Florida Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina osceola)

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The Florida Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina osceola) is related to the Common Snapping Turtle.  It is only found in Florida and Georgia.  This is a dangerous turtle.  It can grow to 17 inches long and weigh 45 pounds.  Its tail is almost as long as his shell and it has saw-edges along the top of the tail.  The shell also has rough points down the middle.  The shell is tan to dark brown and may have green algae growing on it. 

NEVER TOUCH A SNAPPING TURTLE.  Their jaws are strong and they will snap very quickly.  One snap could bite off a finger.  So leave them alone!   They’ll eat almost anything:  water bugs, fish, lizards, small birds, mice, plants, and even dead animals.  Snapping turtles live in ponds under the shadows.  They don’t like to rest in the sun like most turtles.  Instead, they dig into the mud on the bottom of the pond with only their eyes and nose showing.   They are extremely fast swimmers, but if you leave them alone, they’ll usually leave you alone


Behler, John L. And F. Wayne King. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles & Amphibians. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1992.
Conant, Roger and Joseph Williams. Reptiles and Amphibians. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1991.

Provided by the Pelotes Island Nature Preserve

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