Ferocious tiny sunfish attacks snapping turtle in her nest
Snapping turtles are large, fearsome looking creatures that live in lakes and rivers throughout North America. Although they are not vicious or aggressive when in the water, they do have large, powerful jaws and formidable claws. They would have no trouble snapping those jaws on a small sunfish or other creature. If they are approached on land, they become very defensive and appear willing to attack a human or other large animal. They are slow moving and vulnerable due to their lack of ability to escape. Most turtles are able to pull their head and limbs into their shells for protection and they will simply hide their most vulnerable parts when threatened. Snapping turtles cannot do this because their neck is too long and their head is too large. For this reason, their only means of defense is offence. They can inflict a painful bite, and they can even break the skin in some cases, although their jaws are not powerful enough to sever a finger or snap a broomstick, as the myths would suggest. Biologists report that their beaks are not sharp enough and their jaws are not powerful enough for this to be possible.
But in this case, the small sunfish that has excavated a nest in the sand has every reason to be afraid of the larger and more powerful turtle. Sunfish use their tails to sweep algae and debris from the bottom of the lake, creating a sandy bottom which is essential for laying eggs. They then protect their nests until the offspring hatch. This turtle had entered the fish's nursery and she was not going to let his size deter her. She lunged at him and bit his face, retreating quickly. The turtle obviously sensed that he was in for a fight and that he could not match her speed or agility. As he swims around the nest, she guards it protectively.
Such ferociousness in a tiny fish is very impressive indeed!