This is a Snapping Turtle, his real name is Chelydra Serpentina, but you can call him Bob. Right now Bob is 20 years old, but he can live up to 40 years! Bob is a large turtle and has a mass of about 12 kilograms, and he is 35 centimeters in length. Bob has a large head, muscular limbs and claws, with a long neck and tail. His shell is dark brown, but it can look green because of the alga that grows on it. Bob’s body is a yellowish colour but can be brown or black. His body is so big that he cannot fit into his shell.
Bob can be mean sometimes and will lunge out and bite with his powerful jaws and beak- but only when he is out of the water. When he is on land he cannot hide in his shell or move very fast because he is simply too big, so he has to be aggressive to survive. He is happiest in the water and is calm and nice. If people approach him he will just swim away.
Bob has a big appetite, even though he has no teeth! He likes to eat yummy fish, birds, aquatic plants, snakes, insects, frogs, and small mammals.
Habitat and Importance to Ecosystem (Bob’s Home)
Bob’s family lives from southern Alberta to Nova Scotia and from the Gulf of Mexico to Texas. They live in fresh water with lots of mud and vegetation for them to hide in and eat. Bob is important to his home because he makes sure that the fish, amphibian, insect, and reptile population do not take over the pond! (By eating them!!)
Specific Adaptations to the Environment (What Bob does to Stay Alive)
Life is not always so easy for Bob. Sometimes he has to bury himself in the mud to sneak up on his food. His mom laid him in his egg on a sandy shore close to the water so that he could quickly get into the water before he could be eaten by a crazy crow, or a stinky skunk.
Reproductive Characteristics (Bob’s in Love!)
Bob can be lonely in his pond so sometimes he and his girlfriend, Belle have babies. They mate between April and November. Bob’s girlfriend can lay up to 83 eggs in a sandy hole… before she returns to the waters. In little more than nine to eighteen weeks later, little snapping turtles crawl out of their eggs and into the pond without any help from their mommy.
Life Cycle (Bob’s Life)
Bob's life started 20 years ago when Bob hatched out of the egg along with his brothers and sisters. Life was tough for Bob from the moment he broke out of his shell; he had to dodge other large turtles, great blue herons, crows, raccoons, skunks and foxes just to reach the water. There, poor, vulnerable Bob had to brave bullfrogs, water snakes and big fish such as the largemouth bass. After a few years, Bob was ready- he was NOT to be bossed and bullied around any longer! Somewhere along the way, he met Belle, the Snapping Turtle of his dreams. (It was love at first snap.) He and Belle have had quite a few hatchlings now who will grow up, mate, and have more hatchlings. (A snapping turtle can never have “too many” hatchlings as some are eaten or die before they reach maturity at the age of 18.) With luck, Bob and Belle will be proud grandparents. When the time comes, Bob will go to turtle heaven and possibly meet his mommy and daddy there.
Bob Says Goodnight!
Bob’s happy that you wanted to know all about him, but it’s been a long, long day and he feels sleepy. Bob will sleep in his pond now. Goodnight!