UPDATED 7/11/2015: Added map from 2005 National Park Service report showing 29 sites where snapping turtles were found in Acadia and excerpts from conclusion, along with link to full report. And also created a new Anecdata project, Wildlife Sightings in Acadia National Park.
Perhaps you’ve seen a snapping turtle on the trails of Acadia National Park or along the roads of Mount Desert Island this time of year, and wondered if it was a female looking for soft sand or gravel to lay her eggs.
Or maybe you’ve seen a snapper sunning itself on a rock, or a baby turtle making its way toward water, and wondered if such sightings are common.
Now there’s a citizen science database with a snapping turtle project to satisfy your curiosity, as well as to allow you to upload photos and document observations of the reptiles, or of any other aspect of the natural world on Mount Desert Island and beyond.
Anecdata.org, developed by MDI Biological Laboratory’s Community Environmental Health Lab (CEHL), allows crowd-sourcing of data to better create a picture of the changing environment, whether it involves eelgrass, wastewater outfall, the MDI coastline or snapping turtles.
“What I like most about citizen science is that it fundamentally shifts the balance of information, and therefore the balance of power in the favor of ordinary people – in this period of climate change, I think this is extremely important,” said Duncan Bailey, lead developer of Anecdata, which is so new, it is still being beta tested.
So far, the snapping turtle project has 8 contributors with 9 photos, including 2 that we at Acadia on My Mind recently uploaded, of a snapper sunning itself on a rock off the shores of Lower Hadlock Pond, and of a baby turtle near Hadlock Brook.
The project isn’t limited to Mount Desert Island, although Anecdata is based there. One spectacular close-up photo of a snapper by the side of the road was taken in May in Brooksville, ME, by a citizen scientist going by the screen name Acadia. The project lead, going by the screen name NUMAHA, said he came up with the idea because “I wanted to find out where the snapping turtles in Maine are because I think more of them are being killed.”