28 days between moons.
Everyone has a turtle story.
Save our turtles. Think twice before you harm our environment.