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Turtle snapper:characteristics, description of the bite and breeding. Things to know about the speciesChelydra serpentina.
Theresnapping turtleis a freshwater turtle of the Chelydreidae family. It is a carnivorous turtle so much so that it is counted among the predatory animals that maintain a position at the top of the food chain. Its common name,snapping turtle, refers to hisbite which we will talk about later.
Theresnapping turtle, scientific nameChelydra serpentina, lives in a large area of America. In particular, from southeastern Canada and southwest of the Rocky Mountains, to the east of New Scotia and Florida.
Today, the snapping turtle and the alligator turtle are the only two species ofChelydridexisting.
Snapping turtle: bitten
Theresnapping turtleis popular for hisbiteand for its aggressiveness when out of the water. Its maxillary bone structure is similar to that of a beak, thanks to the highly mobile head and neck, the turtle is able to perform asnap bite.
When in the water, the turtles of the Chelydra serpentinathey tend to run away and hide, but on land they tend to be more aggressive. Due to its temperament, this species is not used for domestic breeding even in the places of origin.
Not just thebiteit should inspire fear: these turtles have claws as sharp as those of dogs but which they use not as a weapon (the limbs have no particular strength) but only to dig into the ground.
Why is it difficult to breed? Because there are difficulties in handling the animal. Lifting the turtle by the tail is dangerous and can damage the animal's spine. On the other hand, even lifting the animal by grabbing it on the sides of the shell can be dangerous for humans. The reason? Earlier we told you that this animal has a very mobile neck: the neck is able to stretch behind the carapace, up to the hind feet, so as to deliver a bite.
How do you grab a snapping turtle? On the back of the hind legs. Animal welfare associations, to save turtles in difficulty on busy roads, recommend collecting them by grabbing them on the rearmost area of the carapace, in the space between the hind legs and tail. It would be even safer to collect the animal with a flat shovel, taking care not to damage the hind limbs or the bottom of the shell. Even the use of a blanket or towel can be a good way to move these turtles without risking a bite.
Thebite of the snapping turtleit is very dangerous as it can cause serious injuries. The alligator turtle, a very similar species but larger in size, with a single bite manages to detach the fingers.
Snapping turtle: price
If you are thinking of buying the snapping turtle know that itssalein Italy it is prohibited. The reason? This animal is classified as dangerous for humans (due to its bite) and dangerous for habitats.
The length of the carapace, in adulthood, can reach about 50 cm even if the average dimensions oscillate between 25 and 47 cm. C. serpentina has a weight between 5 and 16 kg. Among the recorded records, a snapping turtle weighing 34 kg was found in the wild. In captivity, with overeating and lack of strong physical activity, a 39 kg specimen was recorded.
It lives in shallow ponds and streams. It prefers fresh water but also lives in brackish environments such as river estuaries.
As stated, in its natural habitat it often occupies positions at the top of the food chain, as adult specimens have few predators.
On the contrary, the newborn babies and the eggs easily end up prey to predatory animals such as crows, minks, skunks and raccoons. Newborn babies are attacked by herons (such as the great blue heron), hawks, owls, mouse frogs and snakes.
What do they eat?
The turtle, with its snap bite, can swallow prey still alive including snakes, lizards, frogs, fish, various invertebrates, unwary birds, small mammals, various reptiles and… even smaller turtles.
Snapping turtles can be a nuisance to those with a waterfowl farm as they can pedrate small ducklings, ducks, or newly hatched birds.
Snapping turtle in Italy
Even if it is not native to our areas, once the sale of this turtle was not prohibited by the State Forestry Corps. In the paragraph dedicated to the Price, I told you that today it is not possible to buy the snapping turtle, however, the past activities see it present in different habitats.
In our country, theChelydra serpentinait is an alien species that can damage our ecosystem. Unfortunately, amateur reptile and turtle breeders have abandoned young specimens in different habitats where they have not struggled to adapt.
In recent years theChelydra serpentinait was taken from various stretches of water throughout the country. In 2011, a 20 kg specimen was captured in a canal in Anguillara (Rome), in the same year a 6 kg turtle was taken from the anal of the High Walnut of Perdifumo (Salerno). A 15 kg specimen was taken from an irrigation canal in Pomigliano d’Arco (NA). In 2018 a 40 cm snapping turtle was found in the public park of Arconate, in Milan. There were also specimens of 20 kg taken in Latina and 10 kg taken from the banks of the Po in Canaro.
The removal operations of this species are essential. In Japan, unfortunately, the cause of severe bite injuries. The snapping turtle bite can cause severe damage even if no amputations have been recorded.