Snapping turtles spotted in Central Park

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Meteorologist Amy Freeze has the story.

You never know what you might see or find in Central Park, but lately people have been seeing a lot of snapping turtles.

The reptiles have been emerging from the ponds in recent weeks.

The species is older than dinosaurs, and there are at least 15 of them.

They are not the same as every red eared slider turtles that frequently pop their head at the surface. Snapping turtles are more of scavengers within the ponds, but this time of year they come out of the water looking to make a nest.

"The females will begin excavating to make nests, snapping turtles lay 22 to 40 ping-pong size eggs," said Jonathan Kovacs, Central Park Ranger.

For Eleanor who's lived in Harlem and walked this area for 45 years, it's one of those moments to catch you off-guard!!

"I believe she was having babies," Eleanor said. "They usually don't come out much. She was pregnant, eventually they did get her."

The New York Natural History Council says snapping turtles may have a bad rap, but they only hiss and snap because they cannot retract into their shells.

They are actually a critical part of the park ecosystem, working as scavengers.

Unfortunately, this population has been diminished due to poachers stealing the turtles to sell at fish markets.

"Just enjoy them from a distance, let them do their thing, and be happy to appreciate the abundance of nature in the city," Kovacs said.

Snapping turtles are building their nests all over the tri-state right now and they're the most active during a full moon. The next one is June 24th.

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petsturtlescentral parkanimalNew York City
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