Let me introduce my new pet in this almost life-size photo. Pictured is Snapper, the snapping turtle. What a clever name. I voted for Ted, short for turtle head. My other half argued to name him Snapper and I choose my battles wisely. Snapper it is.
Snapper landed on our neighbor's patio, about 100 feet from a brook. He was baking in the sun, drying out his shell that is the size of a half dollar. He is darn cute. We decided to keep him, give him an awful name, and plan his safe return to the wild. That's the hard part. Granted his small frame would have most likely washed away violently down a shallow NJ brook and not survived the winter, but now that I'm attached to this cute little thing, it's going to be tough letting him (or her) go one day. I took him in knowing nothing about turtles so I turned to my favorite resource, Google.
Thankfully there are many sites out there with tips on raising snapping turtles. Of course they all remind you that they'll eventually grow to the size of your coffee table and can eat your first born, so it's not the wisest of pet choices.
I then wondered if it was even legal to own a snapping turtle. I researched the NJ Freshwater Fishing Laws and here's some interesting facts they list:
"Any person with a valid fishing license or those entitled to fish without a license may take snapping turtles, bull frogs, and green frogs by means of spears, hooks, dip nets not more than 24 inches in diameter, traps or by hand. Snapping turtles may not be taken with a gun or bow and arrow. Snapping turtles, bull frogs, and green frogs may be taken from in numbers greater than the daily limit under a special permit issued by Fish & Wildlife at its discretion."
So what DO people do when they're fishing for these creatures? They're looking to have them as pets? They're eating them??! ewwww. I have to stop my imagination there.
It's actually quite fascinating having this little guy around. My dog gets jealous, but it's conversation piece to have your guests witness this agressive little thing gorging itself on a wax worm.