Study Finds Snapping Turtles Moving Into Urban Areas

Posted on August 27, 2013

Snapping turtle in urban environment


A new study conducted by a University of Missouri (MU) researcher has found that snapping turtles are seeking refuge and surviving in urban areas as their natural habitats are being polluted or developed for construction projects. Bill Peterman, a post-doctoral researcher in the Division of Biological Sciences at MU says, "We found that snapping turtles can persist in urbanized areas, despite the potential for more interaction with humans."

Peterman says reducing negative inputs, such as waste and harmful chemicals, into waterways will help restore snapping turtles' habitats. Some large snapping turtles have powerful bites than can injure humans. However, even though snapping turtles are moving into urban areas, Peterman says people have nothing to fear.

Peterman says, "Everyone has a snapping turtle story, but some are just too far-fetched and lead to false accusations. In reality, snapping turtles aren't aggressive animals and won't bite unless they are provoked. So, if you should happen to see one around your property, simply leave it alone and let it go about its business."

He also says, "Snapping turtles may not be the first animals that come to mind when thinking about urban wildlife, but if we continue to improve waterways in more places, such as big cities, than the species can coexist peacefully."

The study, "Movement and Habitat Use of the Snapping Turtle in an Urban Landscape," was published in the journal, Urban Ecosystems.

Photo: Bill Peterman/University of Missouri