Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Injured Snapping Turtle

I found this amazing snapping turtle walking in circles in the middle of the road about a mile from the Colvin Run Habitat. He appeared to have just come from being buried in mud and leaves.

I could not get him to move to the side of the road, even with the encouragement a large and guiding stick. I could not even get him to snap at the stick.
I estimate his height at about 7" and his length at 15", minimum. Given this length, and the fact that a 25 year old male is typically 11 inches long, this snapper is not only large, he may be 50 or more years old.
If you clook closely you will see that he only has one eye. And, I know that snappers do not have teeth, but it surely looks like small teeth in these photos.
Unfortunately, the reason for his walking in circles became clear - this snapper had been run over by a car - the rear right shell was damaged and bloody - the rear right leg clearly damaged. I finally managed to move him (using the stick) to the side of the road. I doubt that he made it. You can find a great snapping turtle at

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Red-Tailed Fox Eating Sunflower Seeds

This spring we have had a fox hinting in the Colvin Run Habitat. We have seen this fox chasing squirrels - one time successfully. We even have squirrel parts to prove his presence. But, no photos - until today.
This young fox came on two occasions - separated by about an hour - and feasted on sunflower seeds on the ground under the bird feeder.
Although his coat is clearly dirty and wet (it has been raining in Northern Virginia for at least three days, this fox appears in good health. He has no signs of mange and he has clear eyes. As the photos show, he and I spend several minutes eye-to-eye (or eye-to-lens). I stayed on the porch hoping not to spook him.