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.