Friday, May 28, 2010

Snapping Turtle

The largest turtle that we see here in Minnesota is the common snapping turtle. The common snapper can reach weights of around 50 pounds. The only turtle in North America that is larger, not counting sea turtles of course, is its cousin the alligator snapping turtle.
Snappers are a highly aquatic species. They can be found in almost any types of habitat where there is a permanent water sources, such as ponds, lakes, and slow moving rivers or streams. They are omnivores eating a variety of plants as well as fish, amphibians, invertebrates, aquatic insects and carrion. They are ambush hunters who sit motionless in the water waiting for unsuspecting prey to swim by. They eat while they are submerged under water this allows the water pressure to aid them in swallowing.
Snappers are crepuscular, which means that they are most active at dusk and down. In the water they are usually shy and will retreat from any danger, although they have very few predators in the wild. Approximately each June female snappers leave the water in search of a place to lay her eggs. This is one of the few times that you can find snappers on land. When they are out of the water snappers are very foul tempered and can be quite dangerous. Since they can not retreat back into their shell, the way that many other turtles do, they defend themselves by lunging forward and biting with their very powerful jaws. Although they are slow while on land they can still strike very quickly their neck stretching out around half of the distance of their shell.

7 comments:

Susan said...

Your snapper is much cleaner than mine that I wrote about yesterday too.Do you know how to tell how old they are?

Living In Williamsburg Virginia said...

Great shot and interesting info.

Darryl and Ruth : )

Hootin' Anni said...

Fabulous....love the last shot because the eye really shows up well.

My Camera Critters are 'museum quality'....Click Here to join me if you'd like to view them.

Michael said...

Nice shots. Thanks for the info too. Also top marks for getting to use one of my favourite words: crepuscular. :)

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Nice captures of this great looking Snapper. I have come across several in the past 3 weeks here in KY. I have taken them from the road, by flipping them on their backs at the tail end and then after a few flips, they get the idea and head away from danger...at least while I am near. Wonder if mine were females, looking for a place to lay eggs...

Janie said...

She looks harmless enough, but I know their jaws are dangerous!
Thanks for the interesting info on these turtles.

eileeninmd said...

Cool shots of the snapping turtle.