Leaving the cabin this morning, I heard some rustling, and looking over there I found a common snapping turtle climbing out of the fire pit. I had dealt with some of these guys when doing fieldwork on the Muskegon River, and they weren't fun to deal with. I didn't want this guy biting me (or biting bits off of me) when I would try to move it back to the water, so I went back for some gloves, doubled them up, and went back to move it.
These guys don't like to be picked up, and they can stretch their necks quite extensively, which means that holding them by the sides of their shell will put your hands (and fingers) in jeopardy. To that end, I did what I did when I encountered these turtles on the Muskegon -- pick them up from the rear of their carapace. It does make them hard to carry, being quite front-heavy, and they snap like crazy when you try (and this guy urinated quite a lot when picked up).
Still, placing it into the water, it swam away from the bank.
(FYI, if it wasn't for all the people who let their dogs off their leashes, I wouldn't have thought twice about leaving it where it was. I wasn't so much worried that the dogs might get snapped at, but that the turtle would get maimed.)
Use of the Forest
Public use of Saginaw Forest is encouraged. Rules for the public's use include (but are not limited to):
- No parking in front of the access gate.
- Public use hours are from 6am to 6pm only; no camping on the site!
- No vehicles or bicycles are permitted on the site except those for approved research and teaching use (bike parking available at the main gate).
- Dogs with owners are welcome to visit, but they must be on a leash. (Also see here.)
- Dog owners must carry out all pet waste; please bring your own doggie bag to do so.
- No cutting or collecting of plant material; no hunting or harming vertebrates (this includes no fishing).
- No smoking.