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Handling Snapping Turtles, Chelydra serpentina, and Other Large Turtles

Frank Indiviglio Grasping Large Alligator Snapping Turtle

Snapping turtles bite viciously in self defense and when striking at food – in fact, the species’ name, “serpentina”, refers to the long neck and lightening-fast strike.

I have worked with a number of quite calm captives that showed no propensity for biting, but all are capable, and feeding accidents are always a possibility. Never put your hands in the vicinity of a snapper’s head, even for a moment – believe me, you will not be able to avoid the strike! The injuries resulting from a bite can be severe or even disabling. This is a species to observe, not handle.

Nesting female snapping turtles are sometimes encountered on roads. When helping in this situation, use the technique described below, and always move the animal in its intended direction of travel.

Small turtles can be lifted by grasping the rear of the carapace (upper shell). Larger animals will use their powerful rear legs to dislodge your hands if you attempt to do this. Be aware also that the long neck can reach almost to the very rear of the carapace (upper shell).

To lift a large snapper, approach it from the rear and slide your hand along the carapace until you reach the edge, just above the head. This looks dangerous, and the turtle’s head will be pressed against your fingers, but it will not be able to bite you. Support the rear of the turtle with your other hand. Do not lift snappers by their tails, as is often done – this will cause severe injuries to the spine and internal organs. The accompanying photo shows me grasping a large alligator snapping turtle in a safe manner. Prior to lifting the turtle (quite a chore as this old fellow weighs 206 pounds!) I will slide my hand over a bit so as to center it directly above the head.

I have used this method to move scores of large, aggressive turtles of many species – alligator snappers, Malaysian river turtles (Batagur baska), Nile soft-shelled turtles and others. Soft-shelled turtles do not offer much in the way of space at the edge of the carapace – practice with other species is required before tackling one of these ill-tempered fellows.

Please forward your own thoughts and experiences. Thanks, until next time, Frank.

43 comments

  1. avatar

    My Common Snapper looked like it was pushing it’s insides from it’s anal area, when it noticed me watching it retracted it. What was that! and should I be worried?

  2. avatar

    Hello Shawn, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog.

    What you’ve observed is undoubtedly the male sexual organ, known in reptiles as the hemipene, and not a concern unless the turtle is unable to retract it (which is rare). It looks like something that should not be distended from the body, but all turtles possess somewhat unusually shaped organs.

    The hemipene is normally everted/extended to allow for internal fertilization of the female during copulation. However, male turtle often evert the hemipene in non-sexual situations, and will do so even before becoming sexually mature. In snappers, I have seen this begin at age 14 months or so. In herps, it seems that the almost any type of stimulation can cause the hemipene to be everted…it often occurs when the turtle is picked up and turned over, or during feeding, or, as you observed, for no apparent reason (well, none that we can imagine!). Frogs grab other individuals in amplexus, the mating embrace, when being fed – there seems to be common “wiring” for stimulation of all types!

    One thing to bear in mind is cleanliness and water quality – any time an internal organ is exposed, there is an increased chance of fungal/bacterial/viral attack.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  3. avatar

    Hi Frank — thanks for the good info! I encountered what I believe to be a nesting female snapping turtle on a bike path near the Humber River (Toronto, Canada) today. We quickly decided it was not a good idea to move her, so we drizzled her with water — which she drank — and continued on. I hope she got where she was going, but if I see her again I will attempt your technique for moving them, and move her in her intended direction of travel.

  4. avatar

    Hello Lindsay, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog. Nice to hear of your concern for the turtle.

    Actually, snappers are very regular in their breeding, with all gravid females laying eggs within the space of a week or so. This occurs on rainy nights in the spring – here in NY, they lay during the first week in June. In Canada it might be a week or so later, but as far as I know none of our local turtles lay in the fall.

    Most of the snappers that I have encountered on land, outside of the breeding season, have been males displaced by larger males, and forced to re-locate. It might be possible that snappers leave their summer homes for alternate hibernation sites – some turtles do that, but I have seen any reports of this behavior in snappers. They are very good at sensing water from far off, so I’m sure the turtle found its way.

    Thanks again and please keep me posted on any other sightings,

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  5. avatar

    How to determine your diet? I have a Chelydra serpentina, she weighs 1 / 2 pound and I’m not sure the right amounts. I need to know tips : )

    Leo Rojas, Costa Rica

  6. avatar

    Hello Leo, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog.

