Turtle Love, Leeches and Chance Encounters

Yesterdays post made me think of a chance encounter with some turtles a few years ago in the late fall. It was near the same spot I was taking pictures at yesterday. There are times where you’re in the right place at the right time to experience something you might other wise never see. In this case it was turtle sex. Big snapping turtles. Amazing creatures that look all prehistoric and ooze coolness.
The pictures aren’t great and I was wishing at the time I had my polarizing filter on to cut down on the reflections, but I didn’t. A polarizing filter can, at times, make a world of difference to your images, this was one of those times… She says regretfully…

The male was on top of the female at first (I think!) and that’s her foot sticking up in the air.

When I looked at the images later I was astonished to see all the leeches that were covering the turtles legs. I didn’t notice them when I was taking the pictures.  Initially  the turtles didn’t notice me but when they did they broke apart and the female quickly buried herself in the mud.

And the male stalked right up to me near the shore and gave me the evil eye. I can kind of understand his disappointment. Sorry bud…
All images © Karen McRae

18 thoughts on “Turtle Love, Leeches and Chance Encounters

  1. Fantastic 🙂 Sometimes being at the right spot at the right time really makes all the difference. Last year I saw some peacocks mate in a park in Spain and I was really surprised that the male was going through that hoop of displaying and making a show for something that lasted hardly 5 seconds. However, I didn’t have my camera with me *regret*

  2. Did the male hiss at you? I love it when snapping turtles hiss……..even though you know they’re going to do it, it’s always surprising. I’ve seen a lot of snapping turtles over the years, but never have I seen them mating.

  3. You know, even without the polarizing filter some of these images totally work! I particularly like the next to last shot, how the swirls in the water, the shell of the turtle, and the debris on the bottom, combined, make some really cool abstract shapes.

  4. I think these are great shots, filter or no, they work well. Fascinating subject matter.

    Not sure I would want to be looking at the “search engine terms” on your site stats page that will be bringing people to this post though….

  5. Heh, I guess this shows I’m a photo noob, because your images look pretty damn great! And I have to say this is the first time I got to see turtles having sex. 0_0b

  6. in our ecosystem class this fall, one student mentioned he saw a snapping turtle up north with a small tree growing on its back. The teacher said it is very common to see moss, etc. growing on the turtle’s back… Can’t wait to see one myself!

  7. Karen, I stumbled on your site through “You Monsters are People” and love your photos and paintings. What is weird is that I just posted a blog about snapping turtles and made a pen and ink sketch of them as well as my poem “The Turtle”. Some things just stay in your mind until they are addressed in some way. These are one of a kind photos. Another thing – I am from Hamilton, Ontario, now living in Tucson, AZ. I hope you will take a look at my blog since we have these two things in common.

    1. Hi Judy,
      Thank you for your comments.
      How nice to connect with you, I will definitely have a look at your blog. I have been to Arizona – what a beautiful place!

      1. It is a beautiful place here, Karen. But I still have roots “back home” – memories of northern Ontario, the fruit orchards, the lushness of it. I do love the sunshine here and the open spaces, though!

  8. I just finished a commission for a collector, of mating snappers! “Turtle Love” is what we decided to call it. I worked from a photo that looked similar to your 3rd, here. It was taken by a biologist friend of her’s. Imagine my delight in coming across your wonderful blog and finding this post!

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