This is a baby snapping turtle. Gregg and I were sitting on a bench on the boardwalk in Virginia Beach, looking at the ocean. I had brought a cup of coffee with me from the hotel foyer. Having finished it I was looking for a trash receptacle but realized that they had all been removed before the approaching storm. I had been holding onto it until I could throw it away back at the hotel.
A couple approached us and the lady asked me if I had finished with my drink and could she have the container. They explained they had found something and the husband showed me what he held in the palm of his hand. I asked is that a sea turtle? It was so small I couldn't tell. No, the lady said, sea turtles don't have a tail and she showed me the one on this little guy, as tiny as it was. She also said she was a trained wildlife rehabilitator and was going to take it to get some tender loving care before releasing it. They needed my empty cup to hold it. She thought it had been washed down from the ponds in the storm. I was happy to hand my empty cup over to her and off they went with one very lucky little snapper, and my knowledge had been expanded on how to identify a baby. Bigger ones are easier. If you click here you can read more about them. As cute as this one is they turn into something quite formidable and I would be very, very careful if I came across one.
I am linking this post with Michelle at Nature Notes
and Judith at Mosaic Monday here.