As you may have noticed, the title of this blog is backwards. Some observations are best begun at the beginning, but this one will be more interesting if we begin at the end: with this green object in the middle of a mud puddle.
Which rises (sinks) from the red mud.
And turns out to be the well-camouflaged back of the state reptile of New York; the common snapping turtle. Here it is on its way to the puddle. It took this reptile less than a minute to sink down to invisibility. Mating season for the snapping turtle is April through November. This individual was photographed on April 9. Maybe the turtle crossed the road to find a mate.
This turtle looked so much like a rock in the center of the photo that I actually thought it was a turtle-shaped rock at first; even though I had gone down the hill looking for the snapping turtle that a kind passer-by had hauled from the road by its tail.
It’s commonly believed that picking a snapping turtle up by the tail is a safe way to move them. It’s more or less safe for the mover, but it can damage the tail and vertebrae of the animal. Also, being dragged by the tail across pavement can lead to abrasions on the body that might get infected.
Here is a great video from the Toronto Zoo demonstrating several different ways to help a snapping turtle across the road in a way that is safe for both of you:
Fun fact: the snapping turtle was featured in a political cartoon in 1808 lamenting the bite of the “Ograbme”, which is “embargo” spelled backwards. As I said, some things are more fun backwards.