Posts Tagged ‘Pomona Statue Plaza Hotel’

Meet the “pond janitors” of New York City

July 2, 2012

Turtles have long inhabited the city’s ponds and estuaries.

But only one type, the cantankerous snapping turtle, has been dubbed the city’s “most successful native reptile.”

“Nearly every body of water, no matter how small, contains at least one snapping turtle,” states Wild New York, by Margaret Mittelbach and Michael Crewdson.

Not only do they thrive in ponds as well as salty waterways, these creatures been found in notoriously polluted areas, like Queens’ Newtown Creek.

Just don’t expect to see one sunning on a rock.

“Snapping turtles manage to keep a low profile by spending most of their time submerged,” write Mittelbach and Crewdson.

“Although they may snatch an occasional duckling or gosling, snapping turtles more commonly eat dead fish, expired frogs, aquatic vegetation, and even sandwiches dropped into the water.” Hence, “pond janitors.”

After surviving and adapting over the past 400 years, they’ve earned respect—and a place on some of the city’s fountains.

The sculpture above sits in a fountain at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza on East 47th Street.

Another sculpted snapper, at right, is carved into the base of the Pomona statue in front of the Plaza Hotel on Fifth Avenue and 59th Street.

[Top photo: Brian S. Padden; middle: Wally Gobetz]