Other Free Encyclopedias » Animal Life Resource » Dinosaurs, Snakes, and Other Reptiles » Snapping Turtles: Chelydridae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Snapping Turtles And People, Snapping Turtle (chelydra Serpentina): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, CONSERVATION STATUS

Snapping Turtles: Chelydridae - Physical Characteristics

shell upper strong keels

Snapping turtles are large, unfriendly turtles that have strong, clawed legs; a powerful bite; and a long neck. With its long neck, the snapping turtle can quickly swing its large head far forward as well as sideways and back over the upper shell. These turtles also have a long, strong tail with a row of ridges. The upper shell, or carapace (KARE-a-pays), has three keels, or ridges, but older turtles usually lose the keels and have smooth shells. The lower shell, or plastron (PLAS-trun), is quite small, which allows the turtle to move its legs easily. The length of an adult's upper shell ranges from 7.1 to 31.5 inches (18 to 80 centimeters), and the lower shell may be only about one-fourth that size. Females weigh about 4.4 to 5.5 pounds (2 to 2.5 kilograms). Males generally are larger than females and can weigh as much as 249 pounds (113 kilograms).

Snapping Turtles: Chelydridae - Behavior And Reproduction [next]

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