Once again, our friends at Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks have asked us to spread the word on a critter that doesn't belong in our part of Montana.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is asking for help from the public in reporting snapping turtle sightings in west-central Montana. In Montana, snapping turtles are a native species east of the continental divide, but they are non-native west of the divide and can cause significant harm to native populations of pond-dwelling species like frogs, turtles, snakes, ducks, and fish.

Back in 2018, FWP received a report of a snapping turtle in a backwater at Milltown State Park just east of Missoula, but so far biologists have been unable to locate this animal again. Snapping turtles likely end up in waterways in western Montana through illegal releases of animals kept as pets.

FWP would like to get a better sense of areas where snapping turtles may be living so biologists and managers can work to minimize the potential negative impacts. FWP is primarily concerned with snapping turtle sightings in the Clark Fork, Bitterroot and Blackfoot watersheds. It is rare that FWP receives a report of a snapping turtle in these areas, but even a few reports can provide important information for planning and prevention.

So, if you see a snapping turtle or hear reports of one, please contact FWP’s nongame wildlife biologist, Torrey Ritter, at 406-542-5551 or torrey.ritter@mt.gov.

And watch that you don't get too close with your fingers!