Several days last week, there were car jams on the UVAC “driveway”, while members watched and assisted huge turtles cross the road. Where are they going? How old are they? Were among the many questions peppering the air. These are snapping turtles, most likely females or girl-turtles, migrating to nest sites. Female turtles have been known to travel up to two miles for their preferred nest site. Males, or boy turtles, rarely travel.
Snapping turtles like most reptiles never stop growing. So very large turtles are also very old turtles. By measuring the carapace length (scientific name for the top of the turtle shell), you can estimate the age of the turtle. A hatchling is about the size of a quarter or about 1 inch long: a 10-year-old individual measures about 7 inches and a 25-year-old individual about 11 inches. The turtles at UVAC that I have seen are most likely 50 years and older based on the size of their carapaces. Some snappers can live to at least 7 decades or seventy years! The heaviest wild snapping turtle on record is 75 pounds.
So if you see a turtle crossing our driveway, please be mindful of “her”.
Stay tuned for another blog on how to tell if the turtle is a girl or a boy. If you have questions, please send them to our facebook page or you can email Lisa at
We’ll try to answer them as best we can.
by Zooey Zullo, UVAC Customer Service Manager