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Common Snapping Turtle

Image: Wikipedia Creative Commons

Description: The Common Snapping Turtle is a large, aggressive turtle that can measure 18 inches in length and weigh up to 85 pounds. The Common Snapping Turtle is characterized by its powerful jaws, sharp beak and lack of teeth. Each of its webbed feet has five clawed toes. Coloration of these turtles varies. The carapace (shell) can be dark green, olive green, tan, or, black. Its skin can be yellowish, green, brown, gray, or black. The tail is long and crocodile-like. Common Snapping Turtles show little fear of people and will attack if provoked as it is too large to retreat into its shell. Their jaws are powerful enough to sever toes and fingers. Common Snapping Turtles are often observed on decks and lawns sunning themselves.

Diet: The Common Snapping Turtles is omnivorous and eats plants, fish, insects, frogs, birds, carrion, and small animals.

Habitat/Range: Snapping Turtles are found in freshwater ponds, lakes, streams and marshes throughout much of North America south of southern Canada and east of the Rocky Mountains, through much of Mexico, Central America and northern South America.

Breeding: Breeding occurs from April through November. The female will travel long distances to find sandy soil to deposit her 25-80 pinkish or whitish eggs. The eggs normally hatch between 9 and 18 weeks. As with many reptiles, the gender of the hatchlings is determined by the temperature, with more females produced in hotter temperatures and more males produced in cooler temperatures. Hatchlings born in wetter soils have longer incubation periods and are born larger than those in drier soils. Hatchlings may overwinter in the nest in cooler climates.

Status: Common Snapping Turtles remain numerous and stable.