Snapping Turtle Attack Leads to Duckling Rescue Effort in Central Park (Update: Ducklings Saved!)

By Alex Israel

On Tuesday, local birders shared reports of an adorable mallard duck family swimming around the Central Park Pool, a pond on the park’s northwest end at 102nd Street. Just a day later, the reports turned dark: the mother had been killed in a snapping turtle attack, leaving the five ducklings to fend for themselves.

On Wednesday evening, Central Park’s Urban Park Rangers attempted to rescue the ducklings to no avail, according to local resident Sanaz Nosrat, who posted updates about the family on Twitter throughout the day. While some were worried the young mallards might not survive the night, one local birder found them again the next morning.

A second rescue attempt began Thursday morning, according to Manhattan Bird Alert, a Twitter account that provides bird news and sightings throughout the city. Rangers are first attempting to lure the ducks with duck feed, and plan to bring a kayak out if this method fails.

If caught, Urban Park Rangers will bring the ducklings to the Wild Bird Fund—the only animal rehabilitation facility in the city—to ride out adolescence, until they are big enough to take care of themselves after about 45 days, Manhattan Bird Alert tweeted.

The rangers will be back in the afternoon.

Update: On Thursday afternoon, a parks ranger netted the ducklings and they’re off to the Wild Bird Fund!

Snapping turtle egg-laying season is just kicking off, so should they survive the ordeal, the young mallards will be poised to seek any revenge between August and October, when turtle hatchlings emerge. We will monitor this story and update as we learn more.

NEWS, OUTDOORS | 13 comments | permalink
    1. STAN says:

      whatever happened to the multi colored duck that was so popular for a few months last year

    2. Ruben Giron says:

      Thanks so much for posting. I was the one who originally called the Park Rangers to notify them of what had happened. It was terrible seeing the mother mallard duck being tugged under from below but this turtle and then go limp. This was early Wednesday morning around 8:30am. Such a sad way to start my day. I’m praying that the ducklings can be rescued.

    3. Sadly the little duckies don’t have much of a chance between the raccoons the feral cats the enormous rats that we have all seen. Snapping turtles will eat anything they can easily take a person’s finger off they I have a place in the wild but I don’t think that that small pond is good for all the other Critters trying to survive there

    4. Stan Froud says:

      Seems a bit far-fetched.

      An adult mallard is far too big to form a meal for a Central Park snapping turtle.

      Isn’t there more to this story?


      • Suzie E says:

        I’ve seen a snapping turtle walking along the path near Turtle Pond that was at least 15 inches long. And all a turtle would need to do is grab a leg and hold the duck under water till it drowns. We human tend to take the side of soft and pretty animals, but not Mother “Nature, red of tooth and claw…”

    5. Lindsay Freda says:

      Ducklings are safe and sound at The Wild Bird Fund. I’m sure they welcome donations to provide for their care and all the other avian souls they take under their wing.

    6. RDF says:

      While I love the fact of coverage of stories like this, and for the most part it’s fine, IMO there was no need for the jest at the end that the duckling could well revenge on the snapping turtle hatchlings. While it’s a Slightly funny thought, no need here for the article. Humans seem to be the only critter that actively seek revenge on others.

    7. Michael G says:

      A quick Google Translate search reveals that “quack quaaack” means REVENGE!

    8. Robert says:

      Turtles need to eat too. You’ve all seen the videos of birds plucking baby turtles off the sand after being hatched on the way to the water. #turtleslivesmatter

    9. luke says:

      news report on snapping turtle vs duck

    10. Upperwestsidewally says:

      It’s called ‘nature’, folks.

    11. Glenn & Lenore Richter says:

      Saw ducklings with mother two Saturdays ago. Hope the little ones will grow up healthy and safe.