Chelydra serpentina — Snapping Turtle
Previously described subspecies of this species were deemed invalid by Shaffer et al in 2008.
Esquinas Rainforest Lodge, Golfito region, Puntarenas province, Costa Rica—September 24, 2001
Esquinas Lodge has two permanent ponds that have recently been given names and signs. Caiman Pond is the home of Lorenzo the Caiman. Turtle Pond is the home of at least two caimans and perhaps 10 snapping turtles. We caught glimpses of the turtles near the surface once or twice, but they quickly drifted back into the mucky invisible bottom and I didn't get any photos.
This algae-encrusted turtle was lurking at the bottom of a murky pond when it apparently noticed my movements on shore and got interested. It slowly rose from the bottom, where it had been perfectly camouflaged, and started drifting ominously toward me. Unfortunately it stopped a few inches from the water's surface. Or maybe that was fortunate, as it looked very powerful, and not all that friendly.
My wife spotted these two snapping turtles tumbling about in the water near the shore. Turtle love, or turtle battle? After five minutes of tumbling, one of them swam to the shore, and the other vanished completely.
Mixed in with dozens of Yellow-bellied Sliders were a few prominent snapping turtles. Unlike the sliders, the snapping turtles showed little fear of us, probably because they know perfectly well they could easily bite our parts off one at a time.
Here's one doing its best hunk-of-floating-wood impression in a pond near my mom's house.
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