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Transcript of Snapping Turtles
a snapping turtle's life
The preferred habitat of snapping turtles is slow moving water with a soft mud bottom and dense aquatic vegetation.
Common habitats are ponds and streams.
Large male snapping turtles are very territorial with fixed home ranges.
They require permanant bodies of water to surivive, but can survive without water for up to 2 weeks.
Why is the Snapping Turtle at Risk?
Some of the main threats to snapping turtles include harvesting, persecution and road mortality. These are all human caused.
Turtles are harvested and traded for use as food, medicine, pets and trinkets.
The main threat is being hit by vehicles. This occurs often because females travel to find a nesting spot, often crossing roads.
What can I do to help Snapping Turtles?
Drive carefully, especially during June and July.
Do not eat turtle meat.
Recycle! Keep the turtle's habitats free of pollution.
If you must handle a turtle, never pick it up by the tail. Hold it by the back of the shell.
Place in the Food Chain
Some interesting facts about snapping turtles:
Each mother turtle lays between 25-80 eggs eggs a year. She lays them in a hole in the ground and buries them.
They remain there for 9-18 weeks before hatching.
The eggs hatch mid to late September.
The most common nest predators are raccoons and red foxes.
Snapping turtles are too large to hide in their shells when faced with a threat.
The eggs have temperature dependent sex determination- if the eggs are kept at 68 degrees Fahrenheit they produce only females. If they are kept at 70-72 degrees Fahrenheit they will produce both males and females, and if they are kept at 73-75 degrees they produce only males.
Snapping turtles are nocturnal and spend most of their time underwater.
No one knows how old a snapping turtle can live to be, but it is estimated to be around 100 years.
Hatchling snapping turtles are about the size of a quarter.
Ideal nesting sites are near a small stream, where the hatchlings will spend their first few years.
When the young hatch, they burrow out of the nest and instinctively head towards water.
Newly hatched snapping turtles have very soft shells.
They must make it to the water without being preyed upon by many potential predators such as raccoons, skunks and foxes.
Once their shells harden, they are virtually predator free.
Turtles generally reach maturity between 8-10 years of age.
Snapping turtles are omnivores and will eat almost anything they can get their jaws around.
About 65% of their diet is made up of aquatic plants.
The other main part of their diet consists of small, slow-moving fish, carrion, frogs and other amphibians.
However they will also occasionally eat water fowl and other small mammals.
Sexual maturity has more to do with size than age. The average turtle is ready to mate when the carapace (the upper section of the shell) measures about 8 inches.
The average mating time is between April and November, peak laying season is in June and July.
Female turtles can hold sperm for several seasons, using it as necessary.
Mating is very aggressive with the male chasing the female and the female trying to escape and hide.
When young, snapping turtles have many predators, such as other large turtles, great blue herons, crows, raccoons, skunks, foxes, bullfrogs, water snakes, and large predatory fish, such as largemouth bass.
However, once an adult, snapping turtles have very few predators. However, there have been records of northern river otters, coyotes, black bears, alligators and their larger cousins, alligator snapping turtles preying on adult turtles.
Snapping turtle's range.