American Oceans

Biggest Snapping Turtle Ever Recorded

The snapping turtle is one of the largest freshwater turtles in the world, known for its powerful jaws and aggressive behavior. These turtles can grow to be quite large, with some individuals weighing over 200 pounds. However, there have been reports of even larger snapping turtles, with some claiming to have seen specimens weighing over 300 pounds.

Record-Breaking Snapping Turtles

a snapping turtle on land

Snapping turtles are known for their large size and aggressive nature. However, some snapping turtles are bigger than others, and a few have even broken world records.

In 1937, a snapping turtle was officially recorded as the largest ever caught. The turtle weighed in at 175 pounds and was over two feet long. This record-breaking turtle was caught in Kansas and is still considered the biggest snapping turtle ever recorded.

More recently, in 2019, graduate students at the University of Southern Mississippi caught a goliath snapping turtle weighing over 100 pounds. While impressive, this turtle falls short of the world record.

It is important to note that snapping turtles are protected by law in many states due to their declining populations. It is illegal to capture or kill snapping turtles without a permit.

Physical Characteristics

giant snapping turtle in a cage

The snapping turtle is a large freshwater turtle that is known for its powerful jaws and aggressive behavior. The shell of the snapping turtle is rough and jagged, with a series of ridges that run down the length of the shell. The shell is also covered in a layer of scutes, which are bony plates that protect the turtle from predators.

Male snapping turtles are generally larger than females, with some males reaching weights of up to 220 pounds. The largest snapping turtle ever recorded weighed in at 249 pounds and was caught in Kansas in the 1930s. Female snapping turtles are typically smaller, with most weighing between 10 and 35 pounds.

One of the most distinctive physical characteristics of the snapping turtle is its powerful jaws. The snapping turtle has a beak-like mouth that is capable of delivering a powerful bite. The jaws of the snapping turtle are so strong that they can easily crush a finger or even a hand.

Diet and Hunting

a snapping turtle eating vegetation

The snapping turtle is an omnivore and feeds on a variety of food items. Their diet includes fish, frogs, snakes, swimmers, and other aquatic animals. They are also known to feed on vegetation, such as duckweed and water lilies.

As predators, snapping turtles are known for their aggressive hunting behavior. They use their powerful jaws to catch and kill their prey. They are especially skilled at catching fish, which they often hunt by waiting patiently at the bottom of the water body and striking quickly when a fish swims by.

Snapping turtles are also known to hunt large fish, such as carp and catfish. They use their powerful jaws to crush the shells of mollusks and crustaceans, making them a formidable predator in their environment.

In addition to their hunting behavior, snapping turtles are also known for their ability to scavenge for food. They will eat dead fish and other animals that they come across in their environment.

Interestingly, snapping turtles are also known to prey on American bullfrogs, which are a common predator of the turtle’s own young. By preying on the bullfrogs, snapping turtles help to control their population and protect their own offspring.

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