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Snapping Turtle

Snapping Turtle (Chelydridae)Snapping Turtle (Chelydridae)Snapping Turtle (Chelydridae)Snapping Turtle (Chelydridae)Snapping Turtle (Chelydridae)Snapping Turtle (Chelydridae)Snapping Turtle (Chelydridae)Snapping Turtle (Chelydridae)Snapping Turtle (Chelydridae)
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Snapping Turtle Facts

Five groups that classify all living things
A group of animals within the animal kingdom
A group of animals within a pylum
A group of animals within a class
A group of animals within an order
A group of animals within a family
Scientific Name:
The name of the animal in science
The animal group that the species belongs to
What kind of foods the animal eats
How long (L) or tall (H) the animal is
47-80cm (18.5-31in)
The measurement of how heavy the animal is
16-136kg (35-300lbs)
Top Speed:
The fastest recorded speed of the animal
4km/h (2.4mph)
How long the animal lives for
20-32 years
Whether the animal is solitary or sociable
Conservation Status:
The likelihood of the animal becoming extinct
The colour of the animal's coat or markings
Brown, Tan, Black
Skin Type:
The protective layer of the animal
Favourite Food:
The preferred food of this animal
The specific area where the animal lives
Slow rivers, lakes and marshland
Average Litter Size:
The average number of babies born at once
Main Prey:
The food that the animal gains energy from
Fish, Birds, Frogs
Other animals that hunt and eat the animal
Human, Raccoon, Alligator
Special Features:
Characteristics unique to this animal
Powerful legs and strong jaw

Snapping Turtle Location

Map of Snapping Turtle Locations

Snapping Turtle

Snapping turtles are large aquatic freshwater reptiles that only live in North America. There are only two species of snapping turtle that still exist, which are the Common Snapping Turtle and the Alligator Snapping Turtle. The Common Snapping Turtle tends to live at higher latitudes than the Alligator.

Snapping turtles enjoy a wide variety of food and are often considered the top predator in their environment. The alligator snapping turtle's diet consists mainly of fish, which they lure using a pink worm-like appendage on the end of their tongue. Common snapping turtles are more active hunters and will eat just about anything.

Snapping turtles do not make good pets, usually, as they will never stop growing. The largest snapping turtles on record have weight records of around 600 lbs. Alligator snapping turtles have been known to grow even larger.

The Snapping turtle's main defence mechanism is their powerful snapping jaws, which enable them to make short work of attackers and small prey. They also have monstrous, thick claws on their front and back legs which they use to tear apart food and to climb hills each year where they lay their eggs (in a similar way to sea turtles).

The alligator snapping turtle is the largest freshwater turtle in North America, where it is generally found in the more southern waters of the United States. The smaller and more aggressive common snapping turtle inhabits lakes and streams from South America to Canada.

Snapping turtles spend nearly all of their lives in water, with typically only nesting females actually venturing onto open land. Snapping turtles can remain submerged underwater for up to three hours at a time.

Alligator snapping turtles and common snapping turtles have a very different looking appearances. The alligator snapping turtle has a long head and almost spiky shell, where the common snapping turtle has a more rounded head and a smoother shell. They are also easily distinguished by size as the common snapping turtle is smaller than the alligator snapping turtle.

Snapping turtle mating takes place once a year generally in the spring time. The female snapping turtle can lay anywhere from 10 to 50 eggs which take 3 or 4 months to hatch. It is thought that snapping turtles are capable of living until they are 150 years old but they typically live until they are between 20 and 50 years old in captivity.

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Snapping Turtle Comments

"This really helped me perform my seminar about snapping turtles to my local community of small turtles"
"snapping turtles are really good animals"
"Thank you it helped me with my report"
Leonard M. Labashi
"I loved this article about the snapping turtle, it really helped me with my 10 page essay!! But a recommendation for this site is to put a lot more fun facts about the snapping turtle:))"
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First Published: 17th November 2008, Last Updated: 10th September 2018

1. David Burnie, Dorling Kindersley (2008) Illustrated Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 17 Nov 2008]
2. David Burnie, Kingfisher (2011) The Kingfisher Animal Encyclopedia [Accessed at: 01 Jan 2011]
3. Dorling Kindersley (2006) Dorling Kindersley Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 17 Nov 2008]
4. Richard Mackay, University of California Press (2009) The Atlas Of Endangered Species [Accessed at: 01 Jan 2009]
5. Tom Jackson, Lorenz Books (2007) The World Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 17 Nov 2008]
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