Written by: Len Harris
Photos by: Len Harris
I was walking stream side the middle of April and I ran upon a HUGE snapping turtle sunning itself. I estimate
the turtle's weight at 30 pounds. I had never seen such a HUGE snapper close up. My camera was out instantly.
I determined this turtle to be between 20 and 30 years old from data I researched on the internet later. The world record common
snapper was 86 pounds. Common snapping turtles take their scientific name (Chelydra serpentina) from their long snake
I attempted to roll the turtle over on its back to take a photo of its underside. It was not happy with my first attempt.
After three attempts I got it on its back and bent down to take this photo. I glad I did NOT get any closer to the
turtle. I was kneeling to get a good photo and the turtle righted itself almost immediately and took two steps towards me.
I quickly backed up.
More research found that Snapping Turtles have legendary reputations for their powerful bites.
Human Bite: 120 pounds pressure
Great White Shark: 600 pounds pressure
Domestic Dog: 315 pounds pressure
Snapping Turtle: 1,000 pounds pressure
Snappers are also opportunistic feeders meaning that they'll eat anything they can overpower and swallow.
While their principal prey are crayfish, fish, and aquatic larvae of all kinds they have also been observed
eating baby ducks, snakes, small mammals and even smaller snapping turtles.
My curiosity got the best of me and wanted to test the bite of the snapper. I witnessed that snapping turtles
close their eyes when they snap to protect their eyes. Every little stick in the area was shredded by this
More research revealed this snapper to be a MALE snapper. The 2 determining factors on male or female are
the girth of the tail at the shell. Wider tail at shell means male. The distance of the waste disposal unit on the
tail is the over riding determination on male or female. The further down the tail it is....The more likely it is a Male snapper