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Snapping turtle
Common Name:

Snapping turtle

Scientific Name:

Chelydra serpentina

Unique Qualities:

As the name suggests, the snapping turtle commands respect. When disturbed, it does not hesitate to defend itself, but will strike with amazing speed and force. Because it is a large animal (weighing about 15 kg), its powerful jaws are capable of tearing flesh quite badly.

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Can be Seen:

Its range extends from Canada to Ecuador. In Ontario, Canada, it is found throughout most of the southern part of the province, and as far north as Thunder Bay and Lake Nipissing.

Likes to Hang Out:

The snapper lives in freshwater habitats, such as lakes, rivers and marshes. It prefers quiet or slow-moving waters, with a soft mud bottom and plenty of submerged plants.

Likes to Eat:

The snapping turtle is omnivorous (it eats both plants and animals). Animals eaten include earthworms, leeches, snails, insects, crayfish, fiddler crabs, frogs and toads; basically anything it can capture.


Snapping turtles are often killed as they try to cross roads. Also, snapping turtles are caught in traps set up by humans in the U.S. and Canada. Trapped turtles should not be eaten as many have toxic levels of PCBs in their tissue.

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