Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Snapping turtles finding refuge in urban areas while habitats are being polluted

Date:
August 27, 2013
Source:
University of Missouri-Columbia
Summary:
Snapping turtles are surviving in urban areas as their natural habitats are being polluted or developed for construction projects. One solution is for people to stop using so many chemicals that are eventually dumped into the waterways, a scientist said.

Snapping turtles are animals that can live in almost any aquatic habitat as long as their basic needs for survival are met.
Credit: Bill Peterman/University of Missouri

In the Midwest, some people have a fear of encountering snapping turtles while swimming in local ponds, lakes and rivers. Now in a new study, a University of Missouri researcher has found that snapping turtles are surviving in urban areas as their natural habitats are being polluted or developed for construction projects. One solution is for people to stop using so many chemicals that are eventually dumped into the waterways, the scientist said.

Related Articles


"Snapping turtles are animals that can live in almost any aquatic habitat as long as their basic needs for survival are met," said Bill Peterman, a post-doctoral researcher in the Division of Biological Sciences at MU. "Unfortunately, suitable aquatic habitats for turtles are being degraded by pollution or completely lost due to development. We found that snapping turtles can persist in urbanized areas, despite the potential for more interaction with humans."

Peterman said that reducing negative inputs, such as waste and harmful chemicals, into waterways will help restore snapping turtles' habitats. Engaging in this type of environmental action also will increase biodiversity in those habitats and improve the quality of life to all species that call those habitats home.

However, even though turtles are living in urban areas, Peterman says people have nothing to fear.

"Everyone has a snapping turtle story, but some are just too far-fetched and lead to false accusations," Peterman said. "In reality, snapping turtles aren't aggressive animals and won't bite unless they are provoked. So, if you should happen to see one around your property, simply leave it alone and let it go about its business."

The study took place in the Central Canal that flows through urban Indianapolis; researchers used tracking devices on large snapping turtles to monitor turtle movements. Peterman and his colleagues found that snapping turtles used all parts of the Central Canal, but were particularly dependent upon forested areas.

"While we didn't study whether the snapping turtle populations were increasing or decreasing, we regularly saw hatchling and juvenile snapping turtles," Peterman said. "Snapping turtles may not be the first animals that come to mind when thinking about urban wildlife, but if we continue to improve waterways in more places, such as big cities, than the species can coexist peacefully."

The study, "Movement and Habitat Use of the Snapping Turtle in an Urban Landscape, was published in Urban Ecosystems, and was co-authored by Travis Ryan, associate professor and chair of the Department of Biological Science at Butler University; Jessica Stephens, from the Department of Plant Biology at the University of Georgia-Athens; and Sean Sterrett, from the School of Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Georgia-Athens. This study is part of ongoing research in urban ecology, conducted through Butler University's Center for Urban Ecology.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Missouri-Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Travis J. Ryan, William E. Peterman, Jessica D. Stephens, Sean C. Sterrett. Movement and habitat use of the snapping turtle in an urban landscape. Urban Ecosystems, 2013; DOI: 10.1007/s11252-013-0324-1

Cite This Page:

University of Missouri-Columbia. "Snapping turtles finding refuge in urban areas while habitats are being polluted." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 August 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130827135016.htm>.
University of Missouri-Columbia. (2013, August 27). Snapping turtles finding refuge in urban areas while habitats are being polluted. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130827135016.htm
University of Missouri-Columbia. "Snapping turtles finding refuge in urban areas while habitats are being polluted." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130827135016.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) Price check on honey? Bear cub startles Oregon drugstore shoppers. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins