Common snapping turtle

About This Project

Its Latin name means “snake-like” turtle, and this turtle is aquatic. It has wide feet and powerful claws… Though it is highly mobile in water it is less at ease on land which explains why it often decides that attack is the best form of defence. And be careful: its powerful jaws can deliver a nasty bite…!

This turtle is an opportunist omnivore, eating live prey and also carrion and aquatic plants… in fact, anything that comes near its mouth!

Since this species is considered dangerous, you need to have a special licence to own one. Nevertheless, a few snapping turtles have been released into French rivers where they pose a threat to local wildlife… and people!

At La Barben, the snapping turtles share a terrarium with the spectacled caimans, where they co-exist quite happily.

Latin name: Chelydra serpentina
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Family: Chelydridae
Size: 20 to 45 cm
Weight: 4 to 16 kg
Lifespan: 30 years in the wild, 45 to 50 years in captivity.
Incubation: 10 to 15 weeks
Number of eggs: 20 to 40
Habitat: fresh or brackish water, with mud or vegetation to hide in.
Diet: carnivorous
Distribution: North and Central America.
Conservation status: Least Concern