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Snapping Turtles

The Santa Fe River is home to 2 different snapping turtle species. One aspect of our research involves learning about how these species manage to coexist. Another aspect of our work focuses on monitoring these populations and assessing their status because they are threatened by illegal collection for food. These turtles are actually quite shy. They will only bite if they are harassed.

Suwannee Alligator Snapping Turtle
Macrochelys suwanniensis

ID: sharp beak, short neck, long tail, large head
      rear margin of carapace sharply serrated
      only animal with a worm-like lure on its tongue
      three supramarginal scutes on each side of carapace
      carapace length*: female 19.4" (492mm);  male 24.5" (623mm)
Habitat: river and springs
Diet: omnivore
Nesting season: April - May
• crepuscular and nocturnal
• basks rarely
• requires approximately 20 years to reach sexual maturity
• largest individual we captured in the Santa Fe River weighed 123 lbs.
• only occurs in Suwannee River Basin
• take or possession from the wild prohibited by Florida Fish and
  Wildlife Conservation Commission [Rule 68A-25.002(9)]


Suwannee Alligator Snapping
macrochelys plastron
plastron
eye
eye

lure

 

 

 


Snapping Turtle
Chelydra serpentina

ID: sharp beak, long neck, long tail
      rear margin of carapace sharply serrated
      carapace length*: female 15" (380mm);   male 17.3" (439mm)
Habitat: river and springs
Diet: omnivore
Nesting Season: March - May
• crepuscular
• basks rarely
• argest individual we captured in the Santa Fe River weighed 44 lbs
• naturally occurs in most freshwater habitats throughout Florida
• take or possession from the wild prohibited by Florida Fish and
   Wildlife Conservation Commission [Rule 68A-25.002(9)]

Florida snapper
chelydra plastron
plastron
baby
baby
snapper

weighing Chelydra

 


* Carapace length listed is longest recorded in Santa Fe River

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