Common Snapping Turtle

Scientific Name Chelydra serpentina

Native To South Eastern Canada

Habitat freshwater rivers, lakes, or ponds

Diet Omnivorous. Aquatic vegetation, animal matter; insects, crustaceans, mice, small lizards

Size and Age Average length of 20-37cm, weight of 4.5-16kg. Average lifespan is 60-100 years old.

Natural History

The Common Snapping Turtle is often found lying at the bottom of a shallow body of water immersed in the mud. Despite being a capable swimmer, the Common Snapping Turtle tends to move by walking along the bottom of the pond. This turtle is an omnivorous reptile, with an extremely varied diet. While juvenile Snapping Turtles actively forage for food, adults tend to sit and wait to ambush prey that swim past. Snapping Turtles are famously known for the strength of their bite. This feature assists with the tearing and chewing of prey, and is cable of snapping a broom stick in half.

Least Concern

Conservation Status

The issue of habitat destruction is being pushed aside for new roads and communities to be built. During nesting season Snapping Turtle have been known to wander to find the perfect nest place. More often than not these reptiles are wandering across streets and being run over by traffic. Although a turtles shell is strong, it is not strong enough to withstand being run over by a car. National Park protection is a major contribution to fixing this issue and ensure that there are habitats for wildlife to live in safely. Recycling and other forms of clean up can also help the environment in several different ways, making a positive impact on the animals in the wild.

Interesting Facts

  1. Snapping Turtles are ectothermic, meaning they cannot regulate their own body temperature.
  2. Turtles cannot come out of their shell because their spine and ribs are fused to their shell
  3. A Snapping Turtles “snap” or “bite” is strong enough to bite through a broom stick!
  4. The Common Snapping Turtle is Canada’s largest freshwater turtle.
  5. The gender of baby turtles can be determined by the temperature the eggs are incubated at. Eggs that are kept at a temperature of 23-28°C hatch male turtles; eggs incubated at other temperatures hatch into females.
  6. Juan’s favourite past time is sleeping!