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Common Snapping Turtle

Chelydra serpentina


Large freshwater turtle with strong beak-like jaws, long mobile neck (serpent-like, hence the Latin name "serpentina"), and ridged carapace. Average size is between 10-20 inches (25-50 cm) carapace length, 10-35 pounds (4.5-16 kg) weight, but some individuals may weigh up to 75 lbs (34 kg).


Mowed lawn near pond in urban park, early on a spring morning when the grass was covered in dew.


Although snapping turtles can be belligerant if they feel threatened when out of the water, this one was apparently enjoying the cool, damp grass too much to move when it saw me. It did watch me the whole time, though, and I didn't get any closer than I had to (thank goodness for zoom lenses!).

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Spotted by

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Spotted on May 29, 2009
Submitted on Jun 21, 2012

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