Controlling snapping turtles | Living the Country Life

Controlling snapping turtles

If you think you have an over-population of snapping turtles, you can bait them on a hook, or set a trap. Just watch your fingers!

Watch your step!

"We have a ton of turtles in our pond," says Editor-in-Chief Betsy Freese. "Once, my daughter, Caroline, was walking around the shore and stepped on what she thought was a boulder, and it moved. It was the back of a snapping turtle. Luckily, it was preoccupied and didn't bite her. One guy fishing in our pond had trouble reeling in something heavy, and thought he'd hooked an old tire. He was surprised when a giant snapper surfaced! He cut the line -- he wasn't about to wrangle the hook out of that mouth!"

Betsy has also noticed some of the bass have bites taken out of them. Bob Pierce is an Extension fisheries and wildlife specialist at the University of Missouri and says sometimes turtles will eat fish. However, common snappers are basically lazy and are more apt to feed on slower moving and sick fish.

Human fingers and toes are generally not part of their diet, but Pierce says you'll keep your digits by steering clear.

"They certainly defend themselves, particularly if they're taken out of water," Pierce says. "They tend to be very vigorous in their defense and they'll bite. When they're in water, they're not nearly as aggressive. And they kind of want to hide and escape rather than vigorously defend themselves. So if you're in the water, chances are they aren't going to come nip at you."


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