    A young animal of ½ pound can eat a small meal 5-6 days weekly; they are very adaptable as concerns amount, and will grow or slow down their metabolisms in tune with the food given.

    They do easily become obese, so a large enclosure in which she can move about is best. If underfed, they become over-eager and may snap at your fingers while you are working in the tank.

    An old rule is to feed a meal appx the size of the turtle’s head – no studies done on this, but it is a good starting point. Amounts will also depend upon type of food and temperature – whole fish take longer to process than pellets, for example, and higher temperatures increase the metabolism. Be sure she gets a varied diet that supplies plenty of calcium – whole fishes are the best source for growing snappers.

    Did you collect the turtle in Costa Rica? A unique subspecies lives there – I looked for them while on research projects in CR, but did not have any luck…next time perhaps…

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  7. avatar

    Thanks for your prompt response, the sub species is Chelydra serpentina acutirostris. The area available for it is 66 square feet, has enough exposure to sun, momentarily have a tank of 4 square feet with 4 inches of deep, but will build a pond larger. Hear recommendations … care about water? Vitaminis? Vegetables?

  8. avatar

    Hello Leo,

    Thanks, that’s the subspecies I had in mind. Sounds like a wonderful situation – should have no trouble growing a record-breaker there!

    pH, hardness etc not really a concern, but it is hard to maintain clean water – I feed them in a separate enclosure whenever possible, which helps keep the tank/exhibit clean. Even so, water changes will be needed, so a drain would be ideal. An outdoor pond filter would be useful if you can run electricity to the site.

    Predators are a big problem everywhere – here in NY raccoons can take a turtle of that size – those I’ve seen in Central/S America look capable as well.

    I’ve raised snappers w/o adding vitamins/minerals to the diet; key is variety, with lots of whole fishes etc. I like to use a high quality pellet regularly as well, serves as “insurance”.

    Vegetable content is a source of debate for the northern subspecies – seems to vary greatly with location and prey base in the pond. Some seem to take a surprising amount of vegetation, others not at all. They are preferentially carnivorous, and grow well w/o greens in the diet, but it would be interesting to experiment. Please let me know if you do try. Avoid spinach as it has been implicated in stone-formation in some species.

    Good luck and please keep me posted, any herp news from CR would be appreciated as well,

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  9. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    A while back, I came across a snapping turtle in the road. I didn’t want any cars to run over it (it was about 8″ across) and I didn’t know how to pick one up (I also didn’t know in which direction it was heading). So, I pulled my car over, grabbed a stick and prodded it into the brush toward the side where there was a stream running parallel (to the road). It was furious at me. I think it even hissed at me! Did I do something that I shouldn’t have done (i.e., stick, guess the direction)? And, did it really hiss? If not, what should I have done?

  10. avatar

    Hello, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog. You acted very responsibly; snapping turtles only leave the water to lay eggs or if chased off by a larger turtle – on land they are extremely defensive and always try to bite when approached. Using a stick or other barrier is the best way to handle them. Sounds like you made a reasonable guess as to its direction as well – females may travel quite a distance from water when laying eggs, so its not always easy to tell where they are headed.

    Thanks for your concern for this much0maligned but very interesting turtle,

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  11. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    You have some good reading here, thanks. My kids and I were out driving a little while ago here in northern AL and we came across a small snapper not quite 2.5″ in diameter, I figured he was way to far from any decent amount of water and in the middle of the road so we brought him back to the house. I will probably take him to the nearby lake in a couple days and let him go in there but I was curious as to how old do you think this little guy might be? I was reading on some sites that you count the annuli on their shells but I think that was for tortoises only.

    Also my other question, I figured it probably wasnt a good idea to pick snappers up by their tales, but since they seemed so stout I didnt think it really hurt them. I am always the first to stop if I see any turtle in the road, and sometimes I dont have much time before a car is approaching so my only option with decent sized snappers is to grab their tales…now that I have read this article I know thats not the right thing to do. I was wondering though, what size is actually to big for them to be lifted that way? I understand if you say any and I would love to try the method you described if this is the only way to go, but when you say they cant reach you that way does that mean they ALL cant reach you that way or just the older really big ones that are kinda chuby up front?

