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Eastern Snapping Turtle

Chelydra serpentine serpentine


Adults are large with a smooth shell on top and serrated rear edge. Tail is long and saw-toothed. Head is massive and limbs are large and stout. Carapace is dark gray, brown, or olive; sometimes covered in algae. Plastron is small, light colored, and cross-shaped. Young have jagged carapace.



Carapace 10 – 19 inches


Common, Game Species

Similar Species

Alligator snapping turtle


An ambush predator but will also feed on live or deceased organisms. Fish, crawfish, amphibians, birds, reptiles, and mammals are consumed buy this species. This powerful turtle has been known to ambush young ducklings from below the water surface.


May be found in lakes, ponds, streams, ditches, swamps, or most any wetland. It favors muddy bottom water sources. Found statewide.


Active both day and night. Known to wonder on land for considerable distances, especially in spring. A strong turtle able to extend its neck toward the rear of its carapace in defense. This species may be active in the winter months below the icy surface.

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Eastern Snapping Turtle

Eastern Snapping Turtle

Eastern Snapping Turtle

Chelydra serpentine serpentine

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