Snapping turtles live in shallow freshwater. They live in Canada, to as far as Mexico. It’s natural range extends from southern eastern Canada to southwest to the rocky mountains. They prefer water with muddy bottoms and lots of vegetation so that they can hide more easily. Snapping turtles spend almost all their time in water, but do go on land to lay their eggs in sandy soil.
Eats: Snapping turtles are omnivores. They eat fish, worms, snakes, crickets, frogs and plants. Snapping turtles can go days without food, even weeks! When food is available though, they will eat all they can and may become quite fat. They also have a powerful beak and it has no teeth.
Hibernation: Snapping turtles enter hibernation during late October and emerge sometime between March or May depending on temperature. To hibernate, they burrow into the debris or mud bottom of ponds or lakes, settle beneath logs, or retreat into muskrat burrows or lodges.
Looks: Snapping turtles have a hard, rocky shell that is used for hiding and protecting itself. They have a scaly, dry skin that helps them camouflage in dens and mud.
Endangerment: Threatened by hunting, road mortality and habitat loss, the snapping turtle is in decline in Ontario. Found primarily in the southern part of the province, snapping turtles are a legally hunted game species with an allowable take of up to two snapping turtles per person, per day.
Adaptations: The common snapping turtle is its long and flexible neck. These animals can stretch their necks almost over halfway of the back of its shell and snap its prey with it its strong jaws. The beak –like jaws with sharp cutting edges enable it to tear its prey apart easily.
Behaviour: Snapping turtles are most vulnerable as hatchlings. Once they reach a certain size there are few natural predators of snapping turtles, though they are often hit by cars when searching for new ponds or nesting sites. In captivity they can live up to 47 years.