Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Mr. Drew Hammonds Snapping Turtle At Earlswood Lake Near Birmingham

Mr. Drew Hammonds and turtle pictures picsWhen fisherman Drew Hammonds saw a spiky armour-plated creature at the end of his line, he made a snap decision.
He dropped his rod and started to run. But after a quick look back he realised he had landed a snapping turtle.
And being so far from its native U.S., it was very snappy indeed.
Mr Hammonds, 37, caught the turtle early last Tuesday while fishing with friends at Earlswood Lake near Birmingham.

‘I only went fishing for carp,’ he said. ‘I thought I’d caught a big one when my rod started to bend. ‘Then I spotted a big shell coming out of the water, with spikes on its back.

Mr. Drew Hammonds and turtle photos images gallery‘It was hissing and spitting when we caught it - it was really vicious. You couldn’t go anywhere near it without it going for you.

‘It ripped through my net and my friend’s net.’ Worried that the turtle was hurt, the men tried to remove the hook in its mouth before putting it back in the water.

‘It kept snapping at me so I had to be careful. In the end I used metal forceps to cut through the hook. I had to do it quickly, because it was going for my hand.’

Turtle specialist Paul Eversfield identified the creature as an alligator snapping turtle (macroclemys temminckii). Mr Eversfield, from the British Chelonia Society, said the turtles were native to the southern states of the U.S.

‘They are potentially the largest freshwater turtles in the world with record size of over 100kg,’ he said.
‘As such, they represent the top predator in their natural environment and are capable of eating large fish and water fowl. Their natural diet is fish, crayfish, and smaller turtles.

‘Having been around, largely unchanged for nearly 200 million years, their survival strategy obviously works very well.

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