Chelydra serpentina

Common Names: Common snapping turtle
Category: Reptiles
Sub-category: Turtles

A large freshwater turtle of the family Chelydridae. These turtles have lived for up to 47 years in captivity, while the lifespan of wild individuals is estimated to be around 30 years. Snapping turtles are omnivores, consuming both plant and animal matter, and are important aquatic scavengers; but they are also active hunters that prey on anything they can swallow, including many invertebrates, fish, frogs, reptiles (including snakes and smaller turtles), unwary birds, and small mammals.

They have rugged, muscular builds with ridged carapaces (though ridges tend to be more pronounced in younger individuals). The carapace (upper shell) length in adulthood may be nearly 20 inches, 9.8 to 19 inches, is more common. They usually weigh 9.9 to 35 lbs.

Common habitats are shallow ponds, shallow lakes, or streams. Some may inhabit brackish environments, such as estuaries.

Edible Notes: Snapping turtle meat is edible and eaten more commonly in the southern United States. As an alternative, look for canned snapping turtle soup in gourmet food stores.
Warnings: Common snappers are noted for their belligerent disposition when out of the water, their powerful beak-like jaws, and their highly mobile head and neck. They are often aggressive and have a strong bite, capable of severing fingers and inflicting serious injury. Turtles, like all reptiles, commonly carry a risk of Salmonella on their skin and shells.