Snapping Turtle at Lake Hodges (5 photos)

Well, that was a weird encounter for sure. I never imagined I’d see a Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina) in the wild, let alone at nearby Lake Hodges! They’re not native to Southern California (this Wikipedia article has a range map), and apparently it’s not even lawful to possess them here.

I was on an afternoon walk with Toni, who was very curious about the turtle, but also very hesitant to approach it – and I would’ve kept her from getting too close anyway since I knew that the turtle’s bite is quite serious.

Interestingly, this turtle was moving away from the water when I saw it, using the hiking trail. I was surprised how fast it was moving. When I got closer it stopped moving and I was able to make the photos, below.

As you can see it was quite dusty (and pretty ugly if you ask me, but who am I to judge…) and had even collected some plant material on its shell. I’d say that the upper shell was something like 30-40cm long, which would be normal for an adult specimen of the species.

Licenses to these images are available for both personal and commercial usage, should you be interested please continue reading here: Image Usage.

Thoughts? Let me hear them.

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