|Barked: Mon Apr 22, '13 6:49am PST |
|I know this is an old thread, but I had to add my two cents in case others find it and read it (like I did).
Common snapping turtles can and will attack people. I know because I was attacked by one when I was 13. Of course, from the turtles perspective it might have been in self-defense, but seeing how most of us can't see clearly below the surface, anyone could have "provoked" the turtle unintentionally. It's just a matter of stepping or swimming in the wrong place at the wrong time.
When I was attacked, I was swimming with my little brother in the small river that winds around my fathers front yard. I didn't know it at the time, but it was a perfect place for snapping turtles - muddy banks, relatively shallow water, lots of vegetation, tonnes of trout. Since the water wasn't deep, it wasn't possible to just jump in and go for a swim. Instead, me and my brother would walk up the river, get in, and let the current carry us back down to my fathers house. I was floating down the river at a pretty fast speed when I was suddenly yanked to a stop. I was wearing a lose t-shirt, and I assumed it had got caught on something. As I stood up (which wasn't easy to do) I could hear the back of my shirt ripping. I turned around to see what I had caught myself on to see an enormous turtle staring up at me. I will not forget that big ugly face. I immediately started screaming to my little brother to get out of the river, and ran out myself. I hate to think of what would have happened if I was wearing my bathing suit instead of a baggy t-shirt. I'm now 26 and spend a lot of time hiking, and I am still very uncomfortable wading into a river.
So yes, they do happen. I agree that they are rare, and that snapping turtles (like almost any wild animal) will avoid humans if possible, but they will attack if "provoked". The problem is that you will likely have no idea that you (or your dog) are provoking them.
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