Virginia study to determine if snapping turtles are in decline
August 13, 2012
In water to his waist and mud to his calves, Ben Colteaux pulled up a net and found a stinky monster. Colteaux had caught a snapping turtle, Virginia's largest freshwater turtle — and a living link to the age of dinosaurs. This one looked the part, with a sharp beak, powerful, stubby legs, long claws and a Stegosaurus-like tail. It hissed and lunged at Colteaux, a wildlife ecologist. The thing looked huge — 14 pounds, with a shell the size of a skillet. But snappers can top 25 pounds, and a 51-pounder holds the Virginia record.