Snapping turtle research team

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Behavior, Ecology and Physiology of Connecticut Snapping Turtles (Chelydra serpentina)

Turtle research team graduation.JPG

"Jawless" gets ready to film Wethersfield Cove, Connecticut River with National Geographic's CritterCam. July 15th, 2008 Photo credit: Hartford Courant

Science on the River

In conjunction with many generous private volunteers, several local Connecticut organizations including Our Piece of the Pie and Riverfront Recapture as well as the National Geographic Society, I worked this summer with ten high school students on a snapping turtle ecology project. The primary goal was to allow these young teenagers growing up in urban Hartford, CT access to nature, science and career options they might not otherwise be exposed to.


The first phase of the project included a study of nest protector devices that was designed to keep out large mammalian predators.

The second phase involved trapping snappers and outfitting them with National Geographic's CritterCam. We successfully deployed (and retrieved!) the CritterCam four times.

Tobias frees "Jawless" a 39 pound snapping turtle from the net. Photo credit: Hartford Courant
Lafayette the 16 pounder from Wethersfield Cove

July 15th 2008: We deployed the CritterCam on a monster snapper weighing 39 pounds in Wethersfield Cove off the Connecticut River. The local media covered the event: The Hartford Courant ran a front-page feature article and produced this video. Channel 3 news also ran a story.

July 16th 2008: Jawless went out for his second trip which only lasted 20 minutes

July 17th 2008: Lafayette the 16 pound snapper took the CritterCam into the channel that connects Wethersfield cove to the CT river

July 21st editorial: Hartford Courant editorial

July 25th: Turtle's eye view: news report on footage from the maiden voyage of the CritterCam on a snapping turtle: Channel 3 news video clip and

Raw footage from "Jawless", the monster snapper from Wethersfield Cove, CT
Colin Carlson analyzing video footage in the lab
Snippy the Snapper from Shenipsit. Photo credit: Fred Bird


August 5th: Snippy the 24 pound Shenipsit Lake snapping turtle takes the crittercam for a spin... Channel 8 news video clip Several ABC news affiliates ran a piece produced by Channel 30 news

August 7th: The 2008 snapping turtle research team graduates! Channel 61 news video clip

August 12th: Reminder News story with pictures.

September 3rd WTNH Channel 8 news link to Snippy footage.

September 8th The nest we protected hatched babies!

October 17th UConn Advance article on Tobias and the snapping turtle project.

October 21st UConn's President Hogan blogs about the project

October 25th I spoke at the DVM meeting at UConn about the project!

November 11th Honors students in the research seminar learned about the project

February 2009 Northeast boating magazine ran a full page article about the project (click here for pdf)

February 19thThe UConn Biology Club hears about the project and gets a visit from a baby snapper

June 12th & 13th We are going to try a deployment at Connecticut BioBlitz in Keney Park in Hartford


Scientific Publication

Landberg, T., Carlson, C. J., Abernathy, K., Luginbuhl, C. Gemme, P. and Mergins, C. (2010) Natural History Notes: CHELYDRA SERPENTINA SERPENTINA L. (Eastern Snapping Turtle). SURVIVAL AFTER INJURY. Herpetological Review 41(1):70-71 Pdficon small.gif

Learn more at Colin's Analysis page

Back to Tobias' research page