Regular readers may recall TurtleGate ’08. Some of you may have even been consumed by worry that this terrapin tangle would go unresolved. Fear not, for thanks to a happy find while researching the Seney National Wildlife Refuge, I can finally put the michpics universe back on firm & factual footing.
MTU Flickr says that this little lady was looking for a good place to lay some eggs in the Seney Wildlife Refuge during sunset. It’s part of their excellent Nature Made set, a collection of photos “mostly set in the Upper Peninsula” that should probably be viewed as a slideshow.
The common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina) and probably (other than the elusive cougar), the Michigan animal you most want to be wary of. From the U of M Animal Diversity Web’s page on the common snapping turtle:
Snapping turtles are not social creatures. Social interactions are limited to aggressive interactions between individuals, usually males. Many individuals can be found within a small range; snapping turtle density is normally related to the amount of available food. Snapping turtles can be very vicious when removed from the water, but they become docile when placed back into the water. Snapping turtles sometimes bury themselves in mud with only their nostrils and eyes exposed. This burying behavior is used as a means of ambushing prey.
Snapping turtles will eat nearly anything that they can get their jaws around. They feed on carrion, invertebrates, fish, birds, small mammals, amphibians, and a surprisingly large amount of aquatic vegetation. Snapping turtles kill other turtles by decapitation. This behavior might be territoriality towards other turtles or a very inefficient feeding behavior.
You can read much more about these agressive amphibians from the link above and also the Michigan DNR and Wikipedia. Also check out this video of a common snapper attacking a camera to get an idea of how fast they can move if they want to!
You may want to go back and read the other post too as it now has information about the wood turtle in Michigan.