facts about snapping turtle

13 Interesting Facts About Snapping Turtles

If you like to read some interesting facts about snapping turtles, you’ve come to the right place. 

The Snapping turtle seems to be one of the most unique species of turtles. With its prehistoric appearance, unusual behavior, and astonishing strong bite, it’s one of the most amazing animals I’ve ever heard of. 

In this article, we’ll cover a lot of fun facts about these animals that you’ve might never be heard of before. Here is the list of the most amazing facts about snapping turtles. 

1. Types of snapping turtles 

The two most popular types of snapping turtles (common and alligator snapping turtle), that we know today, belong in a larger family of turtles, called Chelydridae. In this particular family, there are seven extinct and two extant genera. 

Those two extant genera are the Chelydra and the Macrochelys. The common snapping turtle belongs in the Chelydra genus, and the alligator snapping turtle belongs in the Macrochelys genus. 

2. Snapping turtles can be kept as pets

Did you know that people keep snapping turtles as pets? Even though they are not the common pet turtles you’ll find in a store, people still keep them at their homes. However, be aware! 

Snapping turtles are not ordinary pets. They need special requirements and conditions that not many hobbyists can meet. If you are interested in these animals, and you want to keep them, check out our full guide on that subject: Keeping Snapping Turtles as Pets

3. Snapping turtle habitat

Snapping turtles are restricted only to America. 

The common snapping turtle inhabits a wide range of areas from southeastern Canada to Nova Scotia and Florida. 

The alligator snapping turtle mostly inhabits the southeastern United States waters, primarily found in Florida, Texas, and Kansas. 

4. Origin of the name

The name Alligator snapping turtle comes from the powerful jaws these turtles have, and the ridges of their shells that resemble alligator skin. 

5. Snapping turtles can eat other turtles 

Snapping turtles will eat almost everything they can catch, including other types of turtles. 

According to a study conducted in Louisiana, 79.8 % of the stomach of alligator snapping turtle consists of parts from other turtles. 

6. The Alligator Snapping Turtle is the largest freshwater turtle

The alligator snapping turtle is known as the largest freshwater species of turtles. There is a lot of information about the size a snapping turtle can get, although most of them remain unverified. According to some sources, the biggest snapping turtle that ever lived was an alligator snapping turtle. found in Kansas. It had weighed 183 kg ( 403lb). 

7. Snapping Turtles have a strong bite 

Snapping turtles are known by their powerful jaws. The power of force a bite of a common snapping turtle can generate is up to 658 newtons. 

8. The common snapping turtle was featured in famous American political cartoon 

The common snapping turtle featured in an American political cartoon, published in the 19th century. It was considered as a protest against Thomas Jefferson’s Embargo Act of 1807.

9. Never pick up a snapping turtle by its tail

When people see a baby snapping turtle in trouble, and try to help it, they often do by picking it up by its tail. However, that’s not the appropriate approach. If you do that, there is a big chance of you hurting the turtle by injuring its vertebral column. Instead, pick it up by holding its shell edges. 

10. Some people eat snapping turtles 

Did you know that some people in the United States use the common snapping turtle as an ingredient to make a turtle soup?

In fact, in Philadelphia, the snapping turtle soup is a part of their traditional cuisine. While I’ll never eat turtle soup, mainly because of the environmental pollutants in the turtle’s body, there still will be people that enjoy eating this exotic delicacy. 

Fun fact: William Howard Taft, a former U.S. President was a fan of this particular turtle soup. He even brought a chef in the White House, specialized in making this turtle soup. 

11. They have a surprisingly long lifespan

It’s common knowledge that turtles have a long lifespan. But, how long do snapping turtles live? Well, it’s not really verified, but scientists believe that the common snapping turtle can live up to 100 years, and the alligator snapping turtle up to a surprisingly 200 years. 

12. The common snapping turtle is New York’s official state reptile

You can say that the common snapping turtle is a kind of a famous animal. In 2006, these types of turtles were declared as the state reptile of New York. They were chosen by the state’s elementary school children. 

13. Snapping turtles can’t retreat into their shells

Unlike other species of turtles, the snapping turtle can’t retreat into its shell. It’s believed that with time the snapping turtle has evolved, and nowadays, it doesn’t need to hide into the shell when danger occurs. However, even though, these animals are large and dangerous, they still feel vulnerable on land. That’s the reason why they bite. It’s a part of their defense mechanism. 

Final Thoughts 

I hope you enjoyed reading this article and you learn new facts about snapping turtles that you’ve never heard of before. These animals are truly one of a kind. 

I mean, how often can you witness an ancient-looking creature that’s not extinct. 

Now, I’d like to hear from you!

What’s the most interesting fact about the snapping turtle you know? Let me know in the comments below!

1 thought on “13 Interesting Facts About Snapping Turtles”

  1. This morning I witnessed 2 snapping turtles on the surface of the water. One was on top of the other and seemed to be gripping the other. Each head was sometimes above water. And each head was at the tail of the other. What could have been going on with these two ?

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