Turtles may be able to teach us a thing or two about the secret to long life. They are one of the longest living creatures on the planet, the species itself predating dinosaurs. One of the oldest known members of the species found dates as far back as 220 million years ago. Not only are turtles slow movers across land but apparently they’re slow movers across time as well. In general, turtles are gentle and harmless. Yet, one species can become a bit of a nuisance for homeowners that live near bodies of water, especially creeks and streams. This species is infamously known as the snapping turtle.

Facts, Figures and A Little Family History

Wisconsin is known for eleven different species of turtles- most commonly the painted turtle and the snapping turtle. Ten out of these eleven species spend the winter under the water either beneath the mud or right on top of it. Maybe the reason they have survived so long throughout history is the sturdy way they are built. Sixty different bones make up just their shell alone. Their skin is thick and scaly, preventing any water from entering their body. However, turtles aren’t free from predation. Cars are the main reason for their high mortality rate. Loss of habitat comes in at a close second. They also fall prey to coyotes, foxes and skunks. The Department of Natural Resources has launched the Wisconsin Turtle Conservation Program to remind drivers to slow down and watch for turtles. Volunteers urge local government to install turtle road crossing signs.

How Do I Get Rid of Turtles?

Snapping turtles are known for their irascible personality when out of water. They have a powerful beak-like jaw that is capable of mangling human fingers. Most people think they can safely pick one up by the sides of the shell. However, the snapping turtle can easily extend its neck to twist and turn all the way back to its hind legs. You can still be easily bitten even if you think your hands are out of harm’s way. It is best to let professionals handle these creatures. Their common habitat is near a shallow pond or stream. In addition, they are active hunters, eating whatever they can swallow. This includes fish, frogs, small snakes, other turtles, birds and even some mammals. If encountered on land, they can become quite aggressive. If snapping turtles become a problem near your home, call our licensed professionals for safe trapping and removal.

DID YOU KNOW? – 10 of Wisconsin’s 11 turtle species spend the winter under water. Some bury themselves under the bottom, while others lie on the bottom and remain motionless.

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