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Snapping Turtle   

Chelydra serpentina

Commonly Confused Native Species:


  • Often Not Confused with other Species



Size:                  A large sized turtle measuring 8 to 18+ inches in length

                           (SLC) and weighing 45+ pounds. 


Color:                The carapace is brownish-black and can be covered with

                            algae and/or mud. Carapace scutes are slightly keeled

                            with serrated posterior marginal scutes. The plastron is

                            light tan-yellow in color and reduced in size, resembling

                            a cross-like shape. Large head and tail, tail with saw-like



Behavior:          Snapping turtles spend the majority of their time in the

                            water.  Females come into terrestrial habitats to lay eggs

                            in late May and June, when they are often seen crossing

                            roadways.  Snapping turtles are docile except when

                            handled where they are quick to bite.  Persons without

                            experience should not attempt to handle or maneuver

                            snapping turtles across roads.  Never pickup snapping

                            turtles by their tails, as this may cause serious spinal

                            injury to the animal.              


Habitat:              Aquatic habitats across the state including lakes, ponds,

                            rivers, streams, wetlands and coastal waters.   Snapping

                            turtles are tolerant of many polluted waters.       


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