On Monday, June 8, the Pierre Police Department was called out for two separate wildlife situations.
“We had a snapping turtle crossing,” said Farley Zuber, animal control officer with the department. A turtle was reported on Capital Avenue. “The crossing of turtles on the streets is not real common, one call a month probably during the summer. We take them back to the lake (Capital Lake) or to the river.”
Any incidents seem to be a little more common after a series of warmer days. “The lake becomes a little warm for the turtles, maybe, this time of year. They are probably headed (through the gullies and water runway) to the river. Sometimes they get disoriented and get up onto the road,” Zuber said.
The public should be wary of snapping turtles. “They definitely can do some damage, if they get a hold of you,” Zuber said. “Call someone, the police department, if you don’t know how, or just if you aren’t used to handling them. Honestly, I grab them by the tail. Don’t get around the head at all. And, they have sharp claws as well, and they can get you with those.”
This particular snapping turtle, a fairly young one, had an approximate 10 inch diameter shell. It was taken back and put into the lake.
Later the same day, a call came into the department concerning a possible rattlesnake.
“It was reported as a rattlesnake, but it turned out to be a large bull snake. Bull snakes are captured and transported to the country to be released. Rattlesnakes are disposed of,” Zuber said. “There are not a lot of incidents within city limits per year. Snakes are not commonly seen during the heat of the day. When they are seen in town, it is usually during a drier season, rather than when the area has had all the moisture such as with this year.”