Residents in a Marietta neighborhood were surprised to find a large snapping turtle wandering the streets of their subdivision earlier this week.
Pam Clark, who lives in the Hickory Walk neighborhood off Whitlock Avenue, said she discovered the turtle in the street in front of her house Tuesday.
It weighs more than 20 pounds and measured about 18 inches long from its snout to the tip of its tail.
Patty Mosely picked up the turtle to move it out of the street and said it snapped and hissed at her when she did so.
“They are very aggressive,” Clark said. “He started clawing and his claws are like (2 inches) long.”
They later learned that the turtle was apparently hiding in a neighbor’s garage and it escaped, but another neighbor had put it in a make-shift pen.
“He said he was going to take it to the lake,” Clark said, referring to the ponds at Laurel Park not far from the subdivision.
Less than 24 hours later, though, the turtle escaped that pen as well and then there were posts on Facebook asking for people to help them find it again so they could take it to a nearby pond or lake.
In the meantime, Clark looked up information online about the turtle and read that when snapping turtles are away from their watery homes, it’s typically because the females are looking for a place to lay their eggs.
“I think that’s why she’s on land,” Clark said, not knowing yet if the turtle was in fact a girl. “We interrupted that, I think.”
Hickory Walk resident Sybil Meyers called Cobb County Animal Control to see if they could move it but said they never showed.
She showered the turtle with water Wednesday morning and fed it a piece of cabbage or lettuce and some water while waiting on the department.
Billy Mayfield with Animal Control said that when it comes to wildlife such as a snapping turtle, they don’t normally relocate them.
“(The Department of Natural Resources) has told us that if you see them, get them out of the street, but otherwise they will make their way back to where their family is,” he said.
“We have to live here with wildlife,” he said. “We have to try to cohabitate with nature, too.”
But if the animal is sick or injured they will try to come out and see what they can do to help, with hopes of returning it to its original home.
Mayfield said he believes the turtle probably came from of the lakes at Laurel Park, behind the Kennesaw Memorial Cemetery or from Ward Creek, which runs behind the neighborhood.
“There has to be a creek or something around there that it’s hanging out at,” he said. “It should make its way back over there, though.”
Other ‘pests’ make a showing
Mayfield said they also receive reports about snakes, raccoons, opossums and squirrels during this time of year.
“There are just so many wooded areas and we have a lot of wildlife in Georgia,” Mayfield said.
This year, an exceptionally wet spring has brought a lot of snakes out in residential areas, according to wildlife experts.
Animal Control officers will remove snakes if they get inside a home, but most of the time they refer callers to various pest control companies.
“If a snake is outside, it’ll be gone when we get there most of the time,” Mayfield said. “And if they are seeing rat snakes, they are killing rats, so they are serving a purpose, and king snakes kill the venomous snakes.”
Mayfield said snakes will often sun themselves on rocks during the hottest times of the day.
He warns residents to keep piles of debris or wood cleared around the home, because it attracts these wild animals, and to make sure the lid on a garbage can is sealed.
He also recommends sealing off crawl spaces below the house and any outside entrances into the attic area.
“(Animals) are strong and pretty clever,” he said.