I once found a frozen snapping turtle in a river. He lay motionless under a sheet of ice still looking very much alive. His long tail and thick neck were unmistakable through the blurry ice.
When I look at a snapping turtle, I see Proganochelys, one of the first complete turtle fossils from the Triassic Period, nearly million years ago. The common snapping turtle Chelydra serpentina and alligator snapping turtle Macrochelys temminckii are the only two extant members of the family Chelydridae, which is confined to North America, as well as Mexico. Some turtle taxonomists consider the big-headed turtle Platysternon megacephalum from Southeast Asia to be a distant relative, although various genetic studies have debated that speculation and the true relationship is currently unresolved.
Snapping turtles. Susanne Kynast. In comparison the age of the dinosaurs was approximately million years ago, million years more recent than the first turtle.
Their ability to adapt to people and the state's changing landscape has made them evolutionarily successful. Snapping turtles can even be found in polluted waters and urban wetlands, although populations in these habitats may not be robust. They have been introduced in some western states. Three low keels or ridges on the carapace of younger turtles often become obscure as the turtle matures.
The alligator snapping turtle Macrochelys temminckii is a species of turtle in the family Chelydridae. The species is native to freshwater habitats in the United States. The specific epithet temminckii is in honor of Dutch zoologist Coenraad Jacob Temminck.
Common snapping turtles chelydra serpentina. The common snapping turtle is a very hardy, wide ranging specie. Its natural range extends from southern Canada through the eastern and central United States and eastern Mexico to northern South America.
Its long tail has a series of triangular spikes along the top that are reminiscent of those of a stegosaurus. The carapace upper shell is tan or olive to black in colour, has a coarsely serrated anterior front edge and three longitudinal ridges, and is often covered with algae. The plastron lower shell is very small.
Snapping turtles are among the most impressively armed turtles in the world. The common snapping turtle of the central and eastern U. The alligator snapping turtle, which belongs to a separate genus Macrochelyshas a similarly formidable set of chompers and combines them with enormous size: big males may weigh more than pounds, making them one of the very largest freshwater turtles in the world.