Abraham is a snapping turtle whom lives in Round Valley Reservoir (or at least he did in 2012). The first time I met him, he was just coming up from the water after copulating with his female snapper. I had never seen a live snapping turtle that large before, only in photos, so I snapped away with my camera. His mate eventually swam away. Abraham looked up at me with his tooth-like beak as if he were smiling. He became a favorite of mine. What I had come to know later was that snapping turtles only mate once a year between April to November. Abraham had gotten a jump on things, this was April.
Abraham continued to amaze me. After visiting him on several ocassions I came to realize he had a fatherly/grand-fatherly relationsip with the other breeds of turtles – painted and red-bellied. He would allow them to climb on his back and go for rides.
Sometimes I would see him far out in the middle of the reservoir carrying a smaller breed on her back.
I always could tell Abraham apart from the other snappers due to his neck discoloration, which I believe was a horrible fungal infection. I would see him swimming, sleeping, or coming up for air to smile. Abraham lived in the low water swamp, which was warmer and probably had an ample food supply. Unfortunately, snappers eat another favorite of mine, ducks, especially baby ducks.
One day I saw two snapping turtle carcasses in the area where he resided and I got nervous. My other friends were there – the Turkey Vultures, but that will be the next post. Within a week I saw Abraham swimming in the waters and found relief. From what I could determine it had been a territorial dispute that ended in two deaths on the small dunes by the reeds.