Common Snapping Turtle

Common Snapping


Chelydra serpentina 



It’s been said that in your eyes I am the ugliest, the most primitive and the most frightening looking of all turtles. It may be due to my long serrated tail and my big head. Furthermore, as I get older my shell becomes covered with a thick layer of green algae. It’s great camouflage, but not great for my appearance. Nevertheless, take a good look at me, I also have charming qualities!


My breastplate, in the form of a cross, does not fully cover the underside of my body. On land therefore, I am more vulnerable to attack, as I cannot hide my head and my legs in my shell. But I know how to defend myself. I have powerful jaws and an impressive reach. My neck is almost half the length of my shell. Best leave me alone!

I am the largest freshwater turtle in Québec, as well as one of the two species that are fairly common in the province. But I am rarely seen as I hardly come out of the water unlike my cousins who leave the water to bask in the sun on rocks, fallen trunks or banks.


Common Snapping Turtle



Shell Length M : 21 - 49,4 cm; F : 20 - 47 cm
Weight 4,5 - 16 kg


Record of 47 years in captivity, 28 to 40 years in the wild


Aquatic zones with stagnant water and muddy bottoms, rivers, lakes, swamps, even ditches


Fish, amphibians, molluscs, crustaceans, ducklings, carrion


1 clutch per year; 6 to 104 eggs, average of 20 to 40

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