    Thanks again.

  12. avatar

    Hello Paul, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for the kind words; much appreciated. Nice to hear that your kids are seeing kindness extended towards turtles, my compliments.

    Growth varies greatly in different habitats, but at that diameter the turtle would most likely be 1 ½ to 2 ½ years old…they have a longer active season in Al than here in s. NY, where one of that size might be a year or 2 older. Odd to find it out of water – generally only nesting females, hatchlings on the way out of the nest, or adult males driven off by others leave the water. It may have been in a small pond that is drying out, or perhaps competition/lack of food played a role.

    Most turtles lay down annuli as you note, but they are difficult to detect on snappers.

    Very good point on the tail-lifting when on roads, thanks for raising it. It is fine to lift turtles in the 10-20 pound range that way, and in any event your safety comes first – I would say go with that method, just keep the animal well away from your legs. It was long standard practice to grab smaller turtles so on farms/zoos – for a short interval it seemed to do no harm. Dragging a very large turtle from the road by the tail is less stressful (on you and turtle) than trying to hoist it by the tail.

    The method works with all, but does take some practice – it is definitely easier to do on larger turtles.

    Try to place the turtle in an area of the lake that has shallow water and lots of vegetation…at that size they are preyed upon by gar, bass, herons, raccoons – even large bullfrogs, etc., and so tend to stay in heavy cover.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  13. avatar

    After reading your article helps in handling larger snappers.

    There is a lake behind my apartment in RI. When i left for work one morning the was a large snapper in the parking lot and it did hiss as I was trying to make it move so i can leave for work.

    I used a box and kinda scooped it in with the help of a relative and after reading this not sure which direction it was heading as it was pointing away from the lake. Not sure if it came out for sunlight or if was looking for a place to lay. From my general knowledge of turtles, i would say this is a female judging by its tail.

    There is no real access to the lake without hopping a few fences, but not sure what to do with this snapper. Currently have it in my bath tub, great viewing for family and friends. What would be the best approach at getting this turtle back to where it needs to be or if keeping it what to look out for, feeding, habitat, and how to find proper distinction to what kind of snapper it is. At this size and atleast being over 2yrs old, is it taimable? From your pictures looks very similar to common snapper, but the tail has high raised spikes……i think.

    But any advice?

    Thanks

    Winston N.

  14. avatar

    Hello Wnston, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog and your efforts on behalf of the turtle…

    At this time of year, it is most likely a female out to lay eggs. Typically they lay at night and return to the water then or in the morning…yours may have taken extra time to find her way to a site, due to the fences, or perhaps has not found one yet and so may still need to lay her eggs.

    I would not suggest keeping the animal, as they are quite aggressive and, while they do calm down, cleaning and managing water quality is a big job requiring huge filters, lots of time, etc….and they keep growing!
    Please beware that the neck is very long and the power of the strike carries the turtle further forward than one would expect.

    I suggest you contact a wildlife rehabilitator – here is a link to Rhode Island Wildlife Rehabilitators so that the animal can be released – the closest lake would be preferable, but not absolutely necessary. If these folks cannot help, contact your state dept. of wildlife/environmental conservation and request assistance.

    You’ll need to disinfect your tub well – call to your family doctor re the best cleaning agent would be a good idea.

    Good luck and please let me know if you need anything further.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  15. avatar

    hello. I want to know the bite force of turtle.can you help me please?

  16. avatar

    Hello Fatemeh, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog.

    There is not much research on this subject, but tests run by a National Geographic researcher indicate that an adult common snapping turtle can exert a bite pressure of 1,000 pounds per square inch; Alligator Snappers exceed that – 1 test showed 1,500 lbs PSI. Pressure doesn’t seem to equate directly with injury potential – tooth structure (turtles do not have teeth) and how the bite is delivered are important factors.

    I do know of an individual who lost a finger to an Alligator Snapper; Common Snappers have caused severe wounds, i.e. bites that severed nerves and reached to the finger bone.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  17. avatar

    Frank, Today a neighbor found a Chelydra serpentina 45 “and brought to my house, now my question is: which posiblididad that big turtle attack on the small? There canivalismo between them? Both are females

  18. avatar

    Hello Leo, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog.

