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Habitat/Range: The common snapping turtle is a large, freshwater turtle widespread across North America. Its range extends from southeastern Canada to the southwestern edge of the Rocky Mountains and east to Florida and Nova Scotia. They are found in ponds and streams as well as some brackish waters, such as estuaries.
Behavior: Snapping turtles are extremely cold tolerant and, in northern parts of their range, spend more than 6 months hibernating under ice. These turtles will eat just about anything they can swallow! This includes fish, frogs, and invertebrates as well as plant matter. Note: It is not true that they bite off human fingers and toes.
Breeding: Snapping turtles can travel quite far to lay their eggs, sometimes a decent distance from the closest water source. Females dig a hole in sandy soil and deposit 25-80 eggs into the hole; then, cover them over with sand for incubation and protection. Peak egg laying season is June or July and take 9-18 weeks (depending on their location within their range). In colder areas, hatchlings over-winter in their nests and navigate towards water once the weather warms in the spring. Hatchlings that survive to adulthood typically live a very long time (possibly 100 years or more!).
Conservation: Listing: Least Concern. Despite this turtles listing as “Least Concern”, in Canadian portions of its range it is considered of “Special Concern” due to its sensitivity to anthropogenic activities such as vehicular collisions.