Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
a family of reptiles of the suborder Cryptodira. The turtle’s abdominal shell is small and cruciform; the back shell is massive and slightly protuberant. The jaws are powerful and hooked at the ends. The legs are strong, with developed membranes between the toes. There are two genera, each with one species.
The common American snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina) can reach lengths of 90 cm (shell, approximately 40 cm) and weights of 20 kg. It is common in many rivers, lakes, and swamps of America (from southern Canada to Ecuador). It feeds mainly on fish, but sometimes attacks young ducks and geese. It is hunted commercially for its meat. When caught, the turtle defends itself and can inflict tearing wounds with its sharp jaws (hence the name).
The alligator snapper (Macroclemys temminckii) is the largestfreshwater turtle: it reaches a length of 140 cm (shell, 80 cm) anda weight of 60 kg. It is found in the southern part of the USA.Its meat is valued highly.