    Large snapping turtles will attack and even consume smaller ones. They are best housed alone.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  19. avatar

    hello, frank. i was wondering if feeding a chipmunk to a large snapper would be a okay idea or not? and if so, alive or dead?

  20. avatar

    Hello Hunter, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog. It would not be a good idea. While snappers find and consume dead and perhaps live mammals on occasion, their digestive systems are not designed to handle fur; always a chance of an intestinal blockage. Whole fishes are the best source of calcium, and many other nutrients, for snappers.

    There is never any reason to feed a live mammal to a snapper – they kill mammals rather “clumsily” to put it gently, and there really is no point in subjecting an animal to that. Pre-killed mice or rats are fine on occasion, but I’ve always used pinkies or rat pups, even for large turtles, to be on the safe size. Fish are preferable, crayfish also, if available.

    A large (206 lb) alligator snapper at the Bronx Zoo had subsisted on pre-killed rats for years without incident, but the animal did pass large, compacted hair balls which could have caused a problem at some point; I switched the turtle to a fish, crayfish and snail based diet once it came under my care.

    I bred Chipmunks in captivity many years ago – very interesting little beasts, if you ever want to expand your collection, but among the most unsociable rodents I’ve ever run across; hard to keep 2 together without a fatality, even in the breeding season!

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  21. avatar

    is ther anyway you can stop the “turtle man” on youtube from killing snappers.

  22. avatar

    Hello, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks; I can’t seem to find the reference, but here is a link showing ways you can act to stop an upcoming “festival” in which snapping turtles are tortured and killed for “fun”.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  23. avatar

    Hi Frank, I just stumbled onto your blog. Nice work, I appreciate the variety of topics you cover.

    I am surprised that raccoons can kill and eat a snapping turtle, except maybe baby ones. How big need a snapping turtle be to be safe? How does the raccoon avoid being bitten by an edible snapper on the larger side? How do they kill them?

  24. avatar

    Hello Keith, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest and the kind words, mush appreciated.

    Raccoons are very adaptable and amazingly clever at solving problems…I have trapped scores of them in the heart of Manhattan, where they even once invaded the Metropolitan Museum of Art! At the Bronx Zoo I cared for a group of females housed in outdoor pen surrounded by a wall that they could not scale, due to it’s angle…but they became pregnant every year, because the more nimble wild males could enter and leave at will!

    Turtles over a foot long or so are likely safe when in the water, but nesting females of that size or a bit more can be flipped over and attacked (river otters take them in this manner also). The snapper’s plastron is very small and leaves a great deal of flesh exposed. However, raccoons also seem to “weigh the risks”. I rarely find predated female snappers at a nesting site I’ve monitored for years, yet most eggs are taken. They nest at night, when raccoons are active, so the raccoons must ignore the females in favor of the eggs. In Jamaica Bay, NY, raccoons took almost 100% of each season’s Diamondback Terrapin eggs until nest protection measures were instituted.

    You might enjoy this article on raccoon-green iguana interactions in Florida.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  25. avatar

    Hi. I happened to be finishing up a bike road ride in Southborough MA late yesterday afternoon and came across a large snapping turtle crossing a road that divides two wet lands. There was no traffic at the monent and as I approached, it stopped and went into a defensive mode and refused to move from the middle of the two lane road. Concerned for the turtle, I stopped to see if I could prod it into moving, but it wouldn’t move an inch. Five pm traffic now started arriving in both directions, so I stood with bike in hand near the turtle and slowed the cars down. One kid jumped out of a car to take a pic. After about 10 minutes, I had just about given up trying to save this creature from getting crushed when a guy in a “drivers ed” car stopped, put on his emergency lights and rummaged thru his trunk. He brought over a small winter shovel and to my relief, was able to prod the turtle from the rear in the direction I had seen him moving. Of course, the snapper was really annoyed(hissing), but was finally coaxed to the side of the road and out of danger. Traffic was now backed up both ways, but not one horn had sounded. Thanking this stranger for his concern and help, I finally jumped back on my bike and headed for home feeling real good that someone had stopped to help me save this animal.

  26. avatar

    Hi Karl,

    Thanks for the interesting post and your concern; great to hear that drivers took it in stride and behaved well – not always the case, but I think more common these days. Right now is the snapper’s breeding season, so you may have seen a late-finishing female (they nest at night, usually finish by morning) or a male dispaced by another.

