Snapping turtles stir local debate

Snapping turtles stir local debate

MIDDLEBURG — A local naturalist wants Middleburg officials to allow snapping turtles to stay in a local pond.

“It’s a healthy ecosystem, why not leave the snapping turtles alone?” said Rolf Helbig, of Mifflinburg, questioning why the borough is encouraging the removal of the snapping turtles from the 6-foot-deep pond across from Charles Park.

Snapping turtle season runs from July 1 through Oct. 31.

Middleburg Administrator Virginia Zeiber said the turtles, some of which are as large as a garbage can lid, land in the pond after flooding brings them in from the nearby Middlcreek eat ducklings and are a nuisance.

“People in the community like the ducks more than the snapping turtles,” she said.

Helbig disagrees and said the overpopulation of duck and geese is more of a problem.

“Let the snappers, and other predators, do their part in keeping the balance,” he said. “Nature left alone takes care of itself.”

Ashley Badger, of Mifflinburg, was surprised to learn there are snapping turtles in the pond, but wasn’t too worried as her 5-year-old son, Aiden, fed bread to the ducks nearby.

“It’s nature,” she said.