Snapping Turtles

Snapping turtles are a common neighbor of nesting loons. In fact, the best nest sites often coincide with the best snapper foraging areas. The loons want a small, dry lump of land away from the shoreline and difficult to be reached by terrestrial predators, such as raccoons. Anywhere you find these conditions you’re apt to find shallow, weedy water: the perfect habitat for the prey of snapping turtles. Here we see a snapper patrolling the area while the loons wait for the water level to drop and expose the nest.
You might think this is a threat to the loons and their nest, but a snapper usually knows better than to mess with an adult loon. Their sharp bill and quick reflexes can inflict serious injury to a turtle. Here’s a video from last season, showing a nesting loon staring down a snapping turtle.
On the other hand, loon chicks are vulnerable to snapping turtle predation. This is one important reason why a chick is able to swim within hours of hatching and why the loons leave the nest area to brood chicks elswhere.