    Best regards, Frank

  27. avatar

    Hi Frank. I was wondering how big an ideal habitat for a Batagur Baska (River Terrapin or Four-toed Terrapin) would be.

  28. avatar

    Hi Frank. I was on my way hiking on a path and I saw a big snapper in the way. I wasn’t sure its gender. Is there any way to classify the gender?

  29. avatar

    Hi jane,

    It’s almost impossible to keep adults in most private settings..females can reach 60 lbs, males about 1/2 that, and they are very active..behavior comparable to sliders, map turtles. A group of 8 I cared for at the Bx Zoo had “just about” enough space in a 77,000,000 gallon exhibit! Very impressive though..check them out at a good zoo if you can; males in breeding condition develop jet black heads, and seem to blow water at one another during courtship disputes. Best, Frank

  30. avatar

    Hi Thomas,

    Snappers on land are almost always nesting females. In the northern part of the range (as here in NY), they do not nest until early June, but this varies in the south. Males generally wander only if driven off by a larger male.

    Sexing is possible only if you view the underside…tail structure and location of the cloaca, relative to the edge of the carapace, vary; males generally grow larger also, but both of these methods require a good deal of experience, as individuals vary quite a bit.

    Pl let me know where this occurred ..I like to to keep track of their activity levels in spring, egg-laying, etc.

    Best regards, Frank

  31. avatar

    Hello Frank. Yesterday (16 June) I found this snapping turtle apparently preparing to lay its eggs on the sandy forest road (chemin de Lac Gagnon Est) in Quebec. Seeing she was in danger I put on two deer skin gloves and picked her up with both hands. She hissed but did not bite. She tried to free herself with her legs. I put her down in some nice green vegetation, about 50 feet from some water in a marsh. Later in the day she had disappeared. The shell was about 13 inches long and I’d guess the weight at 20 pounds or more. Later in the day i found another, right in the middle of the road and very active,head in the air. I had to acrry this fellow a longer distance to safety. She attempted to bite several times with lightening speed and came within inches of my hands. I was careful to put her down and remove my hands quickly. I had grabbed both of them from the rear, about two thirds down the length from the front. Is this considered safe?

  32. avatar

    Hi Tony,

    Nice of you to help out. If it seems likely that you’ll often encounter turtles, keeping a push broom, garbage can lid or other useful shield in the car is a good idea. They can reach around and grab hands placed at the rear of the shell. Also, as you noticed, the rear legs are very mobile..often a leg will catch one’s hand and catapult the turtle forward into the air; deep scratches are possible. Do not lift by the tail (convenient as it may be!).

    Please keep me posted…nice to have info on breeding times there, I thought they bred later in the month in your region; here in s. NY, they are breeding as well.

    Best, Frank

  33. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    What do you think of the oft-cited technique of finding a stick for the turtle to clamp down on before moving it so it doesn’t bite? Does this actually work? Will the turtle drop the stick and then whip it’s head around to bite?

  34. avatar

    Hi Amy,

    Unless you tape it’s mouth shut after it bites, that won’t work! Actually, there are individual differences, but the only safe way to handle a large turtle is to keep hands/body out of reach, push into a garbage can and move that way, etc.

    best, frank

  35. avatar

    Hi Frank, I found a fairly large snapping turtle in the road today, 9/16/14. Not knowing it was a snapper I picked it up by its shell on each side. It’s mouth was open but it didn’t want to agress. It was just lying in the road for some time when I find it. I tried to find a decent place for it but nothing seemed safe so I took it home. Someone told me it was a snapper and to pick it up by the tail to check if there were any cracks on its under side. When I did this I lifted it off the ground for probably about 30 seconds. I felt the tail kind of crackle as it moved then I put my hand up under its belly and gently carried into a box. After reading all over the web that you shouldn’t pick it up by its tail I am sick to my stomach that I injured it:( If I did injure this turtle, could it recover? I feel just awful. I was trying to help and I might have hurt it. I took it to a beautiful stream that leads to a river, less than a mile from where I found it. I’m so upset I feel like I should go back tomorrow morning to check on it and see if it’s there. When it heard the stream it crawled out of the box and headed to the water’s edge. I was thinking maybe it’s spine is ok since it walked?? I’m reaching for anything to make me feel better about this:(

