Common Snapping Turtle

Common Snapping Turtle at Wingham Wildlife Park

Common Snapping Turtle Natural History


The average length of this animal is around 20 inches (51 cm), with a weight of around 10 to 35 lbs. In exceptional circumstances they have been recorded as up to 75 lbs.

Habitat and Distribution

This is a fresh water turtle living in rivers, ponds, swamps and lakes in Northern America, where its range can extend from South Easter Canada, down to as far as Ecuador.


The average captive lifespan of this species is around 45 years.


These animals will sit fully or partially submerged and will wait for animals to pass by them. They will then snap out and eat anything which they can physically manage including fish, insects, amphibians, reptiles, mammals and birds.

Groups and Breeding

They are generally fairly solitary animals however will often cross paths with one another in ponds and rivers etc. where several may share the same range. During the breeding season (April to November), females will travel great distances over land to find suitable nesting site. Once a nest site has been found each female can lay 25 to 80 eggs which will hatch after 9 to 18 weeks (depending on the temperature).


Due to their wide range and relatively few natural predators, this species is not widely considered to be threatened. It is still occasionally killed through hunting or accidental trapping, and as with many animals are constantly on the move due to human encroachment on to their habitat.

Interesting facts

These animals can bite with amazing speed and power, with the bite of an average Common Snapping Turtle producing 1004 lbs per square inch of pressure.

The Common Snapping Turtle During Your Day Out in Kent

The common snapping turtles at Wingham Wildlife Park live on the large lake situated in front of the lions, jaguars and pumas. They have free access to the majority of this lake and the banks surrounding it. They may be seen basking in the sun on land during the warmer months or alternatively swimming in the lake which they share with carp, ducks, geese, a black swan, storks and several other turtle species such as yellow bellied sliders and eastern river cooters.