Nature clicks #105 - Common Snapping Turtle

Common Snapping Turtle 1
Nikon D300s, Sigma 50-500mm / f4.5-6.3 APO DG HSM

Yesterday I promised you another wildlife encounter. I left our little tent early Sunday morning to look for some shooting opportunities at one of the lakes in Governor Dodge State Park, Wisconsin. I was actually looking for some wood ducks I had seen last fall. I saw the female with ten little ducklings but they were too far away for a good picture.

Instead I found this big Common Snapping Turtle on a sandy spot in the grass near Cox Hollow Lake. This was the closest I have ever been to one of these creatures. The dry duck weed on top of its upper shell told me that it must have been on land for some time already. This turtle had left quite a few "digging marks" in the sand and I was wondering if this was a female that just had laid her eggs into the sand.

Common Snapping Turtle 2
Nikon D300s, Sigma 50-500mm / f4.5-6.3 APO DG HSM

As always, I tried not to disturb the animal and worked from a distance with a focal length between 270 and 500mm. The turtle gave me about 20 minutes before it slowly moved towards the water and disappeared. The Common Snapping Turtle may not be the prettiest animal on this planet but nevertheless it was very interesting to watch this aquatic ambush hunter with its beak-like jaws.