  36. avatar

    Hello Lisa,

    Handling by tail short term like that will not do any harm…it was standard practice in zoos etc for years; pressure etc adds up long term. Internet is packed with well-meaning but ill-informed folks who will say otherwise….best ignored. Snappers are extremely resilient creatures..it will be fine. Do be careful in the future though…they can injure you more easily than vice-verse! …and never approach a snake that you cannot ID! Best, Frank

  37. avatar

    Hello,
    I think I have a chelydra serpentina, which I think is a common snapping turtle. I found it outside, and it was barely moving, so after giving it a little puddle of water, I put him outside, where I thought he might be able to get something to eat. That night, he was very lively, and energetic. I decided to keep him for a little longer, but when I realized that the only turtle who looks like him and also lives in Wisconsin was the chelydra serpentina, I got worried because he didn’t bite me at all. In fact, I’m not even sure if it’s a boy or a girl. I live in Milwaukee County in Wisconsin, and I was wondering if you could help me out a bit and possibly tel me a little more about my turtle. Thanks.

  38. avatar

    Hello,

    Cool temperatures slow down their activity and propensity to bite; it;s unusual to find one out of after at this time of the year, as they are generally preparing to or have begun to hibernate. They cannot be sexed until adulthood.

    Please see the articles below for care info, and let me know if you have any questions. Even if warmed up in the home, the turtle may eat very little if at all over the winter, as it’s body is already set for hibernation. If in good health, this usually does no harm. Best, Frank
    http://blogs.thatpetplace.com/thatreptileblog/2008/06/12/the-common-snapping-turtle-chelydra-serpentina-%E2%80%93-care-in-captivity-with-notes-on-the-alligator-snapping-turtle-macroclemmys-temmincki-part-1/#.VCnhBBZDV30
    http://blogs.thatpetplace.com/thatreptileblog/2008/06/13/the-common-snapping-turtle-chelydra-serpentina-%E2%80%93-care-in-captivity-with-notes-on-the-alligator-snapping-turtle-macroclemmys-temmincki-part-2/#.VCnhcBZDV30

  39. avatar

    Hey,
    When will it start to try to eat us, though? That is something that really scares me. Right now the turtle is very small; without the tail, it’s just a little bigger than a quarter. And will he be able to break my finger or something if he snaps at me? Please let me know ASAP, as this is something that is really bothering me. Thanks!

  40. avatar

    Hello,

    Hatchlings are harmless, of course, and remain so for some time. But this is not the best species for one new to turtle-keeping..they grow quickly, too large for most aquariums; filtration and feeding becomes difficult, etc. being collected at this time of year puts the animal at risk, as it will not likely feed over the winter..I didn’t realize it was a hatchling…many overwinter in nest, this one likely emerged early, should g right into hibernation; best to release in nearest suitable body of water…swamp, weedy pond or lake etc. best, Frank

  41. avatar

    Hello Frank u mentioned earlier tht hatchlings stay harmless for some time. How long would you say they stay harmless?

  42. avatar

    Hello,

    Growth rate depends on many factors…diet, temperature, individual genetics etc; Again, not the best species to start with, especially as it was collected late in the season. best, Frank

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About Frank Indiviglio

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Being born with a deep interest in animals might seem unfortunate for a native Bronxite , but my family encouraged my interest and the menagerie that sprung from it. Jobs with pet stores and importers had me caring for a fantastic assortment of reptiles and amphibians. After a detour as a lawyer, I was hired as a Bronx Zoo animal keeper and was soon caring for gharials, goliath frogs, king cobras and everything in-between. Research has taken me in pursuit of anacondas, Orinoco crocodiles and other animals in locales ranging from Venezuela’s llanos to Tortuguero’s beaches. Now, after 20+ years with the Bronx Zoo, I am a consultant for several zoos and museums. I have spent time in Japan, and often exchange ideas with zoologists there. I have written books on salamanders, geckos and other “herps”, discussed reptile-keeping on television and presented papers at conferences. A Master’s Degree in biology has led to teaching opportunities. My work puts me in contact with thousands of hobbyists keeping an array of pets. Without fail, I have learned much from them and hope, dear readers, that you will be generous in sharing your thoughts on this blog and web site. For a complete biography of my experience click here.
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