The snapping turtle, this fierce animal with a sharp jaw that colonizes the Gironde

The town hall of Carcans (Gironde) warns of the presence of snapping turtles, near the Gironde coast.
The town hall of Carcans (Gironde) warns of the presence of snapping turtles, near the Gironde coast. (©Illustration / Flickr / Éric Bégin)

This Thursday, June 9, on social networks, the town hall of Carcans published a alert to warn the public of the presence of snapping turtles near the road to Maubuisson, mainly at the level of the Lambrusse stream.

“As this is a fearsome, aggressive species that can cause serious injury, do not intervene yourself! “, warns the municipality on its Facebook page.

A specimen had been captured near the Canal du Midi

Indeed, this animal endemic to North America was introduced to France through e-commerce or by conventional transport (planes, boats, etc.) and proliferates in certain departments of France, in particular Gironde or again the Haute-Garonne. A 25 centimeter specimen was taken near the Canal du Midi in May 2020.


“The power of his jaw is formidable”

“This species has adapted perfectly to our climate and region and it is reproducing since young snapping turtles have been seen in Gironde. I captured a young one in 2021 in a fish pond in downtown Carcans. She ate goldfish as well as birds since corpses came to the surface, ”says Jean-Claude Pomies, former environmental inspector in Gironde.

When I was alerted, I immediately understood what species we were dealing with. The snapping turtle is essentially carnivorous, it is a formidable predator that attacks our local fauna (amphibians, reptiles including the harmless pond turtle, etc.). The power of his jaw is formidable.

Jean-Claude PomiesFormer environmental inspector in Gironde

The town hall of Carcans also advises people who come across a snapping turtle to immediately notify this specialist.

Indeed, this aquatic animal shows little and spends most of its time in fresh water (pond, lake, stream) but “becomes fierce when disturbed and can inflict serious injuries with its sharp jaw like a razor”, can we read on the Wikipedia encyclopedia.

A snapping turtle also spotted at Le Porge

“For information, a snapping turtle was seen at Porge, on the canal des étangs, at the level of the Langouarde pond”, adds Jean-Claude Pomies, who has also already been called upon during his career to capture one in Salaunes. .

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“It is a species that can be recognized by the shape of its serrated scales on the back of its shell and its morphology with its oversized head and legs”, specifies the specialist. However, it is difficult to make an inventory of the number of snapping turtles that inhabit the department, as this animal is so discreet.

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