Snapping Turtle

Radhani Kapoor

Student

The Snapping Turtle, also called Chelydra serpentina, lives in southern USA and parts of Canada. It lives in slow and shallow moving waters with muddy bottoms and lots of plants to hide in or at the edges of big lakes. The turtle is an omnivore, and it eats mostly insects, fish, birds, small mammals, and aquatic plants. Snapping turtles are eight to eighteen inches long and have tan, dark brown or black shells. They weigh between 10 to 35 pounds, and have sharp teeth and claws. Unlike other turtles, snapping turtles have relatively small plastrons, protective shells under the turtles, which mean that the turtles cannot tuck into their shells to hide from predators. Luckily, once grown, the turtles do not have many predators, and their aggressive nature makes up for their lack of protective covering. When newly hatched, these turtles are eaten by other mature turtles, birds, snakes, and mammals, causing many of the turtles to be eaten or killed while young. 

Snapping turtles spend most of their time in the water, coming out only to lay their eggs or cross land to get to a new body of water. These turtles live alone because their aggressive nature makes it hard for them to live and hunt in groups. They communicate with their mates by leg movements, but after mating, they separate from their mates as well. The turtles heightened senses allow them to easily find prey, and when hunting, they hide in mud with only their noses and eyes visible. When their prey passes by, the turtles snap their mouth around the animal and easily cut through their skin, quickly killing the prey. Their preying method is similar to that of an alligator, they slowly approach prey and then quickly lunge at it, giving them their name of snapping turtle. ​Snapping turtles spend most of their time in the water, coming out only to lay their eggs or cross land to get to a new body of water. These turtles live alone because their aggressive nature makes it hard for them to live and hunt in groups. They communicate with their mates by leg movements, but after mating, they separate from their mates as well. The turtles heightened senses allow them to easily find prey, and when hunting, they hide in mud with only their noses and eyes visible. When their prey passes by, the turtles snap their mouth around the animal and easily cut through their skin, quickly killing the prey. Their preying method is similar to that of an alligator, they slowly approach prey and then quickly lunge at it, giving them their name of snapping turtle.

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