Free Range Ducks - Possible death due to injury from alligator or snapping turtle?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by texasjenn, May 22, 2012.

  1. texasjenn

    texasjenn In the Brooder

    Sep 18, 2011
    We have 3 adult pekin ducks and they are fairly free range...We have had them since October and they were penned for about a month then we let them out onto our pond. The pond is about 3/4 acres...the ducks love it! We know we have snapping turtles in the pond but so far we have only had one run in when one of the ladies (Gracie) showed up with a torn back portion of her foot. She healed up in a few days and up until this weekend that had been the only injury. We do have a plan to get rid of the turtles and currently working on the traps.

    This past Friday we came home in the afternoon and the drake, George, was sitting along the little patch that goes around the pond and appeared to be injured. We had left that morning and all the ducks were happy and healthy. We were not able to capture him and did see that the webbing on his foot was shredded and one of his toes was mauled. He was still swimming around fine and fairly active the first couple days. We were able to capture him Sunday afternoon and put him in our makeshift duck house and was able to clean and treat his foot. He let us pick him up and we didn't see any other visible injuries or blood. We figured the resident snapping turtle got to him.....

    Well today we came home and he had died (probably about 6 hours after we last saw him alive) ... :( When I picked him to place him in a box I noticed a patch of feathers near where his thigh (if ducks had them) would be and saw an open wound that was grey and full of maggots. This surprised me since I didn't notice any injuries or blood all the other times I picked him up. I also turned him over and he had the same wound on the other thigh side and where his vent was. Same thing...just gray matter, very smelly, and full of maggots.

    I am not super experienced with duck injuries but also was mad at myself that I could have missed such large wounds when handling him....unless they started small and got worse over the course of a few days. I am also not sure if they could have come about after he died.....

    Anyways now the local wildlife vet has mentioned that we may possibly have a small alligator in the pond since she says his foot wound sounded more like a large animal bite then a snapping turtle. She said that turtles usually snip off a foot or toe - basically a clean wound - rather than shred the foot and webbing. Also if the wounds on his sides were there before he died then it seems more likely that something other than a turtle did the damage....

    So anyone have any experience with alligators and/or turtles killing/injuring ducks? The wildlife vet may take a look at him in a few days (he is in our deep freezer boxed up until we can bury him) and so she may be able to shed more light on the injuries....for now though I am feeling really bad that he didn't make it....
    Last edited: May 22, 2012
  2. CelticOaksFarm

    CelticOaksFarm Family owned, family run

    Sep 7, 2009
    Florida - Space Coast
    Gators will grab and rip and yes turtle tend to make a cleaner bite removing toes or the entire foot.
  3. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia John 3:16

    I hope you have the other 2 off the pond till you figure out what happened to George. I am so sorry for your loss.. And [​IMG]
  4. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Crowing

    May 24, 2011
    On, Canada
    I agree, with those sorts of predators it'll only be a matter of time before something else happens. I am sorry you lost one. Thankfully, we have no gators here and the river is too far for my birds to go to let alone even know it exists.
  5. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia John 3:16

    We have a mountain river about 300 ft from our home, thank goodness we sit high because it does flood. But when we had a major flood back in 2004 I found a huge snapping turtle that got lifted up out of the river and was sitting on the dirt road down from our house now I did help that turtle get back to the river but I had no idea snappers lived in our fast flowing river till then. Some of my ducks came from that river being dumped there by who knows, but they don't go to the river even though they could just walk down there if they wanted to. I have never encouraged them to go matter of fact they wouldn't last the night if they did with the preds we have, But I do know there are even large mouth bass that can eat ducklings so even though I always envy those who have a nice pond I am grateful I don't have another thing to worry over my ducks about.
  6. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Crowing

    May 24, 2011
    On, Canada
    Years ago we found a snapper down back by the horses.. we just about died, it was HUGE... huge, huge.. we wheel barrow-ed(which it almost filled entirely) it back to the river .. thank goodness we have never seen another.. it was obviously lost.. i shudder to even think the damage it could have done.
  7. GoneQuackers

    GoneQuackers In the Brooder

    May 6, 2012
    Almost Heaven WV
  8. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia John 3:16

    If they can see it they will find it, thankfully our river sits below our home and we are surrounded by woods so it's not like they can just take off and walk to it. At one time when some of the drakes were still down there before we brought them home , I would weed eat a path to walk down to the river soI could feed them and spend time with them, but I have let it all grow back now so it isn't so inviting to them. They could easily walk down if they wanted and years ago a few did follow the drake down there but not in the last couple years. They seem pretty content to stay here and eat,sleep and play in the pools we have set up for them. I don't know if there is a way to keep them from finding your creek unless it isn't easy acsess from your house.
  9. coffeebean

    coffeebean Hatching

    Jun 17, 2009
    Texas Jean -

    Did you ever determine what got your Peking duck? I am asking as I have had the exact same type wound happen today to my Peking. I suspected a snapper but then I read your post.

    Please let me know if your vet ever determined what it may have been.

    Thank you.

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