I have done far more reading about Pokemon types than I ever thought I would, all in the name of choosing the most accurate elements for my #PokemonIRL species. I hesitated with the snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina) when I realized that there was no way to describe it that would be both accurate and flattering. I’ve met quite a few snapping turtles and while they are awesome creatures and absolutely worthy of our respect, they are often cranky on land. The snapper in the picture was on the road and we did our best to try and shepherd it along, but without any tools to do so safely, we basically waited until it decided to move along on its own and called it a win.
The Pokemon Database claims that Steel is the “strongest type defensively,” which made me think of the snapping turtle’s hard shell. The Fighting designation relates to its personality on land and the agility of its neck, which permits it to reach back to the sides of its shell where you might think you can safely hold it. Think again!
While the IUCN Red List designates the snapping turtle as Least Concern, it is important to note that a species’ distribution can vary greatly within its geographic range. Of significance is the fact that both the Canadian Species at Risk Act and the Ontario Endangered Species Act designate the snapping turtle as Special Concern. By the time a species is sufficiently assessed to be put on the IUCN Red List with a status other than Least Concern, it has most certainly been assessed as “at risk” at municipal, state or provincial, and/or federal levels. Thus, we must also pay attention to such local designations and support species conservation and preservation at the grassroots level. It is my sincere hope that the snapping turtle is never assessed by the IUCN as anything other than Least Concern.