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 ?
Alligator snapping turtles are the largest freshwater turtles in North America, according to ( National Geographic .
Observation on mammalian predation of Snapping Turtle nests (Reptilia, Testudines, Chelydridae)./.
Effects of a sudden increase in natural mortality of adults on a population of the common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina).
A woman holds a large snapping turtle washed into her yard by Hurricane Sandy, while cleaning up debris on Staten Island in New York City, on November 12.
"It's like having one big snapping turtle living in the middle of a lake.
By the end of the nesting season, every snapping turtle nest we had found--there were hundreds--had been plundered by raccoons.
We collected and observed four species of turtles: spiny softshell (Apalone spinifera), northern map turtle (Graptemys geographica), pond slider (Trachemys scripta), and snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina).
The alligator snapping turtle was listed as a state endangered species in Illinois during 1994.
The snapping turtle, Chelydra serpentina, is one of the most broadly distributed chelonians in the world; they occur from southeastern Canada westward to Alberta and throughout the eastern half of the United States and into Central America.
The 25kg alligator snapping turtle, which is around two feet long, was snared by Steve Bellion, 23, at Earlswood Lakes.
Other animals include piranhas, red-tail boas, a large alligator snapping turtle, and tropical fish that use mangrove tree roots as nurseries.
Rare butterflies, otters, an alligator snapping turtle were among the less common of the 42,500 sightings recorded - even a porpoise was spotted by a passing boater earlier this year along the River Ouse near Selby.