snapping turtle

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snapping turtle,

large, aggressive New World freshwater turtleturtle,
a reptile of the order Chelonia, with strong, beaked, toothless jaws and, usually, an armorlike shell. The shell normally consists of bony plates overlaid with horny shields.
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. The two snapping turtle species are the sole members of the family Chelydridae. Snapping turtles prefer quiet, muddy water. They spend most of their time submerged, surfacing periodically to breathe. They feed on fish and other aquatic animals as well as on vegetation and decaying matter; they are valuable scavengers. They have long necks, powerful jaws, and fierce dispositions, lunging at aggressors and biting them. Snapping turtles lay their eggs in the ground in early summer, often at some distance from water. The eggs, about 20 in a clutch, hatch after a 10-week incubation, and the young find their way to water.

The common snapping turtle, or snapper (Chelydra serpentina), is found from SE and S central Canada to NE South America. The adult is often over 18 in. (45 cm) long and weighs over 30 lb (14 kg); some specimens weigh twice as much. The alligator snapper (Macrochelys temmincki) is found in the SE United States and the Mississippi valley. One of the world's largest turtles, it may reach a length of 30 in. (75 cm) and weigh 200 lb (90 kg). It has a muscular, wormlike projection on the tongue, which it uses as a fishing lure as it lies concealed in the mud of a river bottom. In Japan and Europe, where snapping turtles were imported as pets, the turtles have found in the wild and are invasive species.

Snapping turtles are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Reptilia, order Chelonia, family Chelydridae.

References in periodicals archive ?
This study examines preliminary results from combined efforts of head-starting and translocation in central Oklahoma to restore alligator snapping turtles (Macrochelys temminckii) to a river in its historic range.
Snapping turtles are it for the table, with one caveat.
In the case of hatchling snapping turtles, treatments for up to 35 days did not affect body weights or food consumption (data not shown).
However, since no wild alligator snapping turtles have been found in Illinois since 1984, reintroduction efforts make sense.
In snapping turtles, the plastron is reduced in size, exposing large fleshy areas around the base of each leg.
Investigation of cues used by predators to detect Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina) nests.
In the water, snapping turtles are graceful swimmers, stretching their necks and gliding in a tranquil underwater ballet, or sitting curiously at the surface, watching the wetlands around them.
There are 16 species of turtles in Tennessee (Scott and Redmond, 2008), but in most waters, only snapping turtles (Chelydra serpentina) can be commercially harvested.
Three authors (RDB, DAW, JAK) captured alligator snapping turtles successfully in Louisiana using methods employed in Illinois, and the fourth was trained by Dr.
Five adult snapping turtles (211-318 mm straight-line carapace length; 2058 to 7000 g) were radio-tracked from 9 April and 11 November 2006 (Table I).
And there are around 20 snapping turtles thriving in Kent, London, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire.
species are also being exported to Asian markets, including Common snapping turtles (Chelydra serpentina), Alligator snapping turtles (Macrochelys temminckii), softshell turtles (Apalone spp.